By Manasvi Sharma
India has emerged as the fifth largest economy in the world. A critical contributor to this progress is the role of technology in transforming the way businesses operate. Over the course of the pandemic, we saw a drastic migration to digital platforms as consumers and businesses both adopted contactless mediums – not only for transactions but also shopping. This step into digitisation is here to stay in the post-pandemic world. With India entering the “Techade”, engineers will undoubtedly become crucial in empowering this era.
Hence this Engineer’s Day, let’s take a deep dive into understanding how the technology ecosystem can equip engineers to support the success that India is aiming for, as it becomes an attraction for global investments from different sectors.
Encouraging industry-academia partnership
While the academia continues to focus on their plans to skill our next generation, this effort can be multiplied with industry-academia partnerships. Private corporations can manoeuvre the task of providing better learning to the talent pool of engineering students, further enhancing the possibilities for innovation from India for the World.
Leading engineering institutes have built a remarkable reputation for their quality of education, but there is always space for further growth. An improvement of this kind would require increased deployment of funds to bring in more qualified faculty, better student-to-teacher ratio, superior teaching modes, research labs and funds. The same can be facilitated, enhanced and enabled by companies operating in the technology space. These businesses are positioned best to understand the requirements of the market and industry in a hyper-evolving world, curriculums can be co-designed by them in alliance with the academic institutions.
Upskilling to accelerate the emergence of innovations
Considering India’s sizeable population of engineers, both within the professional sphere, as well as the generations of engineers who will be joining the workforce in the coming years, upskilling continues to be key. India is spearheading digital acceleration aligning to the speed at which new technologies are being introduced in our markets. For instance, the rise in Global Capability Centres (GCCs) in India has sped up the drive for the adoption of new technologies. This has resulted in ground-breaking innovations in areas like Omni-Channel Retail, supply chain and other sectors using AI and machine learning. To continue this virtuous cycle, with every new process or technology that is being introduced, it becomes imperative to upskill our engineers efficiently. To do that, it is the need of the hour for companies to invest in their existing talent pools by providing them opportunities to hone their skills and knowledge. And it is herein that programs like ACE, DEW (Developing Engineering Women’s careers), Engineering Excellence Program, and so on aid engineers in accelerating their career growth towards leadership.
Time to bring classroom and innovation labs together
While GCCs can assist in the engineering of new technologies for specific business needs, it is also essential that changes are made in teaching models to encourage creative thinking from earlier on. Measures should be taken to give students hands-on experiences in technology, as bleeding-edge ideas are more likely to be born when practical learning is encouraged at educational institutions. The new National Education Policy (NEP) has introduced alterations that will ensure a more practical approach in teaching. The new NEP emphasises on giving students space to develop their own ideas by focusing on teaching them how to think instead of outright telling them what to think. It is undoubtedly a step in the right direction as it will motivate students to apply their textbook learnings to solve problems with a pragmatic approach. This is where corporates can play a critical role by giving students opportunities to relate and connect their in-class theoretical learning with activities and processes in innovation labs of technology companies. With educational establishments turning into testbeds for innovation, students can now get an opportunity for first-hand learning about new technologies.
With the Techade seeing a rapid rise and the numerous changes occurring in the country’s tech ecosystem, it is the perfect time for organizations to assist Indian engineers in becoming significant contributors to this revolution. India has abundant talent and leveraging it in the right ways will ascertain growth.
On the occasion of Engineer’s Day, it is essential to recognise the role that engineers have in accelerating the growth of India, provided their skills are shaped to solve complex problems that businesses face today.
The author of this article is vice president, Omnichannel Platforms, Lowe’s India. Views expressed are personal.