BANGALORE: Rohit Malik, a mid-level executive at India\'s largest software services exporter Tata Consultancy Services, recently signed up for an online course in data analytics which helped open up more opportunities within the company. Malik, 39, has been working for about 14 years, but was finding it increasingly difficult to find projects which needed his skill in the Tibco software which helps integrate enterprise applications.
Not much different is the case of Ganapathy Govindan, who used to rely on his knowledge of traditional programming languages like Java and C++ for close to a decade at Cognizant Technology Solutions.
Govindan too has jumped onto the data analytics bandwagon by enrolling for a programme that teaches Hadoop, a software platform that corporations rely on to analyse vast amounts of data in the most efficient way.
Malik and Govindan represent a growing community of mid-career at software services companies such as TCS, Cognizant, Infosys, Wipro and HCL Technologies who are scrambling to re-skill themselves in newer technologies to combat the threat of obsolescence and job loss.
\"Your relevance in the company depends on your skills and the demand for those skills,\" Malik said. Technologies such as cloud computing, enterprise mobility and data analytics becoming more mainstream has raised the stakes for professionals who for a long time were content with basic skills in software programming and managing computer networks.
Among the skills in demand now are Hadoop as well as new-generation database query languages such as NoSQL and Cassandra, an open-source software used to manage large databases. Similarly executives with skills software that enable cloud computing, especially from vendors such as Amazon, Microsoft and VMware are also much sought after.
Technology market researcher IDC expects market for cloud computing-based services to grow a little over 18% in 2013 to $131 billion (Rs 8.25 lakh crore). It is expected to grow at an average rate of 23.5% till 2017. A recent study by EMC and Zinnov said that India would require at least one lakh skilled professionals in private cloud alone by 2015, while globally there will be a shortage of roughly two lakh data scientists by 2019.
According to human resources consultancy Ranstad, technical expertise is an advantage when there is a short supply of such skills. Once supply rises or demand falls, however, the value of such professionals diminishes.
\"A lot of senior executives with 10-15 years of experience face this and live constantly in the fear of job loss. And changing technology throws another challenge at them,\" said Aditya Narayan Mishra, managing director and CEO at Ranstad India.
According to him when companies look to cut costs, the axe falls first on the experienced but expensive employees.
Online training institutes such as Edureka are finding that at least 60% of their students are mid-level industry executives with seven or more years of experience. \"A lot of them want to upgrade skill to fight layoffs. These courses increase their employability,\" said Lovleen Bhatia, cofounder and chief executive officer of Edureka.
Industry body Nasscom said that the software industry, which employs over 3 million professionals, will see a 17% decline in annual hiring in the current financial year as companies focus more on just-in-time hiring of professionals with specific skills.
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