More than 50,000 jobs in data science artificial intelligence and machine learning are lying vacant due to a shortage of qualified talent, says an industry report.
Such is the situation that the market has twice the number of jobs as jobseekers, indicating an urgent need for professionals to upskill, said the study by online and hybrid education company Great Learning, shared exclusively with ET.
"India lacks massively when it comes to talent in data science, machine learning and artificial intelligence," Hari Krishnan Nair, co-founder of Great Learning, said. "With more and more jobs increasingly becoming data-driven, the need of the hour is for professionals to upskill themselves to stay relevant."
The primary reason for the demand-supply gap, according to Nair, is that the kind of projects companies is implementing require a higher order of data skills that do not exist. "What people learn in colleges is not in sync with what is being used in industry," he said. "Most of these individuals passed out a while back. Now a lot of things are getting automated; newer opportunities are coming up. That is where there is a dearth of talent."
Banking and financial services are the biggest markets for analytics and data science professionals with 44% of all jobs created in this domain in 2017, said the report created in partnership with Analytics Vidhya, an online community for analytics knowledge.
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E-commerce is another significant market for analytics professionals given the wide use of recommendation engines across e-commerce websites. Around 12% of all jobs were created in the e-commerce industry in 2017.
Healthcare (12%), energy and utilities (8%), telecom (6%), media (6%), retail, automobile, and travel are among the other sectors driving the demand for data science professionals.
Skills in the cloud, big data analytics, machine learning, and AI are going to be critical for data science professionals to land the available jobs, said the study that covered 28,000 people in 3,000 organizations across the country.
According to research and advisory firm Gartner, out of 10 lakh registered companies in India, 75% have invested or are going to invest in machine learning and data science.
So what are the skills and expertise these firms are looking for?
While the highest number of job searches are observed in SQL programming language, Python is the fastest-growing due to the greater support of machine learning libraries, the Great Learning report said. However, jobs in SAS have declined recently, it said.
Data scientist, data analyst, data architect, data statistician, ML (machine learning) engineer, ML specialist, technical architect, and data engineer are some of the most popular roles available, it said.
Professionals with these skills command a significant premium in salaries. "The average jump one gets for a role like this is 45%, (and) in many cases it goes up much higher because of the demand-supply gap," Nair said.
"New tech will continually evolve at a breakneck pace. Professionals need to upskill themselves, innovate and do newer things. Every four to five years, your competencies will have to change," he said.
The report also highlights the growing scope of data science in non-traditional sectors. Opportunities in non-traditional sectors like aviation, cybersecurity, agriculture, healthcare, and driverless transportation are set to soar by 2020, it said.