Layoffs and hiring freezes in Indian IT are likely to continue in 2018, but it’s not as hopeless as it seems. Despite the sector laying off over 56,000 employees in 2017, there is still high demand for skills in new technologies. Because, after remaining “niche skills” for several years, jobs involving artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and big data have become mainstream of late.

This trend is going to gain momentum in 2018 when the industry is expected to add between 180,000 and 200,000 new jobs, mostly related to these new technologies, Alka Dhingra, the general manager of IT staffing at recruitment firm TeamLease Services, said. This includes both large services companies as well as startups. In the coming year, organisations will delve deeper into data to create a real-life impact, Karan Bajwa, managing director at IBM India, said.

“(The) Cloud platform, fused with disruptive technologies such as AI, blockchain, cognitive (intelligence), internet of things (IoT), data analytics, and security will become the backbone of businesses looking to scale up and stay relevant in the future.” Here’s a list of areas where job creation is expected in 2018: AI: From legacy services companies such as Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Infosys to India’s unicorns, nearly all Indian tech companies are going big on AI. It is essentially the technology that trains machines to learn from experience and perform human-like tasks.

For instance, the country’s largest IT services firm, TCS, has trained over 200,000 employees in AI and IoT. Young businesses are also aggressively chasing this technology.

Last month, India’s e-commerce poster boy, Flipkart, last month announced a new initiative called AI for India, under which it plans to leverage the data it has accumulated over the last decade to develop AI-driven solutions that could help its business. The company plans to invest “millions of dollars” in the initiative. Read more from qz.com…

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