The Information Technology (IT) industry is making rapid strides in India and across the globe. According to a recent report by NASSCOM, India's IT industry is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 12-14 percent during 2016-17. No wonder thousands of university graduates consider IT as a promising and lucrative career choice across the country.
The importance of this sector cannot be overemphasized. Realizing that IT proliferation can dramatically change the country, the government is laying huge emphasis on digital literacy. Even the previously unorganized, small-scale enterprises and service providers are embracing IT as integral part of their workflow. Besides lucrative opportunities and career prospects, Information Technology education also offers various areas of specialization.
In today's dynamic work environment, acquiring professional qualifications and degrees is important, but to equip yourself with the right IT certifications can take your career to new heights altogether.
IT Education in India over the years: An Overview
Indian IT organizations have traditionally been quite self-sufficient in developing the skills of their manpower. They executed this through strong incubation and internal training processes. This self-sufficiency was predominantly due to the fact that the outsourcing requirements from overseas clients grew at the rapid pace during the 90s and the first decade of the new millennium and they could not depend on our archaic engineering education which fell short of meeting the technical requirements of the industry. As job market within IT expanded exponentially, students, mostly from Engineering courses got easy placements and the organizations took care of grooming them according to client requirements. This bourgeoning opportunity also attracted the aspiration of standard university graduates towards a career in this field. Responding to this market demand, the late 80s and 90s saw huge growth in the number of private training organizations providing IT education to sections of youth. Slowly, these institutions stared being noticed within the hiring organizations and thereby created huge pool of industry ready people.
Over the past few years we are observing another churn in the training industry. With rapid technological advances on service delivery, the skills required are changing very dramatically. Along with this a recessive environment as led to steady decrease in outsourcing business. As a result, IT organizations are forced to create value propositions mapping with the current environment. Today, most organizations are moving away from their traditional model of mass hiring, huge spends on incubation training and maintaining a surplus bench strength. Today, organizations are now looking for talent who are capable to be accessible on a "Zero-day-deployment" model.
As this message flows out to career aspirants, they are looking for specific and short-term courses rather than yearlong comprehensive career programs that were in vogue even 5 years back. Most training organizations have adapted to this new requirement and are offering the model of "Flip classroom" which enables learners to spend more time on self-study than an Instructor led program. With better knowledge today's career aspirants are better informed about skills and technology that are required in the industry and therefore demand the same from training providers.
The higher education architecture in the country mostly offers degrees such as B. Tech, BE, MCA, M. Sc., with respect to IT Engineering from the technical perspective, but the practical and hands on aspects of technology and its application into our lives are often overlooked in university curriculums. Add to this, a complete lack of scenario based teaching, and inadequate infrastructure, especially in public institutions explains the growing concern about a very high rate of skill gap among graduates. This leads to challenges in employability and leads to a demand-supply gap in the sector. Educating students in the contemporary areas of information technology is indeed the need of the hour.
Additional Training and Certifications
Providing the Competitive Edge New age careers in IT demand a fast paced, dynamic approach, progressive vision, and quick adaptability skills towards the advent of emerging technologies. Going forward, disruptive tech innovations such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, internet of things, cloud computing and cyber security offer highly interesting avenues for aspirants in this sector. Demystifying the 'next big opportunities' in the sector needs amplified levels of education, skilling (and re-skilling) and domain knowledge; and this is where IT certifications and training can play an increasingly important role in enhancing IT students' career prospects.
In today's dynamic work environment, acquiring professional qualifications and degrees is important, but to equip yourself with the right IT certifications can take your career to new heights altogether. These certifications could be a wide range of subjects such as data security, networking, virtualization, storage, project management, big data, mobility and cloud network administration, and so on. They enhance your resume and tell employers that you have the right skills for the job. It is also a reflection of your commitment to continued education, and tells your employer that you have the competitive edge over your peers.
In a nutshell, advanced level training courses, online educational programs, and certificates help you learn more and groom yourself into a valued professional with a well-rounded foundation of specifics.
The Road Ahead
With the horizon of Information and Communication Technology rapidly evolving with each passing day and India Inc. moving towards a digitalized economy, not only students but potential employees and even employers in the domain feel the need to constantly upgrade skills to stay relevant and in competition.
To acquire skill sets based on your interest areas short-term courses and certifications are great options to prominently establish your competency towards a special area of expertise. On the other hand, the subjectivity of classroom education (or virtual classrooms even for that matter) cannot be underestimated, especially if you are opting for a long-term career in this field. Embracing a sustainable balance of both in a more comprehensive and time-specific manner can be the ideal way out here for the new age IT education consumer.
He is the Director of CompTIA, the voice of the world's information technology industry. CompTIA is dedicated to advancing industry growth through its educational programs, professional certifications and public policy advocacy.