Demand for Artificial intelligence & robotics experts to be higher by 50-60% in 2018
Artificial intelligence (AI) is the buzz in the jobs bazaar as machine learning and the Internet of Things (IoT) increasingly influence business strategies and analytics. Human resource and search experts estimate a 50-60% higher demand for AI and robotics professionals in 2018 even as machines take over repetitive manual work.
“Machines are taking over repetitive tasks. Robotics, AI, big data, and analytics will be competencies that will be in great demand, ” said Shakun Khanna, senior director at Oracle for the Asia-Pacific region.
Organizations are being pushed to become even more efficient as jobs turn predictable, said Rishabh Kaul, co-founder of recruitment startup Belong, which helps clients search for and hire AI professionals. “There is a significant increase in the adoption of AI and automation across enterprises, leading to a skyrocketing of demand for professionals in these fields, ” he said.
Jobs in the IoT ecosystem have grown fourfold in the last three years, according to estimates by Belong. These are related to engagement technologies and data capture among other areas. Demand for professionals in the realm of data analysis, including data scientists, has grown by almost 76% in the past few years in AI.
The demand is at the entry level as well as middle to senior ranks across sectors such as business, financial services and insurance (BFSI), e-commerce, startups, business process outsourcing (BPO), information technology (IT), pharmaceuticals, healthcare, and retail. “Robotics is required by process-oriented companies for a better customer experience. It helps in cutting down cost and improves efficiency, ” said Thammaiah BN, managing director, Kelly Services India.
“AI is helping companies to be in spaces so far not thought of. Organizations can accomplish new things, new products, and services through AI.”
Companies want to mine the data they have accumulated over the years, said Sinosh Panicker, partner, Hunt Partners. “AI helps them predict and position their products better and push out new things, ” he said.
However, there’s an acute demand-supply mismatch for AI talent across industries, experts said. Candidates for AI roles related to natural language processing (NLP), deep learning, and machine learning are thin on the ground, according to the Belong Talent Supply Index. The ratio of the number of people to jobs in deep learning is 0.53, while for machine learning it’s 0.63 and for NLP it’s 0.71.
Only 4% of AI professionals in India have worked on cutting-edge technologies such as deep learning and neural networks, the key ingredients in building advanced AI-related solutions, said Kaul.
A few academic institutions such as the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) in Kharagpur and Kanpur, the Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) in Hyderabad and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bengaluru have specialized disciplines or centres for artificial intelligence and machine learning.
“In fact, according to our internal research, less than 2% of professionals who call themselves data scientists or data engineers have a PhD in AI-related technologies, ” said Kaul.
Such is the need for talent that it is prompting top business schools, including the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), to include AI and machine learning in their curriculum and expose students to the full ecosystem of IoT. The IIMs in Bangalore and Kozhikode and premier B-Schools like the SP Jain Institute of Management & Research (SPJIMR) are offering courses on AI, robotics, and IoT that can be connected to business strategy to enhance performance, output and customer experience.
Some are learning skills through various other courses, including online ones. “People who are keeping themselves abreast with new age technologies and have the right set of required skills under the same are in high demand, ” said ABC Consultants director Ratna Gupta.
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