The training focus
Renuka Vembu on the training scenario in India, that
transforms students into employable resources, and sets professionals on their
career growth path
a stupendous show in the past one decade, the show stopper for the IT industry
has arrivedbadly hit by financial slowdown in India, worse, recession
around the world. Melting resources and the grim economic scenario is forcing
companies to slash budgets yet maintain the quality standards and the quantity
of output. It has become a case of doing more with less; or even doing double
Even as cost crunch is staring companies at their face, the resonating voice
is that resources should be optimally utilized and not compromised upon. Technological
progression, the demanding industry, and the global level playing field, demands
that training is one key area that has to function perennial.
Streams in demand
IT training in organizations is still largely undertaken in the form of corporate
trainings and in-house trainers, while there are a few big players in the retail
training space for corporates. And training itself is segregated into job related
technical education and product and domain knowledge, and also understanding
the nuances of the ubiquitous soft skills which is gaining equal prominence.
Emerging verticals like retail, penetration of the telecom sector, and the boom
in the aviation and hospitality industry in the last few years, coupled with
high industry standards, adoption of best practices, scaling client demands
and increasing global footprint, have made it imperative for organizations to
push IT training in India.
Lokesh Mehra, Regional Manager, Corporate Responsibility, Cisco South Asia,
said, Though IT was the shining star till some time back, it has lost
some of its sheen. IT networking has emerged as a promising career opportunity.
This is owing to the fact that in todays global world, the network
has become a platform to integrate all forms of technology and communication
systems. A networking professional is engaged in designing, installing, configuring
and troubleshooting networks and network devices.
A view from a cross-section of experts in the industry places the following
as some of the most prominent and significant streams/certifications that were
highly availed of
- Technologies like Java, .Net and Mainframe-related
technologies, EJB 3.0, Spring, Hibernate, .Net 3.0 & 3.5, SQL Server 2005,
Testing (manual/automation), XML & XSL, SharePoint, Ajax, DWH
- Application suites like Siebel, Oracle
- Certifications like LOMA, PMP, Prince2, J2EE, Oracle,
Testing, Sun Certified Java programmer (SCJP), Pega Rules Process Commander
(PRPC), Quality centre and Certified Software Quality Analyst (CSQA), ISTQB
certifications in software testing, HP-QTP and Sun certifications
Kalpana Jaishankar, HR Head, Mastek Ltd., listed the areas they had placed their
- Latest technologies in various streams like J2EE/Microsoft/
- Design skills with the implementation in J2EE/Microsoft
- Training on insurance and insurance products to
build insurance capability for upcoming insurance projects
- Testing automation with an insight into few tools
- Architecting and solutioning course to help building
our future Technical Architects (TA)/Solution Architects (SA)
certain industries that require high levels of constantly evolving expertise,
training needs cannot be entirely disregarded, and any budget cuts being
made should be done keeping in mind the enhanced threat of not maintaining
standards achieved previously"
- Shailesh Mehta
CEO, Gurukul Online Learning Solutions Academy
todays market scenario, customers expect training vendors to act
as partners in addressing their business challenges, making it imperative
for us to address their concerns around manpower
productivity, quality work as well as
performance and ROI"
- Lokesh Mehra
Regional Manager, Corporate Responsibility, Cisco South Asia
real-time challenges of ensuring the right mix of utilizations and allocations,
and leveraging pyramids to enable higher revenue generation is the balancing
act that many progressive IT organizations are consistently focused on"
- Vikram V Kallianpur
Director and Country Head, HR,
a global organization, the biggest challenge for us is to ensure that
the training needs and requirements of the associates is not hindered
by the logistical challenges of distributed workforce in multiple time
- K Venkataraman
She added, As training is regarded as an investment,
there has not been any reductions made in the budgets allocated for the same,
but the best possible cost effective option is used. There is considerable emphasis
on training being provided to employees by internal experts, and e-learning
as an option is becoming more acceptable and appreciated.
Within IT, we have seen a high demand for training
in computer applications, database management, including designing and administration,
programming and hardware networking, systems operations and systems migration,
amongst others. These are generally the fields in which a high level of expertise
is involved, and in most cases, this expertise and understanding of systems
needs to evolve to keep up with developments, added Shailesh Mehta, CEO,
Gurukul Online Learning Solutions Academy.
Some of the basic but major obstacles faced by organizations
revolve around accommodating the needs of the diverse dispersed workforce. The
second hindrance would be having the required infrastructure in place to leverage
the advantages of technologically advanced methodologies like video-conferencing,
e-learning, blended learning, unified communications, etc. Training also has
to evolve and keep pace with changing times and augmenting business requirements.
Gaining expertise and constantly working towards upgrading the skills will help
employees be abreast of the requisites of the trade.
