India is riding a wave of innovation, which relies heavily on a digital workforce equipped to meet the rising demand for cloud computing. The region’s prosperity requires a strong digital workforce and tech professionals with relevant and current digital skills to keep up with the pace of change. An Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS) commissioned research report from AlphaBeta titled Building Digital Skills for the Changing Workforce found that by 2025, 63% of workers in India will feel the need for training in cloud-related skills to progress in their careers; and three of the top five most demanded digital skills by 2025 will be cloud-related.
To meet the rising demand for digitally skilled workers, India’s current workforce needs to evolve. Today, AWS announced it reached a milestone in its drive to address the technology talent gap by providing cloud skills training to over two million individuals in India since 2017.
“I’m proud that AWS has provided cloud skills training to over two million people in India, and we acknowledge that much more work must be done as we continue to build a better digital future in India,” said Phil Davis, Managing Director of Asia Pacific and Japan Commercial Sales at AWS. “To build a diverse and ready workforce, governments, training providers, and employers must work together to provide more accessible and targeted skills training. Our goal is to help people—from beginners to seasoned IT professionals—gain new cloud computing skills, and we are committed to collaborating with the industry and governments to help bridge the digital skills gap.”
Addressing the Skills Gap Through Extensive Training Programs
AWS collaborates with higher education institutions, nonprofits, workforce development organizations, governments, and employers on a range of digital upskilling programs aimed at preparing the next generation of cloud professionals for early cloud careers and building a diverse pipeline of entry-level talent for the workforce.
In India, this includes programs like AWS re/Start, which is a free, 12-week, full-time, skill-development program that prepares unemployed, underemployed, and transitioning individuals for careers in cloud computing. The program is part of AWS’s global commitment to invest hundreds of millions of dollars globally to provide free cloud computing skills training to 29 million people. In April this year, AWS, IPE Global, and AISECT collaborated to launch two re/Start cohorts specifically targeted toward women in Rajasthan. The program focuses on connecting graduates with local employers, including AWS Partner Capgemini, a global leader in consulting, digital transformation, technology, and engineering services, who is actively hiring re/Start program graduates into entry-level cloud roles.
These programs are helping to shape our future workforce and build a pipeline of digital workers that would previously have not joined the industry. When the pandemic hit, Rashmi Sharma found her events industry job was uncertain. Despite having no prior IT background, she decided to explore a career in IT. “The COVID-19 pandemic pushed me to reevaluate my career,” said Sharma. “I decided to pursue an IT job. AWS re/Start was the only program I found that was designed for individuals like myself with no formal education or work experience in the IT industry, but with a high drive to pivot into the sector. With the help of my mentor, who patiently guided me and others through the 12 weeks, I delved into coding and cloud computing. I’m now a trainee engineer at Wissen Infotech, and I’m looking to continue upskilling through other AWS Cloud training programs.”
Taking an industry-wide approach to upskilling
In addition to training individual workers, AWS helps customers, partners, and organizations of all sizes in India build the cloud skills they need to accelerate innovation and achieve business goals. For example, Perfios, a leading provider of financial statement analysis software in India, has been on a rapid growth trajectory since its founding in 2008. To drive faster development, Perfios wanted to close gaps in their developers’ AWS knowledge. AWS designed a customized learning plan that led 500 Perfios employees (about 60% of their workforce) through a series of 11 technology tracks, consisting of 25 training sessions on topics including technology essentials, DevOps, containers, big data, and architecture. This upskilling initiative helped Perfios cut development time for new products by more than 50%, improve platform reliability by 40–50%, reduce maintenance time by 40–50%, and support global business growth.
“We had to train our developers on serverless technologies, DevOps, and managed services to build the expertise we needed,” said Ramgopal Cillanki, Senior Vice President and Head of Engineering at Perfios. “We would occasionally face system downtimes because we weren’t adept in scaling and managing instances. Because of our upskilling in AWS serverless and AWS Managed Services, we reduced our maintenance time by 40–50% and lessened the impact on our customers.”
Investment in training is also crucial for AWS Partners; a skilled workforce empowers teams to support customers with confidence and credibility. For example, at the beginning of 2021, TCS setup a dedicated AWS Business Unit with the objective of building capability and capacity at scale to ensure joint customer success with AWS.
Aditya Jaigopal Nagarajan, Global Head – Strategic Initiatives and Operations, AWS Business Unit, TCS, said, “At TCS, leaders embrace a dual responsibility to nurture new talent and also to transform existing talent towards achieving the above goal. In partnership with AWS, the TCS-AWSBU talent development fabric not only focusses on the Technology Quotient but also helps build well-rounded professionals by grooming them in key areas such as Industry-specific program management techniques, capability orchestration, partnership behaviors, crisis management etc. This helps our associates drive the business-transformative value to our clients, powered by cloud technologies and set the right tone of inspiration for future generations in TCS.”
Debjani Ghosh, President of NASSCOM, emphasized the need for technology skilling at scale, “Skilling at scale must be a national priority and become India’s competitive edge to enable the country grow as the global powerhouse for developing technological talent. Strong collaboration among government, corporates, and industry associations is the need of the hour to enable the talent pool in India develop competence in emerging technologies that will shape India’s ‘Techade’ (technology driven decade) across domains. NASSCOM and AWS through FutureSkills Prime are committed to further accelerating this growth and making India the global hub for high skilled digital talent.”
Building a diverse, technologically enabled workforce
According to the Building Digital Skills for the Changing Workforce report, one way to help bridge the digital skills gap is to build a more diverse technologically enabled workforce. For instance, 73% of women workers who currently do not do any training indicated an interest in training within the next year. In addition, 62% of women reported that their top motivations to undertake digital skills training are the desire to improve their work productivity and increase their salary. Among women who received training, 94% improved their productivity at work and 91% experienced a salary increase upon undertaking digital skills training, which was higher than the 92% and 86% respectively for men.
Collaboration will drive our digital economy forward
To achieve our innovation goals and upskill our workforce, we need commitments from governments, employers, and workers to develop a culture of lifelong learning. There is immense untapped potential for those in the non-tech workforce to develop their digital skills and, along with their current experience and skills, create transformative advancements in our communities and society.