There is a skill shortage in the IT industry in areas like web development and data science, where the global shortage is expected to grow from seven million to 23 million by 2022, with the 1.2 million shortage in India set to increase to 6.5 million.
Employability has been a hot topic of discussion across fields and industries and there is a valid reason as well for this. Unemployment in India is projected to increase from 18 million in 2018 to 21.5 million by 2020.
When you look at information technology (IT) field, which is a major generator of employment in a country like India, we find that job openings are not a problem. The core reason of unemployment today is the shortage of skills needed in the industry today and, because of this, despite having job openings and requirements, the industry is not able to recruit professionals.
Important to bridge the skill gap to address unemployment
There is a skill shortage in the IT industry in areas like web development and data science, where global shortage is expected to grow from seven million to 23 million by 2022, with the 1.2 million shortage in India set to increase to 6.5 million. India currently faces a shortage of over 1,20,000 tech talent in cutting-edge tech stacks, namely Advanced Python Programming, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Data Analysis and Visualisation, Predictive Analysis (R and Python) in Data Science, Artificial advanced predictive analytics using R and Python, Visualisation tools and Databases, Angular, Advanced Node JS, Cyber Security and DevOps.
If we see the ratio of skill shortage to unemployment, we could easily figure out that if we can address the skill shortage, the problem of unemployment could be addressed to a significant extent.
Professional up-skill courses are the future of education
While, traditionally, online learning platforms in India have focused on K-12, and that is where the interest of VCs has been, I believe that there is a big opportunity and role for online learning platforms to play in post Class XII segment where skill shortage could be addressed.
The quest to create better professionals for the industries
Skill and employability service with end-to-end solutions at an affordable price is a huge opportunity, yet to be tapped by online learning platforms. While there are platforms which are working to add value to the professionals by helping them in skill enhancement, the skill shortage in IT Industry or other industries is a problem that needs to be seen from the perspective of the demand side, the employers as well. This is where platforms like Career Anna come into play which is focusing on specific solutions.
Few ways in which online platforms can help directly solve the problem include the following:
- Working cohesively with the IT industry to understand the latest demand trends and have quality content and educators around them to ensure a supply in the market for professionals to upgrade their skill set.
- Online platforms should not be just running behind increasing the ticket size of the programmes and overcharge – How can one expect a user looking for a job that pays Rs 5-7 lakh in the IT industry to spend in the range of Rs 40,000- 1,25,000 for an online programme?
- Platforms should focus on the short turnaround time of the courses, and have courses that could make a person good to go for a job interview in 1-2 months, rather than making him go through an online programme for 9-12 months with no job interview assurance.
- Platforms need to have hiring partners from the IT industry and stay connected on regular basis with both the HRs and practice heads and build more confidence of the industry on the programmes so that industry relies more on certificates given by the online platforms and not on college degrees.
- Lastly, online platforms need to create content for online programmes aimed at bridging this gap on a pull basis in collaboration with industry, and not just push the standard content.
Edtech to shake hands with HR tech going forward
With more online learning platforms willing to create value in the space that is a combination of edtech and HR tech, we would see many more cases of a BSc graduate getting a Python developer job and a BCom graduate getting a Machine Learning expert job. The demand of the time is to ensure optimal seamless sync of IT demand and supply to ensure the skill shortage is addressed in the most effective way and, consequently, unemployment could be reduced. And with the opportunity pegged at more than $2 billion by 2022, this is the right time for learning platforms to focus on fulfilling the skill shortage and not mere skill enhancement.
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