As the demand for disruptive technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Data Analytics grows, shortage of a skilled IT workforce to run them is posing a challenge to the stake-holders, Nasscom, the industry's apex body, has said.
"There is an urgent need to re-skill about 50 per cent of India's IT workforce, as demand for it in new technologies remains unmet," Nasscom's IT-ITeS (IT enabled Services) Sector Skills Council chief executive Amit Aggarwal told IANS in Bengaluru.
The National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) is the apex body representing the country's IT and business process management (BPM) industry.
The demand-supply gap for skills affected the industry's performance in 2018, due to shortage of 140,000 skilled techies for 500,000 jobs in the industry across verticals.
"Going forward, the industry will face a shortage of 230,000 skilled techies as jobs in AI and Big Data are estimated to be 780,000 by 2021," Aggarwal pointed out.
In a report titled 'The Future of Jobs 2018', the World Economic Forum (WEF) said around 54 per cent of the global workforce had to be re-skilled or up-skilled to work in disruptive and digital technologies spawning the virtual world.
AI, big data analytics and cloud computing will dominate businesses across verticals till 2022, changing job profiles for geeks, while legacy jobs will vanish, the report said.
Admitting that the multi-billion-dollar IT industry had a vital role in creating jobs as well as in churning out the required skilled workforce, Aggarwal said India was well-positioned to bridge the demand-supply gap, as it had a wealth of talent in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
"Adoption of new technologies will change the profile of present jobs, which will evolve into higher domains with more automation that pose challenges to the $167 billion Indian IT services industry," Aggarwal asserted.
One of the challenges is to identify the nature of jobs in future and re-skill the present workforce for the transition to digital work.
As the industry adapts to new technologies spanning AI, machine learning (ML), data analytics, automation, robotics, blockchain, cloud and the Internet of Things (IoT), companies with legacy systems and obsolete workforce face challenges to survive the disruption.
The apex body's 'Future Skills' digital platform, unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in February 2018, has identified 10 key technologies in which maximum job creation can occur in the IT and IT-enabled Services sectors.
The digital portal makes resources available for techies to hone their skills. According to the platform, technologies which will create new jobs include AI, cyber security, IoT, virtual reality, robotic process automation, big data analytics, blockchain, three-dimension (3-D) printing, cloud computing and social and mobile.
"About 70 job roles were identified across 10 technologies that will require the future workforce to have about 150 varied skills," Aggarwal said.
Besides training the workforce in new skills, there is a need to include evolving technologies in the curriculum for the students, Aggarwal noted.
The industry body has tied up with state-run premier institutions like the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras to hone the skills of students entering the workforce in the IT sector.
"The industry is spending about Rs 10,000-crore for re-skilling and human resource development," Aggarwal pointed out. "Making the system agile and flexible can help in preparing the IT workforce for the future," Aggarwal reiterated.
(Bhavana Akella can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)