K Venkataraman, Director, Cognizant, said, As a global
organization, the biggest challenge for us is to ensure that the training needs
and requirements of the associates is not hindered by the logistical challenges
of distributed workforce in multiple time zones. To address this, we have invested
in setting up both physical and virtual infrastructure such as e-learning, live
meetings, virtual classrooms and online assessment engines. The second challenge
is to keep pace with changing technologies and business demands and to ensure
that courseware and assessments are always updated and maintained. This
is ensured through dedicated asset management and product development teams,
which work in collaboration with various Centers of Excellence within Cognizant
as well as its technology partners.
Vikram V Kallianpur, Director and Country Head, HR, Virtusa (India), said that
the trend is increasingly moving towards leveraging alternative delivery channels
for training like e-learning and tele-learning, which are helping organizations
to significantly reduce costs.
Impact on training
The economic wave has washed away the profits and drowned
the revenues of many a company. The cut in costs across all departments and
functions, yet the need to churn out the maximum productivity is imperative.
Fine-tuning training modules, en-cashing on new learning techniques and investing
in upcoming technologies that are bound to have a long-term impact, inclusive
learning with equal emphasis on all hierarchical levels, cross-functional trainings,
multi-skilling, etc., are some of the immediate and effective measures companies
are coming up with. These are bound to yield optimum efficiency within minimal
Though the investments in trainings have been reduced, the training and developmental
initiatives have to be perpetual. Re-skilling and upgrading the skill sets and
knowledge base of employees so as to enable them to take on additional tasks
and contribute significantly to the existing job profile or role will be a value
addition that companies can extract. Re-evaluating the modules and aligning
it to the business interests and company goals, keeping in view the companys
current environment and the overall future market scenario, is what all organizations
are engaging in and formulating out of.
However, Karthik K S, CEO, 24x7 Learning, asserted that the
message from this meltdown was anything but positive. He said, Although
the initial panic situation at the start of the recession was to cut costs across,
one soon realized that learning and development programs during this phase were
crucial to keep the momentum going and to keep the employee morale high. The
expectation during these tough times is for the workforce to do more and take
up different roles and thus, it makes business sense to invest in their development
and well-being. Any recession is temporary and it is like a churning phase.
By the end of it, a lot of players perish. Organizations have realized this
and therefore use this time to get ready with their workforce and processes.
For once the markets recover, they can move their way up quickly and establish
themselves as leaders.
training is regarded as an investment, there has not been
any reductions made in the budgets allocated for the same, but the best
possible cost-effective option is used"
- Kalpana Jaishankar
HR Head, Mastek
expectation during these tough times is for the workforce to do more and
take up different roles and thus, it makes business sense to invest in
their development and well-being"
- Karthik K S
CEO, 24x7 Learning
Mehta put across a different viewpoint, Budgetary restraints
have had a significant effect on investment in training by companies across
the board. However, in certain industries that require high levels of constantly
evolving expertise, training needs cannot be entirely disregarded, and any budget
cuts being made should be done keeping in mind the enhanced threat of not maintaining
standards achieved previously. From another perspective, training specialists
need to enable themselves to deliver better value at the best possible costs.
Sighting the general industry view, Mehra said, On
an average there has been a dip of 20% in the ongoing training programs as per
the training experts in India. In todays market scenario, customers expect
training vendors to act as partners in addressing their business challenges,
making it imperative for us to address their concerns around manpower productivity,
quality work as well as performance and ROI.
Karthik viewed that the demand for IT training will continue
to be on the upswing in the coming years, and there will definitely be an emphasis
on imparting generalist IT skills at all levels, probably as part of the induction.
A chunk of IT training will be delivered online, giving employees the freedom
and flexibility to learn. Learning IT skills through gaming and interactive
play, and high-level of customized content will be a trend that will rule in
the coming years.
Venkataraman felt that with the increasing population of
Gen Y learners, there is bound to be a shift in the type of learning, which
will focus more on collaborative learning (use of Web 2.0 technologies) and
extended learning programs where handshake with the learner is not limited to
classroom interaction, but happens on a continuous basis. Sharing of content
will become one of the key trends, as manifested in You Tube/EDU, ocw.mit.edu,
blogs, Wikipedia, and so on, along with group mentoring and coaching.
Synchronizing training modules and amending it as per the
market tactics and companys business framework will take organizations
forward. Also, e-learning, due to its simplicity in usage, easy updation and
modification, enabling encapsulation of a diverse audience base, constant availability
and reference point, will be one of the most efficient ways replacing the traditional
one-time advantage that used to be gained out of classroom trainings. Here,
the benefits can be gathered time and again, and knowledge refined.