Artificial intelligence (AI) has become an industry buzzword as companies across sectors are rushing to adopt them to get an edge over others. However, they are struggling to find skilled professionals to fill the job vacancies.

According to a joint survey by ed-tech platform Great Learning and online data science ecosystem Analytics Vidhya, at least 50,000 positions—twice the number of professionals available—in data science and machine learning are lying vacant due to a shortage of skilled and qualified talent.

Over 28, 000 participants, across 3,000 Indian companies, participated in the survey.

“With more and more jobs increasingly becoming data driven, the need of the hour for professionals is to upskill themselves to stay relevant,” said Hari Krishnan Nair, co-founder, Great Learning. “Over the past year, we have seen heightened interest from companies across IT, BFSI [banking, financial services and insurance] and telecom for professionals in data science.”

BFSI companies have created 44% of analytics and data science jobs in 2017, followed by 12% each by e-commerce companies and the healthcare sector, the report said. Energy (8%); telecom (6%); media (6%) and retail, automobile and travel also contributed to demand for talent in this space.

Opportunities in non-traditional sectors like aviation, cybersecurity, agriculture, healthcare, and driverless transportation are set to soar by 2020, according to the study.

The study, quoting a Gartner report, says that of the one million registered companies in India, 75% have invested or are going to invest in machine learning and data science.

Companies are looking for talent with expertise in cloud, big data analytics, and machine learning (ML) to fill the vacant positions.

“While the highest number of job searches is observed in SQL (structured query language), Python is the fastest growing, owing to the greater support of machine learning libraries. On the other hand, jobs in SAS have declined recently. Data scientist, data analyst, data architect, data statistician, ML engineer, ML specialist, technical architect, data engineer are some of the most popular roles available,” the report said.

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