07/11/2015 8:11 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

Reskill Or Be Replaced: What Automation Means For Your Job

Waves traveling across wire frame of man's brain (Digitally Generated)
Chad Baker via Getty Images
Waves traveling across wire frame of man's brain (Digitally Generated)

With the advent of new technologies over the last couple of years and slow growth, IT giants who once hired in droves from campuses have become selective pickers, while attrition rates continue to surge year on year. Why is this? The answer lies in skill management. Earlier, employees did not need multiple skills. However, today, with rapid adoption of technologies to stay abreast, any skill may be obsolete in a few years.

As automation and artificial intelligence gain momentum and become more dependable and error free, IT firms have decided that these evolving avenues are better than investing in large workforces that are prone to human errors. With robotics, intelligent platforms, tools, and technologies providing a significant bump in operational efficiency, firms have now realigned themselves to compete in this arena for an enviable cost advantage due to better productivity and savings which are going to tip the scales in their favour and disturb the balance of the playing field.

Another alarming trend seen is that existing employees are being relieved while new recruits are being trained in emerging technologies to fill the new job roles that will become the need of the hour. The shockwaves are going to travel upwards since the middle management themselves will have to re-skill themselves to manage employees possessing the relevant skills required at multiple levels of the hierarchy.

"How you prepare to reskill yourself to remain relevant in the job market will define your career."

Those still aspiring to be a part of India's IT story will have to be open to explore and embrace newer arenas and quickly become proficient in skills that will be vital to leverage the automation paradox. Fresh graduates approaching the end of their course would do well to focus on emerging technologies and groom themselves to match the profiles and that are going to be in demand. Although most automation programs require on-job training, a candidate who is aware of the current trends and familiar with these technologies is far more likely to interest recruiters.

We are on the verge of an economic revolution. Technology is getting better, cheaper and faster at a rate with which biology cannot keep up. Most basic roles, especially those that entail repetitive tasks, will be amongst the first to go as automation spreads. But as cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT) become household terms, and as access to fast internet increases and new users burgeon, more avenues for employment are going to emerge. Aspirants could strive for profiles such as cloud engineers, big data analysts, virtual reality programmers, 3D printing designers, and artificial intelligence experts, to name a few.

In India itself there have been significant investments by many companies to set up data centres. This is bound to spur a demand for professionals who are familiar with cloud technology. The 'Digital India' initiative alone is expected to generate more than 5 crore jobs.

Even as India has turned into a breeding ground for start-ups, there have been lapses in cyber security. Demand for a steady supply for cyber-security professionals is going to be crucial. 3D printing has also grown and it is only a matter of time that designers and manufacturers will also face a disruptive revolution in their sector. As it becomes easier to track consumer behaviour, purchases and preferences, the availability of all this data promises great potential for organisations to extract insightful information to use as a competitive advantage. Data analytics and data scientists will be in great demand.

Therefore, it is important to digest that automation is inevitable. How you prepare to reskill yourself to remain relevant in the job market will define your career.

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