India’s Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning industry faces talent shortage despite ranking second globally.
As India’s technology industry continues to grow at a rapid pace, there is one significant challenge that stands in the way of the country’s progress.
A report from Nasscom shows that there is a massive talent shortage in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Data Science (DS) market. The demand for AI and DS far exceeds the supply, with a 51 percent gap between the two.
Wiin Technologies, a training institute in Bengaluru that offers courses in Machine Learning and Data Science, said it is difficult for students to get into the field due to high-experience job requirements.
“Data Science is a vast subject. Freshers who learn Data Science or Machine Learning (ML) do not necessarily get jobs in these fields easily. This is because most job opportunities require very high experience candidates. That is why most ML-DS students get jobs somewhere else. You have to start somewhere,” said one of the spokespersons.
The report by Nasscom suggests there are 6.3 lakh available positions in the AI-ML-DS market in India. But there are only 4.2 lakh active professionals in the field. A primary reason behind the demand-supply gap in the Indian AI-ML-DS market is that most job requirements come with an experience band of five-10 years.
Chintan P, who is a Machine Learning intern at Bungee Tech—a Washington-based analytics company—said the prospects of an individual looking to foray into this industry depend on the road they take early on, during their academic course or training.
“I am a mechanical engineer with a minor in computer science. With such a combination, it is really difficult to find a job in the software domain. If you have an extremely good profile and have enough projects and research papers related to the domain you want to pursue your career in, then it’s a bit easier to kickstart your career in this field,” said Chintan.
The AI-ML industry is booming in India. Data from Nasscom suggests that India has the second-largest talent pool in the market. It also ranks highest in the world in terms of AI penetration.
G.P Pavan, Head of the Department in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Division of Vivekananda Institute of Technology (VKIT), said the demand for AI-ML and related has indeed increased in the field in recent years.
“The demand has grown highly for these industries. In recent years, we have added courses such as Cybersecurity and full stack development. Internet of Things (IoT) is the most recent development, which is getting a lot of traction,” he said.
Pavan added that the AI-ML industry is a multi-disciplinary field. That means individuals who do not learn the course can easily shift to this field once they learn the basic models. This applies to mechanical engineers and doctors. “Even journalists can learn AI-ML,” he added.
Artificial Intelligence is a simulation of human intelligence that is processed by a machine. Machine learning is a process that leads to machine learning from past data or algorithms. The recent advancements in technology have led to AI and ML complementing each other. This has led to the infusion of AI-based platforms such as ChatGPT.
A market analysis report from Grand View Research (GVR) suggests that the global artificial intelligence market size was valued at $136.55 billion in 2022. It is projected to expand at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 37.3 percent from 2023 to 2030.
C Krishna Mohan, an expert in computer science and a professor at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Hyderabad, said freshers who learn AI-ML courses find it difficult to get into the domain right away, without much experience.
“Students belonging to private colleges or even government colleges have difficulties getting into the AI-ML right after graduation. This is because of the high-experience demands of the industry. Therefore, these students often venture into other domains and build their repertoire before foraying back to the AI-ML field,” he said.
This is not the case in IITs as students get first-hand experience and work on the subject matter much more than in other institutes. Their collective exposure and projects that they do influence recruiters. But students belonging to other institutes do face issues,” he added.
Krishna Mohan, though, added that the “future is bright for AI in India”, but stressed that the industry must focus on research rather than job creation.
“The AI-ML industry is not like any other industry. Historically, it has always focused on invention, growth, and efficiency. So there must be a right balance between job creation and research, which in turn, may help us reach the next stage of technological advancement,” he said.