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How Software and IT Jobs are disappearing in favour of AI and what is going to fill that vacuum

For years, science fiction has warned us of a future where we devise our own obsolescence.
Are we living that reality?

A one-minute search on Google will show headlines in debate among themselves.

“AI is taking over the job market”

“AI won’t replace humans”

“AI is coming for developers”So, will AI take your job?Yes, and this is not the first time technology has advanced to risk human jobs.

Let’s turn back the clock just a few years, to the now IT fossils we called “webmasters” who almost exclusively worked on HTML. The rise of the Content Management System (CMS) saw these high-paying roles vanish in favour of junior roles that barely survived the exodus to marketing roles. Companies simply don’t hire a senior-level person to do that work anymore.

AI and automation will wipe out a far more significant number of jobs. Millions of people worldwide will have to switch jobs, upgrade, or learn new skills.

A McKinsey Report estimated that AI could replace 400 million – 15 percent of the entire global workforce! In India, unemployment statistics are coming out from all corners of the nation; students from premier engineering institutions are unable to secure placements.

Demand for IT jobs related to data collection and data processing will continue to fall as will all work in structured, predictable environments.

This is a major chunk of all work that people do across most sectors and economies. In short, technology will continue to make jobs vanish, and they may never come back.

The problem is even more complex in emerging economies such as India, with a young population and a challenging need to provide to millions at the cusp of entering the workforce.

The jobs lost would be mitigated by the jobs gained
Technology development and deployment will continue unabated. Other demands and drivers of work – infrastructure creation and maintenance, healthcare, green energy and energy transition, and other deep tech domains – will continue with more than 800 million new jobs adding 21 to 33 percent of the global workforce.

While AI can crunch data and identify patterns, it lacks the spark we call imagination. Think of India’s vibrant startup ecosystem – there are over 3,000 deep tech startups in India today, and Nasscom predicts we will surpass 10,000 by 2030. While AI is an integral part of deep tech, the roles need complex problems to be solved and non-routine problems that simply cannot be automated. What these problems need is creativity and ingenuity.

The Future of Work and What skills are needed?
Our youth will need different skills to thrive in the workforce of the future. Along with advanced technical skills, there will be an increased demand for social and emotional skills such as communication and empathy and higher-order cognitive skills such as critical thinking, creativity, problem-solving with complex information processing, and decision-making.

Our education system, however, is not geared towards developing these skill sets. The foundation of deep tech roles lies in tangible engineering. What we need is a shift away from an overly theoretical curriculum to an educational model that promotes curiosity, experimentation, and hands-on learning.

It’s about transforming classrooms into collaborative spaces where students form interdisciplinary connections and test concepts, build prototypes, and solve real-life problems.

This approach not only equips students with technical skills but also enhances their cognitive skills, preparing them for a seamless transition from classrooms to careers.

Key Takeaway
Our government needs to prioritise greater (not lesser) spending on education. It needs to proactively identify areas of future skill shortages and then take steps to mitigate them.

Our educational institutions need to emerge out of hibernation and switch to more experiential learning modes.

Our youth need to stop blindly following the latest tech trends and invest in building skills that will withstand the test of time.

Knowledge of software is no longer enough. Students need to combine that with hardware knowledge and domain expertise in up-and-coming industry interest areas. Additionally, investing in developing cognitive as well as communication skills is what will help them adapt and thrive in workplaces of the future.

AI can optimise and automate, but the spark of creativity, the leap of intuition, and the courage to explore the unknown come from the human spirit. It’s about nurturing a generation of makers – master innovators, real problem solvers, confident builders, and ethical leaders – who can harness the power of technology to convert the pressing challenges of our times into opportunities and emerge as winners.

Damyanti Bhattacharya is CEO of Maker Bhavan Foundation

Originally Appeared Here

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