The 21st century has brought in a new range of triggers for mid-life career crisis. Already reeling under the pressure of a slowdown, the information technology (IT) industry has been one of the worst affected as continuous technology upgrades continue to give nightmares to tech professionals. Moreover, the continuous discovery of ‘newer technology’ has become the biggest threat to one’s career as engineers often find themselves technologically outdated. Although inexorable promotion of job portals and websites has given access to multiple job information, none have been able to analyse the rationale of a long-term ‘successful career’ for people who are entering or are part of the industry.
But the positive side of the story is that technology advancement and social media surge has led to a burgeoning emphasis within the society to discover and capitalise on one’s ‘strengths’ and ‘weaknesses’, creating the awareness that ‘career transition’ is in order. This has helped professionals realise there’s an obvious misalignment between an individual’s career and the deeply-embedded life interests. The early stage of any professional’s life goes with peer engagement and relentless run for finding a good job, and with the entry into the mid-career stage, the realisation of the job role starts gaining momentum. Another common cause of a career meltdown is when an individual is overlooked for promotion or made redundant. The thought of giving that up and starting again can be daunting and often leads to a period of serious reflection before a change is made.
Honing a skill which is in demand is crucial, particularly when you are attached to a sector where technology changes every second day. One needs professional counselling for next-best long-term career moves. The IT industry is witnessing senior professionals from MNCs opting for online technical courses on Big Data, Analytics, Mobile and Cloud Computing. Even Indians residing abroad are opting for such courses, realising the importance of scaling themselves up with newer skills.
The IT industry made its biggest breakthrough with the discovery of Virtualization followed by Cloud; the concepts in Big Data and Mobility along with Data Science are poised to bring in the new evolution in this industry. If the workforce are not equipped with newer skills and not kept at par with best practices in the industry, career acceleration will be a major challenge. The challenge is not unique to India; the skills shortage in emerging technologies is a recognised fact across the globe. A trends report by IBM in 2012 revealed that only one in ten companies have the necessary skills across emerging technologies. Growth across India’s IT, mobile, communication and digital industries could be hampered by an impending skills gap brought about by the rapid proliferation of Big Data, Cloud and Mobility solutions. Recruiting fresh talent every time is an added cost for the HR department. Hence, they look for existing employees in their organisations who have skilled themselves so that they can be given newer job roles and higher designations.
Although executive MBA is being offered by many B-schools, the complete online model is becoming popular with the working executives who have limited time to travel and attend campus classes. Having realised that course curriculum and delivery methodology are equally important, some organisations have started to capitalise on teaching models that suits best this category of skill seekers. Live instructor-led courses, 24×7 support, senior and seasoned technology practitioners as course designers and instructors and lifetime content support are options that will help tech professionals to start, continue and complete the courses. Online courses act as ‘career-change mechanisms’ which help mid-career professionals to make transitions that otherwise would have been long shots, and give recruiters a reason to look at them in a new light.
By Lovleen Bhatia
The author is co-founder and director, Edureka