Saving Your Job in the Age of Automation

Aravind Sekar


July 15th, 2017

When we stepped into an industry as freshers, everything seemed surreal, fast and exciting. Dedication and workplace obedience were at their peak during the early stages of our career. However, it didn’t take much time for us to learn the fact that every seat at our workplace is replaceable and in less than a week! We slowly understood that the more redundant and monotonous our job profiles were, the higher the chances there were of losing our jobs. And things have been happening just as we thought.

The first half of 2017 was quite terrible for the IT sector in India, with massive layoffs dominating the market. Tech Mahindra, Cognizant, Infosys and more were all part of the major retrenchment drive and thousands of employees across India were asked either to leave or just get terminated. At one point, it felt like the IT sector in India, which was at its peak, had suddenly hit rock-bottom levels.

However, if you look at the employment timeline, this is not the first time major layoffs or job loss have been happening. Changes in the job markets have always been there and with each big revolution, the severity just kept increasing. There have been jobs which you might have never heard of decades back, which eventually became extinct. With the invention of electricity and industrial revolution, tons of other jobs were washed away for good. And today, we are at this crucial phase of technology revolution where our jobs are being replaced by machines – the ones that could autonomously take decisions and work on their own. Delivery drones, self-driving cars, retail stores with no cashiers and assists are all showing us a glimpse of what the future looks like.

Commonly known as automation, the advent of it has resulted in taking a number of jobs to the brink of extinction, which is clearly evident from the job market scenario in our country. If you did read the news, there has been a notion that it was mostly automation that was responsible for the massive layoffs. Some of the most redundant skillsets, which could easily be replaced by a few lines of coding and statements, were all done away with. Though it is true to an extent, we cannot completely blame automation for the layoffs.

During every technological revolution, jobs have been lost and if you take a closer look at this scenario, it has got to do more with the current technology companies are deploying for their everyday operations. Big Data analytics, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) have all evolved to such a level that companies from startups to big tech companies have woken up to their importance and implemented in their operations.

The sudden influx and rise of such technologies have stumped the current talent pool in IT and their lack of skills to work on the newer technologies have been the major reasons for layoffs. With companies reinvesting their funding on these technologies than manpower, employees are expected to take up more specialized responsibilities. When the talent pool failed to adapt to the change, that’s when layoffs started happening.

Also, these technologies are complex. Your current skillsets in computer science, electronics and communication or more cannot help you retain your current job during this market change. You need to be multidisciplinary in your skillsets and you need to have a blend of skills like the ability to code, business acumen, knowledge in economics, computer science, excel and more.

Saving Your Job

 

If you feel it’s too late or that you couldn’t capitalize during your appraisals, it’s not. You’ve still got time to upskill to what’s in trend today and retain your job this retrenchment season. What you need to do is reskill to Big Data analytics and switch to the job that needs people now. When you study up about it more, you’ll actually find that automation isn’t the one to take out job opportunities but create new ones. In fact, it’s creating jobs that require manpower to work on. Big Data analytics involve a lot of manual intervention and the job begins where the task of automation ends.

If you didn’t know, there are billions of connected devices globally, generating billions of terabytes of data every single day. These chunks of data are home to crucial information that companies will require for working on their customer experience, websites, supply-chain management, day-to-day operations, and more. Our online activities such as that on our social media platforms, financial transactions, eCommerce websites and more are all treasure-chests of valuable customer information and these raw sets of data need to be worked by skilled data scientists to uncover insights.

At the same time, when the IT industry started witnessing a downfall, the Big Data analytics sector faced mass recognition and patronage by companies around the globe. Gradually, the importance of data was soon recognized by even startups and now Big Data analytics is regarded as the sexiest job of the 21st century.

India has also caught up with this tidal wave and is now slowly becoming an analytics hub. It’s anticipated to grow from $2bn to $16bn by 2020 and create up to 50,000 new jobs by then. The US is a forerunner in the analytics sector, requiring thousands of specialist data scientists to fill the vacancies. As far as salaries are concerned, data scientists earn more than an average IT professionals and freshers start with a better paycheck in analytics when compared to other sectors.

As we said, it’s not too late to venture into analytics and prevent your career from stagnation or even facing a downfall. If you feel you’re part of one of those redundant skillsets talent pool, upskill today. Take up an analytics course, become a specialist companies are looking for and not just save your job but take it to newer heights the coming months. You’ll be glad you made the switch. That’s how you save your job like a boss!


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