October 25, 2016 - Meet Genpact's young breed of industry-made Data Scientists.
These are truly exciting times in the Analytics space, and Data Analysts/ Scientists have become a much sought-after asset in companies like ours that are transforming the world of analytics. K.S Viswanathan, Vice President of NASSCOM, says that “the analytics sector is expected to grow at a CAGR of 26% over the next five years."Nasscom (a trade association of Indian Information Technology and Business Process Outsourcing industry) estimates that the Big Data Analytics sector in India will continue to grow at this rate in the next nine years and will cross the $16 billion mark by 2025. But a recent survey by Gartner on big data skills revealed that about 2/3rd of big data skill requirements remain unfilled and only 1/3 are met. This has been directly linked to the lack of skill building courses available for students from engineering, economics, statistics and mathematics backgrounds.
So, how does one meet this ever-increasing demand for talent? A wise man once said – “The best way to predict the future is to create it" – and in 2012, that's precisely what Genpact set out to do.
Building ready-to-deploy talent
Let us take a look at the options we had. We could hire experienced talent from the market, and we did some of that. We could develop an in-house training institute which would equip new recruits with the necessary skills they needed to meet the demands of their jobs – and we did that as well. Additionally, however, we decided to partner with a network of institutes via academia tie-ups and collaborations, both in and outside India, with a view to bridging the gap that existed between talent and skill, and pre-loading potentially high-performance graduates with Genpact/industry-specific skills.
The creation of Data Scientists
Students from these partner universities are identified while they are still pursuing their Master's degrees, and they are mentored by Genpact's very talented SMEs through our On Campus Analytics and Research Programs. Each campus is chosen carefully to meet a specific vertical need, and students go through a series of rigorous training programs, employer sessions, guest lectures, workshops and internship opportunities, in addition to their regular courses. They also get up to 6 months of hands-on experience through an internship with Genpact, before they are actually placed in the organization. This has proved invaluable in helping them acclimatize themselves to Genpact's culture and working environment. It also helps the business evaluate their candidature in a real life environment, which eventually leads to better fits.
Reaching out across the globe
These collaborations are proving to be highly successful, and we are making sure they are happening across the globe, so that with each passing year our network of Data Scientists spans a wider, more far-reaching area. What this means is that wherever our clients are, anywhere in the world, they can avail of local experts with local know-how, to help them grow their businesses.
Today, just a few years down the line, our collaborations are proving instrumental in increasing opportunities for students to fast-track their careers. More than 1,500 students have already graduated from our academia tie-ups, and they are coming out into the world with both theoretical and practical work experience, as well as pre-loaded information on real-time data, projects and research papers.
Professors and professionals: The perfect collaboration
We have now identified three core competencies where we would like to train an even larger pool of students. These competencies have been identified on the basis of Genpact's blue-printing exercise. We are also setting up a Center of Excellence Lab, where professors and professionals can join hands to create an IP-sensitive platform for data-intensive research and experimentation. Students and faculty work together to turn ideas into actionable prototypes through a rapid, hackathon-style development, and the knowledge generated by them is then disseminated through copyrighted content such as case studies, and there is extensive brand-building through events, conferences, workshops and seminars.
We are truly excited about the future and about creating Data Scientists who are pre-loaded with data knowledge and expertise – and ready to meet the ever-changing needs of this industry. The good news is that other companies are doing this as well (some started years before we did and have done much more). I think this theme will continue to gain momentum and we will see much more interaction between companies and universities in this truly 'win-win' endeavor that helps companies compete in the market, universities to deliver on their promise to students, and students to achieve their dreams of better jobs/careers.