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How India leveraging new-age digital engineering skill-sets

Under the backdrop of the recent successful demonstration of outer space missile capability, India’s position in the global technology landscape further stands enhanced.

GDP growth, ER&D services, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, IoT, Big Data, Machine Learning, Cybersecurity, Advanced Robotics, Mobile Applications, Digital Reality, india, news, technology
How India leveraging new-age digital engineering skill-sets

Keshab Panda

The National Science Day was recently commemorated with much fervour. Under the backdrop of the recent successful demonstration of outer space missile capability, India’s position in the global technology landscape further stands enhanced. Coupled with the country’s rich engineering capability legacy, India’s economic powerhouse credentials echo across.

ER&D as the emerging fuel to the country’s GDP growth
Publicly available estimates such as those by IMF, peg the Indian economy to rise by 7.5% in the ongoing fiscal making it the fastest growing economy. The global growth is estimated to be in the range of just about 3.5% by 2020.
Consider this along with the growth potential of the Indian engineering research and development (ER&D) segment. With new-age concepts such as Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, Machine Learning, Cybersecurity, Advanced Robotics, Mobile Applications and Digital Reality assuming important considerations among businesses across sectors, the scope for ER&D services stands to rise over a long-term horizon. This is corroborated by industry body Nasscom’s estimates that India’s ER&D sector will almost double to $42 billion by FY 2022.

Growing demand for ER&D services
Multiple reports point to an ever increasing ER&D outsourcing trend in India. One such research by ResearchGate claims that $125-150 billion will be spent on engineering services outsourcing by 2020 across the globe. India is expected to contribute to around 40% of this spend. Total outsourcing spend on engineering services is estimated to be growing three to four times the rate of total expenditure on engineering.

Consistent increase in demand for engineering services contracts and IoT deals have immensely contributed to the growth story of ER&D services. Emerging trends such as autonomous services, electrification, connectivity and shared mobility as well as regulatory support through several initiatives such as Make in India, Digital India and BharatNet among others will further complement the potential of ER&D services.

Overcoming the challenges
The growth story of ER&D services in India is not a seamless fairy tale—it has its own set of challenges to overcome. The first such challenge is that while India is among the top adapters to global technological and business developments, there is a strong perception that when it comes to technology, we have been a follower generally. The mindset transformation required is to be trend-setter and lead the global wave of ER&D innovations such as automation and analytics. Next challenge lies in equipping the talent pool to make a mark among the global counterparts particularly on digital skills. The third challenge calls for overhaul of the education system—mainly to produce top-class engineers that are capable to take the industrial innovation to the next level.

To overcome these, India needs a stronger focus on STEM related education right from schooling phase. Also the colleges and universities need to upgrade their curriculum, and this can be possible only through strong collaboration between industry and academia. For example, IIT Hyderabad has recently announced launching of a B.Tech program in AI.

With Nasscom predicting that 65% of the 4 million jobs in the industry is likely to change over the next five years, it is pertinent to proactively work towards building a talent pool equipped well enough to leverage new-age digital engineering skill-sets.

The writer is CEO & MD, L&T Technology Services

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