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2018: Time for a REBOOT

Anil Kumar ET Anil Kumar |

India’s IT industry has been a job spinner for over two decades. It currently employs 4.2 million people. The growth has, however, moderated over the past couple of years to 7-8 per cent in the face of huge headwinds. The industry, which automated much of the paper driven organisations, is now coming to terms with automation on itself.

About a decade ago, it would take about 45,000 people to generate $1 billion in revenues for an IT services company. Today, it takes less than a third of the number. IT companies used to hire hordes of freshers and kept their cost base low. They built the mid layer with managers to handle the scale. Now, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is offering an alternative to those two layers. AI & RPA are likely to manage routine transactions, applications and IT infrastructure. This is leading to redundancy of mid-level managers. The layoffs that happened in 2016-17- point towards this crisis.

In the last three quarters six top Indian IT companies, who employ 1.2 million people, have reduced their net headcount. This is probably a first in the longest time for the IT Industry. However, it is not all bad news. While the scale of job creation is certainly proving to be a challenge, some of new trends present fresh opportunities. Let’s take a look at them.

Emergence of DevOps

In the agile software development environment, the developer needs to don multiple hats. Besides coding, he/she needs to able to appreciate the business logic and understand clients’ domain. S/he should also be able to work with data in order to build a scalable IT solution. The developer’s role is going to be broad-based to cover the full software development life cycle — design, development, testing and deployment, all in one.

Surge in analytics

Since ‘data is king’ in the new world, huge opportunities arise for people with skills in statistics and the ability to frame mathematical models. A data scientist is a better statistician than a software engineer. It is expected that by 2020 there would be a need of 200,000 data analytics professionals in India. 2018 would see the augmentation of analytics further, this would then help in offsetting the decline in other IT jobs.

Enhanced cybersecurity

With the greater adoption of cloud computing and digitisation, security is inherent. So, creating a number of opportunities for cybersecurity professionals becomes paramount. It is estimated that cybersecurity will create one million jobs in India by 2025.

Big demand for UI/UX

Digitisation is permeating every aspect of our life. Hence, designers serve a unique and important role in just about every industry. Engagement revolves around the user and enhancing customer experience. This has led to a boom in the UX/UI (user experience and user interface) engineers. This demand is only going to aggravate with disruptive technologies such as social media, virtual reality and augmented reality.

2018 will also see the characteristics of IT jobs transforming. Permanent jobs are set to become passé. Lay-offs are going to be more frequent. 10 per cent of the jobs in the IT sector are already contractual in nature. This is only going to accentuate with the extent of disruptions happening in this sector. Millennials joining the workforce don’t have the permanent worker mind-set. IT organisations are better off providing them shorter, meaningful assignments.

Published first on The Hindu BusinessLine

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