AI for All: India’s Place in the New Digital Economy – An Editorial from JPS Kohli

*This post first appeared in the India Express as an editorial from SkillUp Group CEO, JPS Kohli

A recent Intel survey predicted that by the end of 2019, a massive 70% of Indian companies will have deployed some form of AI-enabled business solution. That prediction echoes another Gartner report indicating that 75% of the million-plus registered companies in India have invested or want to invest in machine learning and data sciences – staggering numbers to think about whether you’re a business looking to leverage these competencies or an IT worker looking to adopt them.

While there’s been a significant uptick in the number of Indian companies deploying emergent technologies like these, there’s also been a challenging shortage of qualified talent to fill those new roles. The resulting IT ‘skills gap’ has left over 50,000 AI, machine learning, and data science jobs in India unfilled, with the Economic Times reporting an incredible 400 percent increase in demand for data science experts across industries.

In today’s complex and continuously evolving IT landscape, AI and Data Science have emerged as some of the most in-demand skills in the workforce and their applications and relevance stretch across industries and use cases. For IT students, professionals, and businesses alike  now is the time to start thinking about how you can leverage AI and Data Science skills to stay relevant and increase demand for your products, skills, or services. 


What Data Science and AI is all about

Companies in virtually every industry now leverage data science and AI models to create better products, optimize operations and increase sales. At their core, these technologies are all about our ability to intelligently process massive amounts of incoming data and leveraging it to solve real-world challenges. Among many other applications, AI can (and has been) used to accomplish such widely varying tasks as improving customer loyalty, generating predictive maintenance schedules, and planning the most fuel efficient travel routes in aviation. The possibilities are virtually endless.

The diversity of applications presents a huge opportunity for both individuals and businesses willing to take the time to understand these technologies. Leveraging  them to create new opportunities or solve real-world organizational pain points is another thing. At the same time as these future skills are solving many of the world’s toughest challenges, they often become a choke points for organizations that may already feel overwhelmed with knowing where to start. 

Creating fluency around AI and ML processes is the key Once we can have intelligent conversations about these what these technologies are and what they can accomplish, we can unlock a world of possibilities, enjoy amazing benefits and supercharge our business or career.


What may happen in the near future

As organizations in India get more confident in their ability to work with big data, they’ll likely utilize it to jumpstart their digital transformation. That might include leveraging AI to improve their externally facing products and services, but also but also internally to help workers be more effective in spotting organizational challenges before they start. In short, the increasing demand for individuals who can help them navigate these waters isn’t slowing down anytime soon. 

How to get started

Whether you’re a first year IT student or an organizational leader like CTO or CIO, it starts with up-skilling and / or reskilling yourself or your team. The biggest questions that newcomers to AI have in this regard is understanding exactly where they can go to develop a broad based understanding of these technologies. While companies like IBM, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and SAPP all have well-developed educational curricula in their own proprietary technology, historically there’s been little to no common understanding of what qualifications workers needed to be broadly successful across all these technologies. 

To correct that, India’s Ministry of Skills Development and Entrepreneurship’ recently asked NASSCOM – the country’s largest IT trade association – to develop accreditation standards for these areas of study. As part of the initiative NASSCOM has partnered with IT learning experts to develop and host these foundation level courses in AI and Big Data and will be launching them on SkillUp’s online platform soon.

 SkillUp’s courses don’t just address the fundamentals knowledge areas though. They  tackle what many see as an even larger industry challenge – high drop outs. To do this, the platform offers a blended approach that combines the flexibility of online learning with the instructor and community support that comes from the classroom environment.

Wrapping up

As the organizations of tomorrow begin leveraging AI and big data to more effectively fill their mandate, the shortage of skilled professionals to help them do it will only grow. During this time India will be ideally positioned, not only to close the IT skills gap but to use the opportunity in order to become the global leader in future skills like AI. SkillUp Online is committed to playing a central role in this growth by working with our partners like NASSCOM to deliver the most respected IT learning solutions in the world.

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