Every business is evolving into a software business. It is something you’ll hear a lot, particularly since the pandemic. That is partially true. The more digitised a firm is, the easier it will be to communicate with customers and partners and its staff to work remotely. It is valid for both small and large businesses. It’s the way things are going in the world. NASSCOM has taken a great leap forward in this regard.
It also implies that everyone will require some level of digital literacy. And a better grasp of digital technologies will help many people. NASSCOM, the IT industry association, and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology(MEITY) introduced the FutureSkills Prime learning platform around seven months ago with this insight.
In collaboration with skilling and tech businesses, the platform offers a variety of digital technology courses. Many skilling companies have been independently offering similar courses, and registrations for those courses have risen dramatically in the last year. However, as Kirti Seth, co-architect and head of NASSCOM’s FutureSkills Prime initiative, points out, trust increases significantly when the content appears to come from the industry and government.
“There’s a lot of information out there. What matters, though, is what can be trusted. That’s why the NASSCOM aspect is so important,” she said last week at a Times Techies webinar on future-proofing India’s digital skills landscape hosted by NASSCOM.
There will be another significant benefit to taking classes on this platform shortly. The government will cover half of the fee, including the assessment charge if you complete the course and receive certification. “We’re putting audit trails and compliances in place,” Seth explained.
Since its inception, 120,000 students have enrolled in courses, with around 50,000 having finished them. These figures could skyrocket if the government provides a subsidy.
The program’s long-term goal is to offer a diverse set of courses, ranging from fundamental digital literacy to those that engineering students and professionals can utilise to upskill and build complicated projects in their jobs.
It has the power to democratise digital skills and make India even more attractive to foreign corporations for engineering and R&D work if properly implemented.
When we talk about Digital India, Paneesh Rao, Mindtree’s chief people officer, says it’s not about the population represented by IT businesses. The businesses themselves will train the majority of the latter. “We developed the Cowin app, but many people couldn’t register to get vaccinated since they didn’t know-how. “We need to reach out to a larger audience,” he remarked.
According to Jagdish Mitra, chief strategy officer and head of growth at Tech Mahindra, India can develop entrepreneurs across the country to introduce digital skills to a broader audience, such as getting 11th and 12th-grade kids to attend FutureSkills courses. “America has shown us that college dropouts are the most successful technology firm startup owners,” he remarked.
According to Srijata Sengupta, Director of HR at Accenture Technology Centres India, everyone can be a technologist. “Because technology has advanced significantly, our mindsets must adapt as well. Digital is about finding solutions that put the human at the centre. So, not only will you require software engineering abilities, but you will also require other skills. And you’ll start to see folks who have a background in the arts gaining coding abilities. With low-code and no-code platforms, coding is changing dramatically,” she noted.
However, the onus of learning is increasingly assumed to lie on the person, even if a firm employs her. According to Mitra, it is currently a shared obligation, with companies stating that it is in their best interests and the employees’ to see their staff gain skills. “However, it will shift to a situation where firms will argue that you should be relevant since the world is open to me,” he said.
Learners, according to Sengupta, must also find methods to put what they’ve learned into practice right away, such as through internships or hackathons. Perhaps through donations to open-source software. “Otherwise, the information will not stick, and it will be insufficiently motivating,” she explained.