Monday, September 03, 2012

Cloud goes to campuses

Maybe just an engineering degree is not enough, if you are looking for an unconventional job in the $72-billion Indian IT industry or even in global companies like Google, Yahoo! or Microsoft. Demand for skills like cloud computing and big data analytics is accelerating in this sector which loves innovation. This is precisely the reason why companies like EMC, Genpact and alike are collaborating with different universities to introduce specialised courses. Even private job training institutes like Indian Institute of Job Training (IIJT), TeamLease, NIIT, etc, are also not behind in launching cloud computing courses.

Let’s have a look at what the industry wants: Cloud computing will generate over 2 million jobs in India by 2015, says a study by IDC. As per a report by EMC and Zinnov, 100,000 jobs are supposed to be created just by private cloud by 2015. McKinsey’s study on big data says that India will require nearly 1,00,000 data scientists in the next couple of years, who have proficiency in analytics.

IT companies and universities both are realising this talent crunch and want to train freshers in these skills which will result in better campus placements. Professor S Rajendran, head of department, IT department, SRM University, says, “We are starting a Masters in Technology (MTech) programme in cloud computing from September 2012. Until now, 20 students have already joined in and this is a two-year programme. The fee is Rs.150,000 per year.” The university has associated with EMC Corporation for training the students in this programme. EMC is a global provider of storage hardware solutions that promote data recovery and improve cloud computing.

Companies feel that they need to train students in cloud and analytics to ensure employable talent. Krishna Kant, senior program manager, EMC Education Services, informs, “We have been working towards academia courses in cloud and big data. Until now, we have tied up with more than 200 engineering institutes and educated 75,000 students in India. Professions like cloud technologists, cloud architects and data scientists are picking up and we want to fill the gap between demand and supply.” To mention a few, the company has academic alliances with Manipal Institute of Technology, Rajasthan Technical University and Vellore Institute of Technology. The firm is also coming up with new courses in cloud infrastructure services, back-up and recovery of stored data, and data analytics for the batch of 2013. All these years, the main focus was on the information storage management (ISM) course.

Dr. A. Soundarrajan, Associate Professor, IT Department, PSG College of Technology, mentions, “We have added cloud computing and virtualisation as subjects into the curriculum. And in the final year of engineering, big data analytics and ISM are also important subjects.” Soundarrajan adds that a lot of companies prefer recruiting students who are proficient in these skill sets. These subjects were introduced by the college in 2007 and every year 200 students are learning these subjects.

Private training institutes like IIJT who help young graduates in finding jobs are realising the potential of cloud computing jobs too. In April this year, IIJT launched a new course on cloud computing called IT Infrastructure Management Specialist Course (ITIM). Senior vice-president, enterprise learning solutions, Teamlease, IIJT, says, “We have already trained 150 students in the last couple of months. A lot of freshers are joining the one-year training programme of cloud computing. We already have four batches running with 15-18 students each. The fee is Rs. 90,000 for one year. Any fresher with hardware knowledge is eligible for this course. If she is not trained in hardware, we give a three-month bridge for hardware knowledge.” These trainee numbers also include working professionals who want to have specialisation in cloud. These executives are charged per module ranging from Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 30,000. It must be added here that NIIT had also launched a similar course a few years ago.

If cloud computing is gaining traction as a skill set, analytics is also picking up and is becoming such as profession where companies prefer to hire from engineering as well as business schools. Last month, the country’s largest BPO Genpact signed an agreement with the Indian Institute of Management, Udaipur (IIM-U). Under this seven-year agreement, IIM-U and Genpact will jointly develop a centre for asset-based lending and finance and an analytics laboratory that will give students the opportunity to solve real-time problems, work on proprietary and industry-leading software tools and technology as well as get hands on industry experience. Under the agreement, Genpact will offer summer internships to full-time students and set up a merit- based scholarship.

Explaining the importance of these new age professions in the IT industry, Rajesh Janey, President, EMC India & SAARC, concludes, “Cloud computing and big data are transforming IT and businesses; however, this transformation requires new skill sets to accelerate and sustain market growth. The technology has evolved faster than the workforce skills, and organisations across sectors do not have access to skilled professionals in these domains.” Thus, the whole ecosystem, from universities, companies to job training institutes, are working together to groom talent for this domain.

Source: The Financial Express, September 3, 2012

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