Upskilling in the Times of Layoffs: What’s Your Best Bet?

Let’s roll back to ten years ago. This is what an average career path looked like – get a bachelor’s degree > get a masters’ degree > start your career. Then it came down to getting a bachelor’s degree > work for a few years > get a masters’ degree > get paid more.

Eventually, as the cost of a masters educations (MS, M.Tech, MBA etc.) went up, the sheen and aura around having to get a masters’ degree for a successful career came down. While there were still people who wanted to pursue a higher education, the overwhelming costs associated with it proved to be a great deterrent. In India for example, getting an MBA degree would mean spending 2 years and about 15 lac rupees. People going for an M. Tech/M.Com/M.Sc degree would spend a considerable amount of money too. Pursuing a MS from anywhere outside the country is a different ball game altogether!

There was a need for many people to learn new skills and techniques but the affordability factor always kicked in. This is where certificate programs by leading institutes found a niche space. Many programs emerged by Indian universities and private training institutes alike that provided unique and focused programs to people wanting to learn a specific skill set – be it management, analytics, coding, design or anything else.

Few of these programs came in partnership with renowned and top ranked Indian and foreign universities alike, giving the learner the best of both worlds. These programs were relatively affordable, could be completed in the online mode, and offered very targeted and hands-on learning. One such program is the Postgraduate Program in Data Science & Machine Learning (PGPDM), a specialized program offered by Jigsaw Academy, University of Chicago Graham School, and IBM.

The program focuses on leading and future ready technologies – data science, machine learning, deep learning, and artificial intelligence. These are the skills that are highly sought after and are being considered THE skills to learn. The future of technology is data driven and automation oriented.

Programs like these are the perfect upskilling tools for technology professionals looking to get out of that rut and build a career in new and exciting fields and roles. Mrigank Sharma, a Senior System Engineer at IBM completely agrees with this. He enrolled for the very first batch of PGPDM and couldn’t be happier about it. He says,

“When I learnt about the program being offered in Bangalore, my current city of residence, I realized it was great chance for me to get foreign quality education at an affordable price.  Learning Data Science and Machine Learning skills adds immensely to my profile. Seeing how Machine Learning is definitely a huge thing in the coming years, I say I made the right choice to stay ahead of the competition.”

There are many people like Mrigank who need a well-rounded international level program that doesn’t burn a huge hole in their pocket. It is not to say such programs are an easy way out – the PGPDM is a 10-month program offered in a blended mode. It involves plenty of hands-on learning and training on practical aspects and requires utmost dedication.

“I struggled in the beginning due to the change of frame of mind from work to studying. I also had trouble with studying in the mythology of the professor from University of Chicago, which was more towards application than the way they teach in India. But eventually I got comfortable with what I was learning and I can’t wait to show off my skills now!”, adds Mrigank.

An M.Tech or MBA no longer holds the charm for an Indian technology professional. They are cumbersome, cost too much, and sometimes not suitable for everyone. Specialized certificate programs give people the opportunity to learn specifically learn what they want and do away with the clutter.

Programs like the PGPDM are value for money, expose a student to international standards of learning while not having to spend as much on a foreign education, and give the option to continue with their careers while they work on upskilling themselves. If that is not a real benefit, then we don’t know what is.

If analytics is on your horizon and being future ready your goal, head to Postgraduate Program in Data Science & Machine Learning (PGPDM) – the only program of its kind and curriculum in India.

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