Candidates With AI/ML Skills Are Much In Demand In the Industry

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It is a very common misconception that there are not many core electronics jobs in the top IT MNCs. Today with rising trends in electronics, automotive and IoT even the IT companies open many vacancies for electronics engineers. With Tech Mahindra being one such IT giant, Srinivas Rambabu – Head, Engineering Talent Acquisition & Special Initiatives, Tech Mahindra and Karthikeyan Natarajan – Global Head, Engineering, IoT & Industry 4.0, Tech Mahindra share their inputs on the hiring trends, Tech Mahindra jobs, skillsets, hiring process, steps to follow and internships at Tech Mahindra. Excerpts follow..

Q: What are the hiring trends with respect to technologies that you see in the Electronics industry today?

10 years ago, electronics content by value in an automobile was about 15 to 20 per cent. It is now more than 40 per cent. A number of electronic control units (ECUs) which was four to five, is now about 60 to 70 for an Autonomous car. The automotive industry is experiencing a rapid innovation & growth, examples being Autonomous cars, Electric Vehicles, and Connected Cars. Similarly, IoT space as well. It’s an amalgamation of Electronics, Communications & IT. Skillset in Embedded Electronics is key to all of these.

Product Engineers with capabilities/experience to handle both hardware & firmware, design and development are in demand. Automation is everything in current business trend and hence much of hiring projections are for candidates with additional skills like Python, ML, etc. ECU is an embedded system in automotive electronics that controls one or more of the electrical systems or subsystems in a vehicle.

Q: What is the key technology skill sets that are in demand in the industry today and especially for Tech Mahindra jobs?

Srinivas Rambabu, Head, Engineering Talent Acquisition & Special Initiatives, Tech Mahindra

Skills such as ADAS, AUTOSAR, CAN/UDS in Automotive Electronics domain are in great demand and are expected to increase exponentially in the years to come. One who enhances his/her profile with skills related to AI/ML will be the most sought-after in the industry. Embedded C/C++, Real-Time Operating Systems, Model-Based Development (Matlab and Simulink), Analog circuit, mixed circuit, and power electronics design and development are some of the must-have capabilities that employers are looking for, in the Embedded engineers of today.

Q: What is the trend in the hiring process you see in the electronics industry today?

  • The current trend is more towards upskilling & reskilling the employees in emerging niche technologies. The need for specialists & subject matter experts is more than usual.
  • Program managers / certified PMP candidates are also required to manage projects to meet schedule, quality & other customer commitments.
  • Traditional hiring through job portals, placement services, referrals, etc., is slowly but definitely giving way to hackathons, innovation challenges/workshops, etc., wherein the young aspirants get together to showcase their problem-solving skills to quench their thirst of innovation. Also, high volume demand for niche skills makes corporates to look at HTD (Hire-Train-Deploy) models with exclusive agreements signed with third party companies.
    Karthikeyan Natarajan – Global Head, Engineering, IoT & Industry 4.0, Tech Mahindra

Q: How would you advise an aspirant on the right steps to follow while applying for a job in the electronics sector and specifically for Tech Mahindra Jobs?

  • Play to strength should be the approach and build a T model on the capabilities. Go wide in the chosen domain, while going deep (gaining expertise) in a couple of chosen areas in that domain.
  • The aspirant has to be clear about the domain and the areas that interest him/her so that he/she could prosper in the career further. And they need to gain experience or upskill themselves before applying to the organizations in those chosen domains. This approach will certainly help any aspirant for a long and successful career.

Q: IoT is considered an amalgamation of electronics, datacom and IT. Out of these three– which one is going to be the main Achilles heel for the IoT sector, in terms of the ready availability of good talent pool.

While all the three are important skills for IoT, Electronics (Control systems) is the mainstay & foundation for this domain. AI, Analytics and Machine learning with appropriate domain knowledge is a key element for IoT and in demand now. In addition, the IoT platform, embedded software for gateway and edge analytics skills are more critical and need of the hour.

Q: What steps can academic institutions take to bridge the industry-academia gap for the electronics sector?

  • There is a huge gap in India with respect to Academia & Industry. It is high time, we start focusing on seamless and real-time requirements flowing from Industries to Academia. At Tech Mahindra, we have initiated discussions with Institutions on specific areas such as Automotive Electronics, IoT, Cloud, and Security.
  • Industry-specific curriculum and specialisation in two or three areas in a domain and going deep into it. These will help the young talent get connected much faster with teams/products soon after they are deployed into the projects.

