AI skilling in India: New study confirms AI set to be a major part of India’s growth story with increasing demands for skills

In June 2020, the Institution of Engineering and Technology, India and the UK India Tech Partnership team from the British High Commission carried out an independent study on AI skilling in India as a part of their joint initiative to accelerate AI skilling and adoption in India. The study garnered close to 140 respondents representative of students, start-ups, academia, incubators and large corporations.

The study shed particular light on the need for a standardised AI curriculum for undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. Also, students trying to equip themselves with in-demand skills indicated that they were discouraged by not knowing where to start, finding the right expert and fear of coding being too tough. This next generation of entrepreneurs also wanted support with application-led concepts like Speech recognition, Computer vision and Robotics and Natural Language processing.

Start-up founders also highlight avenues that exist for building awareness around core AI technologies and use cases of successful AI adoption. Entrepreneurs already running start-ups expressed the need for a more strategic and joined-up approach for AI adoption, both within government and industry a sentiment echoed by large corporations who wanted to see the skills gap mapped out and a renewed approach to the AI skills eco-system.

Confirming the demand for skills and innovation: 70% of large corporations surveyed said that AI is a component of their 2-5 year strategic roadmap.

Speaking about the findings of the survey, Shekhar Sanyal, Country Head and Director, IET India said, “We are very happy to have been able to lead this study jointly with the team at the UK India Tech Partnership. India specific proof points are crucial for kick-starting industry and academia alike to build AI skill capacity for the ecosystem as well as to provide neutral and insight-led advisories to the government and ecosystem stakeholders. This study was the first step in that direction and it has helped us build a baseline for AI skills in India. We look forward to engaging with the ecosystem players in multiple areas of skilling for AI.”

British Deputy High Commissioner to Karnataka and Kerala, Jeremy Pilmore-Bedford said, “I am happy to endorse this important joint study that recognises both the growing importance of AI to India’s successful tech sector and the need to further bolster AI skilling in India, especially Karnataka which is at the forefront of innovation and entrepreneurship in AI. The growing strength of UK-India collaboration in the tech space coupled with increasing partnerships between academia and start-ups between UK and India will help address key challenges facing our countries and the world.”

Adding to this Ankita Puri, Head of AI and Data Science Cluster said, “we will be using the evidence from this study to launch a virtual upskilling program in AI to help focus on capacity building for the ecosystem to benefit given the covid-19 disruptions.”

IET India and the UK India Tech Partnership are jointly holding a virtual roundtable titled ‘AI skilling in India: Opportunities, challenges and road aheadfeaturing experts from India and the UK to discuss key findings of the study and to evolve a roadmap for AI skilling in India. Registration for this event is open now: https://bit.ly/3i1DLac

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Institution of Engineering and Technology - India

The IET office started operations in India in 2006, in Bangalore. Today, we have over 13,000 members and have the largest membership base for the IET outside of the UK.

Given the increasing global importance of India as an engineering hub our aim is to make an impact that has relevance both locally and internationally. Our strategy is to make a meaningful impact on the overall competency and skill levels within the Indian engineering community and play an influencing role with industry in relation to technology innovation and solving problems of public importance.

We want to do this through working in partnership with industry, academia and government, focussing on the application of practical skills within both learning & career lifecycles, driving innovation and thought leadership through high impact sectors.

For more details, please visit india.theiet.org.