Engineering the Right Career in Technology

By Dr Abhinanda Sarkar, Director Academics, Great Learning

Over a million engineers graduate yearly in India, with several becoming a part of the global talent pipeline and significant in shaping human society. Without a doubt, engineering lies at the heart of our lives, whether it’s how we transport or communicate with one another. Today, technological disruptions are fueling demand for a different kind of engineer, asking them to find answers to more complex challenges.

Despite a large engineering population, India lacks qualified personnel. Employability is low for many reasons: exposure to outdated curriculums, poor practical training, ill-equipped institutions, and other factors often leave graduates short of hirers’ expectations. A bulk of engineering graduates are inexperienced and unskilled in new technologies such as IoT and AI/ML—technologies that organisations are building their operations around. Meanwhile, the rise of Global Capability Centres (GCCs) in India is further necessitating demand for qualified engineers, adding to the problem. Presently, the country has around 1,600 GCCs, employing over 1.6 million people. We’ll soon breach the 2,000 mark and need a surplus of talent to fulfil the resulting jobs.

While the battle to find the right engineering talent continues, this ‘techade’ opens the doors for professionals to skill up and crack ambitious tech roles in various fields. The time is right for skilled engineers to break into up-and-coming domains and insure their careers.

Some exciting sectors engineers can focus on include:
1. Cybersecurity: Cyber attacks are on the rise and are jeopardising organisations’ operations. Attackers coming across sensitive information could cost enterprises millions and undermine their work, devaluing their worth and possibly crippling them altogether. Cyber attacks have increased by 38% in 2022 over the previous year and are expected to increase as technology such as AI takes over. Even as hackers are evolving and resorting to more sophisticated attacks to access data, it is estimated that India will have a shortage of 1.5 million cybersecurity professionals by 2025. There is an urgent need for engineers who can support organisations in building safety nets while protecting their digital infrastructure. Individuals with computer science degrees can choose development roles or work as network engineers. Key positions in the domain include the lucrative cybersecurity engineer, besides chief information security officer.

2. Data science: Organisations are drawing varied insights from data and adapting them to suit their needs—it helps make business decisions, improve efficiency, understand customers better, and identify areas of concern. And as more processes and systems are digitised, data is multiplying exponentially and becoming increasingly inseparable from jobs across sectors. Professionals might soon have to learn how to work with data regardless of their job descriptions. In the tech landscape, engineers who can interpret and visualise vast amounts of data are at an advantage given their exhaustive training and unique skills. Data roles in high demand now include data analysts and data architects as organisations seek professionals who can design data infrastructures that can handle large data volumes. And as the domain evolves, more engineering-oriented roles will open up.

3. Cloud computing: Organisations are moving to the cloud to streamline operations and simplify processes without worrying about on-site installation and maintenance. Cloud services help enterprises reduce complexity, cut down on expenditure and resources, and enhance workplace collaborations, even aiding developers to save time on backend processes. The working flexibility and subscription/pay-as-you-use model of cloud tools and apps are a few reasons why the cloud is so popular today. All of this is good news for engineers—cloud engineers, for one, will be mainly responsible for building cloud-based software systems, migrating resources to cloud applications, and managing and troubleshooting cloud services. With the domain poised for bigger things, as more businesses see its advantages, engineers can put their computing skills to use and transition to some of the most happening careers in tech.

4. Full-stack development: Software is inescapable and an essential tech domain owing to its ubiquitousness and foundational function in enterprises all over. Software development has matured over generations, producing different roles and iterations. Full-stack development is presently at the forefront of the evolution thanks to its efficiency and speed. Full-stack developers are highly versatile and have diverse skills, contributing to several aspects, like building web services and APIs, testing and troubleshooting, and much more. Their value to organisations cannot be stated enough in an increasingly digital world that seeks to minimise costs. As software evolves, the possibilities of what a full-stack developer can accomplish and build will expand. Ultimately, there will be a constant demand for engineers versed in front-end and back-end tools and technologies, offering organisations more value when it comes to building web applications.

5. Artificial intelligence and machine learning: AI is unquestionably the future of work. It will, in all probability, influence and shape business functions at all levels. The sector is abuzz—natural language processing (NLP), computer vision, and AI/ML engineer jobs are in high demand due to the cost benefits associated with using AI. At the progress envisioned, an AI engineer would command immense value in the job market in the coming years as they create AI infrastructure, fine tune decision-making processes, implement AI models, and integrate them with other apps. Engineers with a flair for data and problem solving and an in-depth knowledge of programming, databases, statistics, and algorithms, among other skills, can practically walk into any industry. Engineers wanting to enter the domain must be prepared and technically astute with a keen grasp of data. AI will be a rewarding, future-proof fit for professionals willing to work at the cutting edge of technology.

Global economic activity and disruptions are simplifying our world but also creating fresh problem statements. It will fall upon engineers to respond to these issues, develop solutions, and arrive at more effective technologies. Professionals having the skills and the desire to learn can land opportunities in critical tech domains, leading us into a future that is as sophisticated as it is efficient.

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