That artificial intelligence, machine learning and automation is irreversibly changing the workplace is no news. Coupled with that reports of retrenchments and caps on hirings are now sending shivers down the spines of IT employees.

“The threat is real, and because of this perception, there is a huge interest among senior employees in the industry to take to courses in AI/ML,” said PJ Narayanan, Director of International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT-Hyderabad).

This is evident from an analysis the institute did of the profiles of the applicants who sought to join an AI/ML course started by IIIT-H in association with human resources skilling firm TalentSprint.

About 2,000 employees with varied experience levels had submitted applications for the course on ‘.Foundations of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning’.

Major shift

The report — Demand for Expertise in Disruptive Technologies among Technology Professionals — reveals that about 73 per cent of the applicants work for IT services companies.

“This suggests that disruptive technologies such as AI/ ML are possibly already starting to impact these companies,” said Santanu Paul, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, TalentSprint.

“Professionals with more than five years’ experience in the industry are keen to upgrade themselves. The interest is more from employees in the age group of 26-35 and with 10-15 years of experience, indicating the demands for such skills at that level,” he said.

Of the 2,000 applicants, as many as 400 were selected for two batches of 200 students each. The course is designed in line with the requirements and availability of time of working professionals.

With a view to encouraging women and young professionals, IIIT-H is offering a discount in fee for them.

Gender gap

“Women constituted only 12 per cent of the applicants, far lower than their representation (25 per cent) in the IT industry. We would like more women to take to such deep technologies,” said K Sridhar, Chief Digital Officer of TalentSprint.

The institute is targeting to train 1,000 IT employees in AI/ML in 2018.