Given the new and rapid leaps technology is taking, upgrading of skills has become the new norm for employees of the over $150-billion Indian IT industry. They have little choice if they want to remain relevant in an environment where there is a higher premium for those with expertise in newer technologies. This has spawned several professional technology training firms, which are skilling people in areas such as big data, cloud, data science, agile-scrum, devops and cyber security, to name a few. There has been a significant rise in the number of companies that provide professionally-certified training courses in newer technologies. As per a report by Tracxn, in 2016 alone, about 43 new edutech companies were formed in the country in the professional training segment. This is in addition to the 67 new professional training companies that came into being in 2015. “The IT companies, which were talking about digital, have started projects based on technologies like artificial intelligence, cloud, automation, etc. As they see more clients asking for digital quotient in projects, they need to train their workforce quickly within a period of 30-40 days. We do exactly this, with online courses to companies to skill their staff,” said Ravi Kaklasaria, CEO & co-founder, Spring People, a professional technology training firm. The company counts Infosys, IBM, HCL and Wipro, among others, as its clients. These firms are betting big on the opportunity for skilling and reskilling and have developed various online courses and curricula that can be easily adopted by large enterprises for skilling their workforce.
As per the learning service providers, there has been rapid growth in the enterprises asking for more specialised kind of training within the last one year. For Bengaluru-based online technology course provider Simplilearn, the revenue from courses like cloud computing, agile, cyber security, big data and analytics have grown 331%, 158% and 50%, respectively, for the April-October period, 2016, over the past one year. With growth opportunity provided by the domestic market, many foreign players in the online professional education space are also entering the market, such as Pluralsight and Udacity from the US.
“India is a significant market for us. We have partnered with various enterprises in the country to offer various courses. We have increased our team size in the country,” said Arun Rajamani, country GM at Pluralsight India. A study by Google and KPMG had said the online education industry is expected to grow at a healthy rate of 8X, to become a $1.96-billion industry by 2021. The report also said reskilling and online certification will form the largest market opportunity. Over the years, the industry had faced the challenge of finding the right talent that can be readily deployed for a project. With a change in the business model and project delivery using digital technologies like cloud, automation, artificial intelligence, IT companies are also gearing up to equip their workforce for the technological evolution. Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) is also investing heavily in developing employee strength in the new-age technologies, like digital. It is also reskilling its employees in the new-age technologies, like automation and design thinking.
“Our progressive policies and investments in upgrading employee capabilities are driving our industry-leading retention rate. Employees see immense value in the learning opportunities afforded by our digital learning programme, and view it as a critical avenue to realise their potential,” said Ajoy Mukherjee, executive vice-president and global head, human resources, TCS. India’s third-largest IT exporter Wipro had reskilled about 12,000 employees in the September quarter for digital skills and had trained or certified about 80,000 of its workforce in digital. As the industry witnesses a steady shift in business coming in from the digital segment, companies are also rapidly reworking on their hiring and training strategies. “We are retraining a lot of people with respect to digital skills. It is a combination where we hire from the market and retrain the existing workforce. Some of the skills we have been focusing on retraining are data science, design thinking, cyber security, internet of things, AI and automation,” said Debashis Chatterjee, president, global delivery, Cognizant.