big data

How will India meet big data skills shortfall?

Viraj V Desai

Big data is at a nascent stage in India and businesses are looking for people with the right skills to help tap its potential for sustained business growth.

But a shortfall in suitable candidates for jobs is anticipated unless graduates with the right skills are attracted to roles involving big data analytics.

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Recent global research from Gartner revealed that 42% of IT leaders have already invested in big data technology or plan to do so in the next 12 months.

In a country with a population as big as India, individuals who can understand and translate big data are valuable.

A big data implementation project involves multiple skills, including technology, domain and scientific expertise. Professionals involved must also understand issues around data, high-performance computing and operational technology.

KR Sanjiv, global head of analytics and information management services at Wipro, said big data will influence every industry and represents an unprecedented opportunity for business value creation. 

“To turn big data into strategic advantage, profit and productivity, enterprises need to invest in the right technology and the science to access its power,” he added.

“We are seeing significant interest in big data among enterprises in India. Wipro believes telecoms, government, banking and retail will lead the big data IT spending in India. Some big data projects will be large, hence the large number of professionals required for implementation,” said Sanjiv.

“To cater to the large requirements we are not just hiring data scientists and big data technologists, but are grooming internal talent through certification and training,” he said.

There is going to be an estimated shortfall of 190,000 data scientists within the next couple of years

Kartik Vyas, Persistent Systems

Kartik Vyas, head of big data marketing at Pune-based Persistent Systems, said the scope of technologies and tools that fall under the big data umbrella means there is high demand for professionals with the skills to work with multiple tools in an ecosystem.

He expects a large shortfall in the number of suitable candidates to fill big data roles, leading to job opportunities for graduates with the right skills.

“There is going to be an estimated shortfall of 190,000 data scientists within the next couple of years,” said Vyas. 

Persistent Systems currently has more than 250 big data experts and expects this number to rise.

According to a Gartner report, the demand for big data professionals globally by 2015 would be about 4.4 million. Sid Deshpande, senior research analyst at Gartner in India, expects only one-third to be filled.

“The biggest amount of traction is coming from IT firms. Also, financial services and telecoms companies are slowly putting big data teams in place, but they are in the early stages and it will take some time,” he said. 

"They are currently relying on IT service providers. The approach is still piecemeal and not something massive. Most firms are still evaluating,” said Deshpande.