India now has a league of extraordinary e-gurus

Vikash Kumar (name changed), a manager at Accenture, doubles up as trainer for a few hours every week, taking online classes on data analytics for technology professionals outside his company.

Having spent more than 12 years in the IT services industry, nearly half that in data analytics, Kumar is one of the sought-after online mentors, or e-gurus, at Great Learning.

Online training providers like Great Learning are witnessing a sharp rise in the number of experienced IT professionals who are willing to train others including freshers in new-age areas like data science and analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Mohan Lakhamraju, founder and chief executive at Great Learning, said there were probably a few thousand such trainers now on its own and a couple of other online training platforms, compared with around 500 a year ago.

These professionals, who work on emerging technologies at top IT companies, have helped fill a gap in the availability of faculty for training services providers.

“The number of highly qualified faculty in cutting-edge areas is very few. The pace of change is so fast … so there is a lag (in getting qualified trainers). So, we have started integrating industry practitioners to help the aspirants learn the new-age tech and get industry exposure,” said Lakhamraju.

Sanjeev Singh (name changed), a data analytics expert and trainer who works with a global insight agency in Bangalore, believes he is creating a “two-way street” — he is learning new technologies himself and then helping others learn. “Once I finished the programme in data science, I realised the need for guiding the other aspirants and share the industry experience.”

In fact, having employees working at IT companies as trainers add more value, as they Share their exposure to the real use of technology, said analysts. These industry professionals typically dedicate one hour to four hours a week, training people online in new-age technologies. Some of them spend as little as one hour a month.

The number of these type of trainers will grow, said Krishna Kumar, founder and CEO of Simplilearn, another provider of training services. “Currently there are a few thousand of them. Some progressive companies officially allow their employees to train others outside as it will make them perfect their learning.”

Tushar Sharma, founder of Pune-based Voksedigital Consultancy Services, which focuses on digital technology training, said one of the motivations for him was to get access to a pool of tech professionals apart from giving back to the community.

While Sharma independently teaches students of Great Learning, Voksedigital as a company provides training services to other companies.

“For professionals who have 5-10 years of experience, it is more about extra money; for people senior than them, it is more about sharing knowledge, making a difference,” said Lakhamraju of Great Learning.


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