Aakash Iyer, 24, a denizen of Chennai, graduated in programming from a city engineering college in 2018 and then joined a food startup as an entry-level software developer. In just two years, Iyer’s salary surged 58 percent to Rs 13.5 lakh per annum and he has switched to a Mumbai-based insurance broker as a technical lead.
“My cousins and even other schoolmates are earning a much lower salary than me. I believe this is only because of my education background and work experience,” said Iyer.
Coders are now in demand across sectors amidst the rising need for programmers and developers in non-IT sectors. This is on the back of the rising digital-first focus of companies across India Inc. Till mid-2019 it was mostly IT and e-commerce companies that were hiring for these roles.
Hiring consultants told Moneycontrol that in the last three years there has been a 45 percent increase in the number of jobs available in the coding category in India. Average compensation has also moved up from Rs 8 lakh in 2017 to Rs 10 lakh in 2020.
Krishna Kumar, Founder and CEO, Simplilearn, said that with businesses across sectors taking to digital and tech-based modes of operations, there is a natural increase in demand for coders. “Additionally, the pandemic has also created an unprecedented shift towards all things digital. The digital job market is growing at a swift pace and opening new opportunities, emphasising the need for professionals to upskill and stay relevant in their job fields.”
“The job roles in demand include UI/UX Designer, App Developer, Web Developer, Systems Engineer, and Quality Assurance Engineer,” he added.
What does a coding role involve?
Coding is a broad term that covers professionals in the areas of software development, computer programming, data science and software engineering.
These roles involve usage of computer software and programming languages such as Java, Python, C++ and R to perform daily tasks. So, for your company website to run properly or the back-end revenue team to make a successful sale, the computer programme needs to run without glitches.
In the IT sector, roles such as automation, data analysis, cyber security and cloud computing hire coders from across the country. In non-IT companies, these coders are hired to manage the website, sales website and mobile applications.
The starting salary for a coding graduate (depending on the institute they graduated from) ranges from Rs 7.5 lakh to 9 lakh per annum. But coders with 7-10 years of work experience earn as much as Rs 45 lakh per annum.
Courses for coding in top demand
Due to the demand for coders across companies, there is also a boom in demand for such courses across platforms such as Simplilearn, Great Learning, upGrad and Masai School.
A recent report on 2020 trends by e-learning platform Great Learning showed that the top five Post Graduate programmes with the highest demand at Great Learning are Data Science and Business Analytics; AI and Machine Learning; Data Science; Cloud Computing; and Design Thinking. All have a completion rate of over 90 percent.
Similarly, the top five most-sought-after beginner programmes on the Great Learning Academy are Python for Machine Learning, Introduction to Digital Marketing, Excel for Beginners, Python Programming in Hindi, and Smart English Basics for Professionals.
At online learning platform Coursera, Programming for Everybody (Getting Started with Python) and Python Data Structures from the University of Michigan were the most subscribed ‘technology’ courses in 2020. Python is also the most popular subject among top guided projects on the Coursera platform.
Where are the big numbers?
Industry estimates suggest that there are close to 85,000 vacant roles for coders across companies. Here, about 35-40 percent of the openings are in the IT sector while the rest are for the retail, e-commerce, banking, stock broking, insurance and automobile sector.
For instance, Accenture is currently hiring for more than 7,400 roles across cities in India. The roles the company is hiring for include automation, cloud computing, DevOps, Python programmers and Full Stack Developer.
Cisco is hiring more than 200 people for the profiles of data scientists, python programmers and network engineers. Further, IBM currently has over 2,000 job openings for both entry level and experienced professionals. This includes cloud architects, data scientists, and DevOps specialists.
The human resource head of a Mumbai-based insurance company said that insurers and stockbrokers are not advertising coding jobs openly because of rising cases of the best talent being lapped up by rivals.
“Before we shortlist a candidate, rival firms tend to offer him/her a 30 percent higher package and recruit them. It is a fierce market and talent is available in limited numbers,” he added.
For every 11 roles there is one skilled coding professional available in India, according to HR estimates.
Delhi-based hiring consultant Sumant Pradhan said that there is tough competition between companies to get the best coders.
“Poaching of programmers and developers from IT companies is becoming very common. It is not merely the salary that the candidates are looking for, but also the company brand name,” he added.
Kumar of Simplilearn said that designing, finance, healthcare, marketing and manufacturing are few of the non-tech sectors experiencing high demand for software developers or coders.
Prateek Shukla, CEO & Co-founder of Masai School, which offers coding programmes, said they have now seen banks approaching institutes to hire students qualified in coding.
“Automation is a big focus and hence banks want to hire coders who will enable these efforts,” he added.
At Masai School, about 65 percent of non-engineers are part of the R programming course. Shukla added that their placement process has seen even BCom graduates get jobs of Rs 20 lakh per annum in non-IT companies.
R is a programming language considered to be the most in-demand course by Indian recruiters. Institutes such as Masai School are seeing even BCom graduates opt for it because of the high-paying jobs in this field. A typical BCom graduate would otherwise earn only Rs 5 lakh to 7 lakh per annum.