How do you study for a field that's changing all the time? Software engineering graduates from three years ago have to start from scratch when it comes to aspects of artificial intelligence, blockchain, machine learning, and robotics. Professionals are finding the very nature of their jobs changing, in sectors that range from software engineering to banking and telecom.
Now, tech companies are stepping in to help. In collaboration with governments and academia, they are offering upskilling courses online, designed for professionals as well as fresh graduates.
In 2017, technology giants Google, Microsoft and Intel began to tie up with massive open online course (MOOC) platforms and set up their own online virtual labs to offer courses on emerging technologies. While Google collaborated with e-learning platforms such as Udacity and Coursera to offer free programmes in Google analytics, android development, full stack web development, mobile web specializations, and cloud certifications, Microsoft set up three e-learning platforms of its own - the Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA), the Microsoft Imagine Academy (MIA) and Microsoft Professional Programme (MPP), offering free modules for absolute beginners and also mid-level professionals, and paid-for certification courses for IT students, teachers and engineers.
Intel launched the AI Developer Education Program, a self-paced learning course for developers and students looking to understand the fundamentals of machine learning and deep learning. More free online courses being added by Google will include a machine learning crash course and an Android Basics one, both for non-engineering beginners and professionals.
Your future is all set! How?
We keep talking about getting ready for the future, but really the future is now, says Mona Bharadwaj, university relations leader at IBM India. Companies such as IBM are tying up with colleges today because we see a huge requirement of blockchain and other emerging skills going forward. More so because there is not much skill available in the market. So we want to align students with the industry in some sense before they join us.
Google, for instance, has tied up with the Internet and Mobile Association of India as well as state governments in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana to create academies of skill and knowledge. Also, in a joint effort with Pluralsight and Udacity, they sponsored 130,000 scholarships last year to help existing developers gain access to advanced learning curricula in emerging technologies.
In 2018, meanwhile, IBM tied up with the National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL), an online learning platform funded by the central government, to co-teach a course in the blockchain. We co-offered this course with IIT-Kharagpur. IBM has been hands-on in designing the course structure, the rest is done by the IIT professors, says Bharadwaj.
Universities across the country and institutes like the University of Petroleum and Energy Studies (UPES), Dehradun have tied up with IBM and Google to embed some of their courses into the curriculum.