Experts point us to five thriving fields to help you plan a successful career.
Growing up, 35-year-old Gaurav Mehta spent many hours playing the sci-fi games Half-Life and Starcraft. "Wasting your time again?" his dad would often remark. In 2005, Mehta went on to pursue his master's degree in mobile computer systems in the UK. While studying everything from communication networking to artificial intelligence (AI), he was struck by the true potential of the gaming industry. "Talking to game designers and doing some research, I realized I could turn it into a career," he says. Back in India, he worked variously as network game programmer, game developer and producer with international companies like EA and Ubisoft.
Today, over 10 years later, Mehta has moved to a start-up to create mobile games, currently a hugely exciting space. "Too many people didn't take me seriously and knocked my choice. It was difficult to explain to them that you could build a brilliant career in gaming, with the right moves," he says. With India tipped as a 'gaming hub' -- a KPMG-FICCI media and entertainment industry report last year projected a 13.8 per cent growth annually -- Mehta's well-wishers now admit he was smart, and ahead of his time.
At a time when the battle for jobs between human and AI is almost real, Mehta is amongst a smart band of young Indians whose career seems future-proof (see box).
Most of them have managed to successfully ride the disruptive wave that is redefining India's job market. "The green shoots of tomorrow's jobs are visible today. It's important to start sensing them," says Narayanan Ramaswamy, partner and head, education, KPMG. 'Spot the shoots and adapt quickly,' says the writing on the wall. "The future of jobs is not as threatening as some think, but ignore [the trends] at your own peril," he adds.
Recently, a McKinsey & Company report noted that a substantial number of jobs in IT services will become "irrelevant" over the next few years. Industry leaders believe the solution lies in reskilling people, while leveraging their experience.
Today's job arena rewards not just the agile, but also those open to experimentation and lateral shifts. It is a turbulent space where occupations are being transformed, new skills being birthed and careers destroyed and rebuilt. Even the concept of the workspace is transforming: As the World Economic Forum's The Future of Jobs 2016 report puts it, remote working, co-working space and teleconferencing are driving the change. "We are on the cusp of the fourth industrial revolution," adds the report.
Reader's Digest spoke to experts to bring you solid clues, to help plan a better future. Here, some jobs likely to be trending in India up ahead.
Big Data & Analytics
Perceived amongst the top jobs, big data impacts a variety of industries -- IT, healthcare, retail, marketing, finance and travel. A 2016 NASSCOM report states, analytics revenue is estimated to grow eight times by 2025. We will witness the emergence of new job roles, driven by big data and analytics and critical to businesses. Specializations in cloud computing and AI will be crucial.
Jobs: A variety of roles, such as data-mining engineer, data architect, data scientist, among others.
How to prep: Most B-schools and management institutes have post-graduate (PG) courses in business analytics and big data. Courses may change, depending upon your specialization. You can apply if you have degrees in one of these: statistics, mathematics, business administration or communication, social sciences or computer science.
Cyber Security & Forensics
Last year, banks had to reissue three million debit cards and faced losses of Rs 133.78 million in all, after hackers broke into their systems. Increased digitization necessitates heightened security. A NASSCOM study from 2015 expects this market to grow twice over by 2020, with data and cloud access security, and identity and access management as key segments. While there are enough jobs available, there's a distinct dearth of talent. According to a 2016 CISCO report, there are over a million vacant cybersecurity positions worldwide. Another estimate predicts a shortfall of 1.5 million professionals globally by 2019.
Jobs: Careers in cyber forensics, cyber law, information security, web security and ethical hacking.
How to prep: There are full-time M.Tech courses and certification courses available.
Media Innovation & Communication Design
According to KPMG-FICCI's media and entertainment industry report, technology has been the key disrupter in this field. However, there will be continued growth in television, films and radio, with print growing in regional markets. Sports will remain popular, with non-cricket leagues booming. In films, storytelling will be the main driver, with VFX, animation and even virtual reality accelerating growth. Creativity will be key, with careers in design and writing still relevant. Richa Saklani, managing director, Stoodnt Inc., says, careers in films and videos are being reborn. "You don't need to be in Bollywood," she says, thanks to streaming platforms, YouTube and other technological opportunities. The face of design-product, industrial, fashion-is being transformed as well.
Digital and social marketing has seen an upswing too. Says Shivani Manchanda, counselling coordinator, IIT Bombay, "Social media has given birth to new-age careers and encouraged the traditional professions to integrate technology. Overnight, every career has had to attach the prefix 'e' to their name."
Jobs: Careers include: game developer, animator, professional VFX artist, graphic designer, script-writer, digital media and social media manager.
How to prep: Institutes offer training in visual effects, cinematics, animation, game development, digital marketing, and media studies and management.
Mentoring & Training
With longer lifespans and retirement age pushed way beyond 60, it is even more critical to continuously enhance one's skills and knowledge. Asks Ramaswamy, "If our learning stops at 20, how will we be eligible for a job, 40 or 50 years since we last studied?" Career columnist and counsellor Pervin Malhotra agrees there is now a greater need to retrain people already in the workforce and a demand for mentors who can design these teaching modules. Hence, corporate training and management development courses (language, leadership development, business communication and etiquette) will be essential. The e-learning space is also expanding with great speed and the talent to feed its demands will be necessary.
Jobs: Explore options in educational management and planning, special or elementary education counselling, or creating material for e-learning.
How to prep: Most universities offer under- and post-graduate courses in this field.
... And, the Human Touch
AI can never replace people. Humans use reasoning, empathy, communication and analysis. In other words, thinkers, policy makers, lawyers, aid and humanitarian workers and social entrepreneurs will stay relevant. Whether it is empowering those in need or simply giving back to society, the social sector will remain a fulfilling one with burgeoning demands for the right minds. It will be just as important to retain change agents, as it will be to provide solutions to communities.
Jobs: Global humanitarian organizations, legal aid, social entrepreneurship, non-profits and corporate social responsibility (CSR) wings of corporates.
How to prep: There are many institutes that offer PG courses in social work and CSR, such as Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai and Delhi School of Social Work.
FUTURE-PROOF YOUR CAREER
Keep Your Eyes Peeled: Spot hot trends and learn to recognize the demands of the market. Acquire training accordingly.
Be Agile: Because the job market is so volatile, be prepared to change your career at least three to five times in your work life.
Be a Lifelong Learner: Access formal and informal learning as and when you need it. Be prepared to relearn and remember to stay on top of changing technologies.
Step Out of Your Comfort Zone: You will encounter new ideas and thought processes. Stay confident and be open to experimentation and lateral shifts.
Develop Soft Skills: Building your EQ, creative thinking and people skills are just as important as honing your talent. Be resilient, learn to deal with failure, while learning from them. Focus on conflict resolutions and manage frustrations.