Upgrad: Freshers and students log on to upskill


Upskilling is no longer restricted to just mid- and senior-level professionals who want to keep themselves relevant in their job. Freshers and college students are now taking to digital learning platforms, which helps them gain an edge over peers and clinch that dream job.

Edtech companies like upGrad and Great Learning are now introducing courses for students that cost as low as 10% of the original versions. Students enrol on the platforms directly or through the colleges.

With courses available in latest and relevant tech like data science and machine learning, these platforms offer tie-ups and certifications from reputed universities such as IIIT-B or even global ones like University of Texas and, hence, find takers quickly.

“There was a lot of hands-on learning and, for someone like me who is completely new to programming, it was a kick-start to learn all the new tools, especially Python (a programming language). After a bit of practice, I got the hang of it,” said Soumya Sundararaman from Bengaluru, now a trainee decision scientist at Mu Sigma. She was a mathematics graduate.

“If you check when the current curriculum was last updated, chances are that the syllabus is outdated. With our courses in data sciences and other new-age tech, we see an uptick from students. We have specific courses for students and have tied up with universities such as Lovely Professional University to enrol their students. Some of our learners also enrol individually,” said upGrad co-founder Mayank Kumar.

In terms of customer base, digital learning platforms have seen a doubling in headcount in the last 8-12 months. Simplilearn saw more than doubling of learners (106% growth to be precise) for the data science and AI courses alone. Its co-founder and chief business officer Kashyap Dalal said, “In campus placements, if the normal pay package is Rs 3-4 lakh, those equipped with focused knowledge on programming languages earn Rs 6-7 lakh. In other words, they command a talent premium.”

Catering to the limited time in hand, courses are designed such that they are shorter and more intensive, getting wrapped up in under six months. “We have partnered with banks who offer EMI options and the courses are also as short as five months, so that these students can get placed at the earliest,” said Great Learning co-founder Hari Krishnan Nair.


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