Q: Is ‘quality talent’ a challenge that embedded and IoT players are going to face in India?

Quality of talent for system integration & architecting is today’s challenge and will be a challenge in the future as well, especially in the areas of IoT architecture, system integration, data analytics, and data modeling, Automation.

Q: What would be your advice to professionals working in electronics, IT sector or even pure embedded sector and eyeing a role in the IoT space? Should they prepare themselves for making a switch? How?

Upskilling or reskilling is the mantra. We are seeing the convergence of Electronics, communications & IT. Hence, the industry demands candidates to understand the overall project targets, while they focus on their key assignment in their specialised areas. Addition of IoT-related skills is mandatory. Every role, be it embedded, IT and electronics have enhancement requirements for IoT.

Q: What would be your advice to the academia–how should they reinvent their curriculum to create techies suitable for the IoT industry?

  • Academia should invest in labs & pilot projects. They need to explore working with industries for a paid internship from 5th / 6th semester onwards.
  • Training based on System Engineering with LIVE product design and development will enhance students’ capabilities. Academia should collaborate closely with the industry in designing the curriculum from the first year of their engineering education to enhance their technical skills and become a future-ready workforce.
  • They need to have specific courses to ensure techies go deep in chosen segments of IoT such as Products (Sensor, Edge Analytics, etc.,), Communications (Cloud, Data acquisition, etc), Consumer segment (UI, Data Analytics, etc.,)

Q: What are the type of roles for which you’re planning to hire? Can you share a brief idea about what these roles entail?

We are looking at talent for all roles right from developers, architects & testers for Automotive electronics & IoT. We are also going to hire for the roles of program managers and business analysts.

Q: Do you have a formal Internship program to train freshers for the industry? If yes, can you share how’s it designed to actually make them industry-ready?

We do consider interns working on live projects, based on the type of projects from the customer and if the relevant conditions are met. We connect with the Institutes (with whom we signed the MoU) on the available positions and the shortlisted candidates as provided by the institutes would be evaluated for basic and relevant knowledge before releasing the offer. We also look at the interests, skillsets & capabilities of the interns before on-boarding them for the projects that would be of 2-3 month duration.

Q: Can any student apply for your internship program? If yes, how? If not, how do you select your interns?

Currently, we do not accept internship applications from students at large. It is more of matching specific project requirements with few students from institutes that we work with, who meet project-specific pre-requisites.

Q: Do you hire only from top Tier 1 college, or even Tier 2 and Tier 3 college is fine for Tech Mahindra jobs?

We hire from Tier 1 colleges and we consider Tier2 institutes based on the requirements.

Q: Could you brief about the hiring process at Tech Mahindra? Any unique hiring practice followed for Tech Mahindra jobs –to get the right candidates?

We have piloted AI-based a tool to help reduce 30 per cent of recruiter bandwidth along with a 90 per cent match of profiles with the job description. We are targeting to go live in the next 6 months. We have also successfully implemented Hire-Train-Deploy (HTD) model for a few volume requirements of niche skills. Employee referral or Buddy referral as we call within Tech Mahindra is largely a successful avenue to attract talent since existing employees can impress upon the projects, brand and TechMahindra culture to their friends.

Q: Over your decades of years of experience in the industry, what are the key mistakes that you have seen made by the candidates? What would your advice be to them?

  • Candidates usually are not strong in their fundamentals; technically and Candidates are not clear about their career path. What do they need in the next 5-10 years?
  • Freshers can explore working in the manufacturing/product (OEM) industry for the initial part of their career to get a 360-degree view of the entire product development process.
  • Usually, candidates know few tools & some skills but largely are ignorant about current market trends in their domain / latest happenings.
  • Reskilling / Upskilling is a continuous activity that needs to happen throughout their career.
  • Frequent job-hopping affects long-term career growth. If someone has to choose leadership roles/skills in his/her career, they need to spend sufficient time with one organization to understand the challenges and how to effectively overcome them with the skills that they should acquire.
  • Should have demonstrated a strong sense of accomplishments.
  • Ability and attitude to learning is something we look for.
  • We look for straits to overcome challenges/problem-solving skills.

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