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View from India: AI skills essential to be future ready

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Nasscom, in partnership with MeitY, has launched a training course on Artificial Intelligence (AI), free to all users for the next month.

Industry body National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) - in association with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) - has launched an on-demand courseware on AI. As part of the Nasscom FutureSkills initiative, the AI course will allow individuals to upskill themselves over the next few weeks. 

To put things in perspective, Nasscom FutureSkills has curated deep-learning programs for their partner ecosystem that will be available for free on the Nasscom website for all users. The Foundational Artificial Intelligence course from SkillUp Online is aligned to the industry’s recommended Foundation AI curriculum (retail price Rs 6,800) free for everyone until May 15 2020. The Foundational Big Data Analytics course from Digital Vidya, aligned to the industry’s recommended Foundation BDA curriculum will also be soon made available free of cost (retail price Rs 5,000). Besides deep skilling, the website will also include micro-learning content on AI as quick knowledge bytes.  

“Covid-19 has thrown unprecedented challenges for the world and industries alike. While we continue to fight these challenges as a nation, it’s important to use this opportunity to upgrade our skills, in order to remain industry relevant and future ready,” said Ajay Prakash Sawhney, secretary, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India. This campaign will urge IT professionals, students and everybody else interested in technology to enhance their understanding of emerging tech.

“We are starting with artificial intelligence, as this is one skill that every professional will need. We hope to see many users signing up to avail these courses,” reasoned Sawhney.        

AI and other emerging technologies are imperative to build a digitally powered tomorrow. It is essential that the workforce is ready with the required capabilities while dealing with AI to execute functions using technology more efficiently in the future.

“The novel coronavirus has thrown up exceptional challenges across the world and industries alike. While we continue to fight these challenges as a nation, amidst lockdown and remote-working scenarios, it is extremely important that we continue harnessing our skill sets on emerging technologies to become future ready,” added Debjani Ghosh, president, Nasscom.

Through Nasscom and MeitY’s ‘Unlock your skills during the lockdown’ campaign, stakeholders are encouraged to use this opportunity of working from home to upskill themselves in the skills of the future. “We are confident that together we will be able to overcome this phase and emerge stronger, post the crisis,” said Ghosh.

The course comes at a time when the industry has migrated to adopt processes wherein employees work from home during these exceptional times. That’s when a greater need is felt for them to continue their efforts in enhancing their skill sets and remain future ready. The course aims to enhance AI readiness among all individuals in the country.

This initiative will allow subscribers to learn, become familiarised with AI enabled technologies and practice AI tools. It will happen through micro-learning content, which will be free of cost to the users. Going forward, in the coming weeks, Nasscom also plans to provide learning modules on other technologies such as Big Data, IoT and cyber security along with live webinars for participants to create more interactive learning on these themes.

AI will revolutionise industries like automobile, environment, healthcare and just about everything in our lives in the near future. In the AI era that we are in, we operate in a data-centered manner. What makes AI commercially viable is that AI algorithms are being tapped to derive emerging trends from data as well as to regulate backend operations in organisations.

For all this, we need to upgrade skills and equip individuals for AI-ready jobs. What’s required is to invest in AI skills. Contrary to the belief that AI will remove jobs, it will change the nature of jobs. Professionals will have to reinvent themselves as they need to integrate AI tools for productive usage in their work.

AI applications are diverse - facial recognition in offices is likely to become as prevalent as automated check-ins in airports. Consequently, human and technical skills will merge to make organisations competitive. All this will cumulatively help create a robust digital economy.

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