Indians have high skills in machine learning, Math but lack data skills: Report

Meanwhile, India shows evidence of evolving gender dynamics as women adopt online learning at one of the fastest paces globally. The share of overall Coursera course enrolments as well as in STEM courses from women learners in India saw an unprecedented increase. 

Despite high skills proficiency in areas like Machine Learning and Math, India trails in data skills, as per a report by online learning platform Coursera. India ranks 55 in business, at 66 in both technology and data science. In Asia, India is placed at 16, ahead of countries such as the Philippines and Thailand, however below others like Singapore and Japan.

As per Coursera’s Global Skills Report 2021, overall, India ranks 67th globally. Despite the increase in enrolments, India continues to witness a digital skills gap, the report reveals. The study draws on performance data since the pandemic’s onset from more than 77 million learners on the platform to benchmark skills proficiency across business, technology, and data science for over 100 countries.

A report by AWS estimates that digitally skilled workers represent only 12 per cent of India’s workforce, and the number of employees requiring digital skills is expected to increase nine-fold by 2025.

WEF and PwC reveal that national up skilling initiatives could unlock India’s potential to achieve a much faster pace of economic growth and improve employment rate. However, workforce displacement due to the subsequent waves of the pandemic is compounding the existing gap.

“The pace of skills transformation is slower than the pace of digital transformation in India, as is the case in several countries across the world. Learners must invest in both soft and technical skills to prepare for jobs of the future,” said Raghav Gupta, Managing Director – India and APAC, Coursera.

Cloud Computing is India’s strongest technology skill with 83 per cent proficiency. A report by Wheebox, ranks India among the top 9 nations for global public cloud services, with a growth rate higher than the global average.

As demand for data scientists outstrips supply worldwide, India is also grappling with a shortage of data science professionals. Coursera’s GSR 2021 indicates that Indians have 52 per cent proficiency in ML & 54 per cent in mathematical skills. However, there is significant room for improvement in data analysis and statistical programming, ranked only at 25 per cent and 15 per cent skills proficiency respectively.

Meanwhile, India shows evidence of evolving gender dynamics as women adopt online learning at one of the fastest paces globally. The share of overall Coursera course enrolments as well as in STEM courses from women learners in India saw an unprecedented increase. 

Based on the performance data of millions of learners on Coursera globally, the report also reveals the skills and time required to prepare for entry-level roles.

Recent graduates and mid-career changers can develop entry-level, digital job skills in as little as 35 to 70 hours (or 1-2 months with 10 learning hours per week). On the other hand, someone with no degree or technology experience can be job-ready in 80 to 240 hours (or 2-6 months with 10 learning hours per week).

The most transferable skills across all future jobs are in human skills like problem solving and communication, computer literacy, and career management.  

With 77 million learners, 6,000 institutions, and more than 5,000 courses from the world’s leading universities and industry educators, Coursera has one of the largest data sets for identifying and measuring skill trends. This year’s report is further enriched by the pandemic-driven trends, including 30 million new learners who joined the platform in 2020.

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