For every 100 data scientists needed, there are only 20 in India, a country where the analytics industry is slated to grow 60 times in 10 years, according to a research undertaken by McKinsey Global Institute. Gaurav Vohra and Sarita Digumarti took it upon themselves to complete this puzzle through Jigsaw Academy, a Bangalore-based online analytics training company, which was established in 2010.
Having spent nearly a decade in this field recruiting hundreds of analysts, the duo understood the gap between knowledge and skills required at work. “Even five years ago analytics was considered a specialized skill needed in a few people within the organization, but things have changed. Analytics is increasingly being seen as a mainstream skill, a must-have rather than a nice-to-have skill,” says Gaurav, who holds an MBA degree from Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore. “Most MBA colleges have recognized the need for business analytics skills in today’s managers. Some of the top institutes in the country have started one-year certificate programmes. And others are following suit. However, academia is 10 to 20 years behind the industry, in some cases even 50 years!”
For the founders, going online was pure chance. The first few people who contacted them for training happened to be in Mumbai, while the company was in Bangalore. “We decided to try virtual classrooms and it was a big hit. We never went back to physical training,” Gaurav says.
The academy offers programmes on the foundation of analytics, financial, retail, human resource, healthcare analytics, analytics with R (an open-source data analysis and statistics language) and data scientist certification, to individuals, working professionals, management graduates and corporate companies.
The foundation course (which costs $900) runs for 10 weeks and includes 120 hours of class and lab time. The other three courses (costing $450 each) run for five weeks with varying levels of class and lab time.
So how does Jigsaw deliver analytics training online? “Most of our instructors and content creators are analytics professionals who are building the curriculum based on the problems they are tackling at work. The training is full of real life case studies and participants get a chance to work on real industry data,” says Sarita, an alumnus of TA Pai Management Institute, Manipal.
The crux of delivery is the internet, software or both. “Our students are spread out across seven continents. Thanks to advancements in digital media, communication and bandwidth, Jigsaw Academy is able to deliver state-of-the-art virtual training, at a fraction of traditional cost. A class at Jigsaw Academy could have students from different continents and be taught by two instructors from different countries. An additional benefit of the virtual classroom is its ability to record all lectures so that students can view them at any time. Students never have to worry about missing a class,” Sarita quips.
According to a recent study by Analytics India Magazine, India accounts for just nine per cent of analytics professionals worldwide, signalling a huge potential for growth. “Analytics is a good fit for engineering or management graduates since it requires quantitative skills as well as an orientation to business concepts. Analytics is actually a high-value career option with immense growth potential, sometimes more than traditional career avenues like IT,” Gaurav says. “Currently analytics finds applications across diverse sectors like e-commerce, energy, telecom, and IT.”
Analytics is a quantitative field and one needs to be comfortable with numbers, if one is looking to build a career here, cautions Gaurav. “A quantitative aptitude and ability to think logically – these are the two main prerequisites for undergoing analytics training. Everything else, we teach from scratch.” Students from the US, UK, Australia, Singapore, Brazil, Peru, and Japan have taken up their courses.