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Non-techies now try their hands at data, AI tech

Digital technology training was once the realm of tech service company employees. But now, online and offline training course providers in this field have seen non-tech industry participation increasing to almost 40% of enrolments. Five to six dig...

, ET Bureau|
Nov 12, 2019, 07.54 AM IST
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Trend of upskilling in emerging tech became prominent in late 2017.
BENGALURU: As organisations increasingly offer services on mobile devices, more professionals from India’s non-tech enterprises, government agencies and defence institutions are getting trained in data analytics, machine learning, artificial intelligence and cyber security. Such digital technology training was once the realm of tech service company employees. But now, online and offline training course providers in this field have seen non-tech industry participation increasing to almost 40% of enrolments.

Five to six digital training course providers now attract 20,000 to 30,000 candidates every year for online and blended courses for six months to one year. Employees from banking and financial services, retail and telecom and other industries form a significant chunk. Officials from the defence forces and key government departments also take up training in data analytics, AI and cyber security. “Earlier, it (enrolment) was 90% IT and others 10% and now IT has come down to 50% and BFSI (banking, financial services and insurance) is another 15-20% and other industries form 25%,” said Mohan Lakhamraju, CEO of Great Learning.

Simplilearn, a digital technology course provider, said the fear of losing jobs has had an impact beyond tech services. Krishna Kumar, founder of Simplilearn, said nontech industries and defence institutions form more than half of its students today.

“Such training started with the IT services companies, but there is a spillover impact across industry sectors. Government officials and people from Indian air force, navy and Indian army are taking up courses in data analytics, AI and cyber security,” said Kumar, adding that banking and telecom companies are training many of their employees as they reinvent their business models. Telco Bharti Airtel has set up a large internal digital training infrastructure that uses courses from firms such as Coursera and Pluralsight. Its X Labs is the platform tasked with transforming the company.

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“We internally do a lot of training. If you are not investing in training you will become redundant,” said Harmeen Mehta, global CIO at Bharti Airtel.

Watchmaker and jewellery company Titan is investing in digital training heavily, said Krishnan Venkateswaran, chief digital and information officer.

“We have company-wide training programmes. We are training our core technology team in emerging technology areas such as omnichannel, data analytics, machine learning, RPA (robotic process automation) and mixed reality, both internally and externally. We invest significantly in our talent so that they are enabled to stay abreast of technology trends and help Titan be at the leading edge,” he said.

This trend of upskilling in emerging tech became prominent in late 2017 on the back of concerns over how automation could result in job losses. Two years down the line, demand is only growing, said Santanu Paul, CEO, Talentsprint, a digital upskilling firm.
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