Making India an IT Superpower

We can do it!

India has come a long way from the days it was considered a land of snake charmers and oriental bric a brac! Today, the images that are getting conjured up in the minds of global citizens have more to do with hi-tech software development facilities, cutting-edge R&D centers and 24x7x365, constantly humming, offshore outsourcing environments that represent a giant, ever-expanding IT hub.

Even a chatty, New York cabbie will tell you that the software programmers that Silicon Valley is reputed for are from a techno-Shangri-la called India. Without a doubt, India has arrived on the global map and it's been all thanks to the country's two-decade old, relatively young but vibrant IT industry.

Clearly, the nexus between India and IT is getting stronger with each passing day. For a country that lagged behind in the industrial revolution, this rapid catching of the technology bus has been nothing short of a miracle. Riding high on the global IT wave, India has not only managed to keep pace with the rest of the developed world, it has even moved ahead in the hotly competitive technology race.

India is now a well-recognized face on the world IT firmament. It is a country that is being increasingly identified with high-quality IT products, services and processes as well as a wealth of skilled manpower that ranks among the best in the world. India's vast pool of trained computer professionals is fuelling the growth of the fast-paced IT sector in the country.

By the looks of it, there's no stopping the Indian IT juggernaut!

India as IT Superpower?
It is no longer a question of whether India has arrived in the world-wide IT marketplace, but about whether the country can assume the leadership position in this segment. Whether it can emerge as the Superpower in the global IT arena, ahead of the more experienced, mature competitors such as the USA, UK, Australia and other hot-blooded young turks such as China, the Philippines, Malaysia, Ireland and the Latin American bunch.

The answer to the question might lie in the countless studies conducted by Indian and global IT industry associations, in the projections set forth by well known business intelligence majors and global consultancy firms and in the faith vested by the Indian Government in this burgeoning sector. That the Indian IT industry is set to achieve higher goals and cross more momentous milestones appears to be the viewpoint binding these disparate think tanks. Crystal ball gazing related to the IT industry is marked by positivism. Current day oracles are gung ho about the future fortunes and prospects of India's most sizzling industry and certain it is meant for bigger things.

India's IT software and services exports alone are estimated to cross an ambitious US$ 50 billion by 2008 (the NASSCOM-McKinsey 2003 Report).

India's existing fact sheet on the IT sector also indicates a rosy picture for the industry. Here's what the Indian IT segment has going for it:

India's IT manpower forms the crucial link
While the above mentioned factors are all contributing towards enhancing India's chances of achieving world-wide IT supremacy, it is the manpower factor that will finally determine the country's ascendancy to the Number One slot within this global segment.

It will finally be the contribution made by India's young IT talent that will tip the global scales in the country's favour and establish it as a "superpower" in the market. However, it will not be IT skills alone, but rather "relevant, industry-oriented IT skills" that will enable the Indian IT sector engine to gather steam. What this means is that the youth of the country have not only to turn to IT as a meaningful and preferred career destination, they also have to focus on building the correct skill sets through appropriate training.

Countries like Taiwan, that managed to achieve leadership in the IT hardware design and production segment, offer us interesting insights on the role education can play in achieving global success. The Taiwanese model of higher education was virtually focused on "mass-creating" electronic engineers-manpower that was ably harnessed by the nation's export-centric semiconductor, personal computer and smart devices industries.

India too needs to take such a focused approach to manpower building for the IT sector. Both the formal and non-formal educational institutions have to work collaboratively to meet the broader IT manpower goals and create curriculum and IT training programs that are in tune with the requirements of the industry.

Tips for Young India
Young India, meanwhile, has to opt for IT training that comes from the premier IT education schools-training that is high quality, reliable, cutting edge and complete. Such training will not only equip students to participate in the job-rich, IT and non-IT sectors, it will also allow existing IT professionals to reskill themselves with more up-to-date technology knowledge.

Leading training institutions such as NIIT, Asia's Number One IT/ITES education tiger, are working in close partnership with Indian software industry players to create and provide specific skills and relevant, hands-on IT abilities.

The Indian IT training pioneer has developed an awesome mix of IT training programs targeted at almost every kind of learner. From school children entering the IT world, to students wanting to build a career in IT, to professionals learning new skills-NIIT has something for everyone.

Of particular importance to India and Indian students, is NIIT's flagship IT career program, GNIIT. Recently refined and refurbished, the program is bringing additional specializations within the IT domain, creating manpower that possesses very specific, high-level IT expertise. GNIIT helps create industry-ready professionals through its one-of-a-kind, 12-month Professional Practice that places students in a live, enterprise environment. It's no surprise then that India's CIOs and IT HR heads prefer to recruit GNIITians (Dataquest HR survey 2001-03).

With manpower continuing to remain the key input in India's global IT success formula, the entire country-students, the IT industry, the formal and non-formal computer training institutions-has to gear up and work towards attaining the targeted landmarks.

The lesson in this for Young India is to go out there and Just Do It! With Gen Next by its side, India can live its dream of becoming a global IT superpower. By all accounts, we can certainly do it!

Statistically Speaking

The statistics, put forth by business intelligence firms, merchant bankers and leading IT industry associations such as NASSCOM, McKinsey & Co., Goldman Sachs, among others, seem to point to a robust, high growth Indian IT industry in the future. Can India make it to IT Superpower status?