Prateek, a 37 year-old technology coding professional, quit his IT job a year ago. He is not comfortable disclosing his last name because he has signed a non-disclosure agreement. Teaching a new programming language called 'Clojure', Prateek earns about Rs 20,000 for a two-hour session.
Data mining, artificial intelligence, cloud security—these are not just skills that will help you get the coveted job. They have become an avenue for a new profession - teaching staff for the sector. For a complete course, these professionals are charging between Rs 50,000 to as high as Rs 7 lakh from the companies who want to train their employees.
"Rather than having a scenario where we are hiring staff for new roles at a high pay, the idea is to train the existing employees using expert help," said the chief human resource officer of a mid-size IT firm.
What do they do?
As part of the learning and development (L&D) initiatives in companies, such ‘teachers’ are being hired on a short-term basis. These individuals are usually people who have either worked specifically on these domains and have theoretical knowledge as well.
Non-disclosure is part of the process because the idea is to ensure that the competition does not get details on the new technology/programming that is being used.
A typical session on such niche skills can last for 30-60 hours where both the theory and the practical application is explained in detail by the instructor.
Past use-cases are also explained in detail and errors and its learnings are also part of the training process.
For example, when the clustering technique was being used by a banking entity to segregate its customers in the global markets, the same data mining was transported to India to be used for developing new products. However, the instructor Manasi who was earlier part of this project in her last job explained how this failed because the unique demographic situation of India was not considered.
"My experience brought more relevance to the training session because the company I was teaching was looking to experiment the same model to introduce a new payment product," said Manasi.
People like Prateek and Manasi work across companies and hence it is crucial that they maintain this level of confidentiality of the job role. Some firms insist on a cooling-off period of six months between assignments.
What is the future?
Sectors like IT, e-commerce, banking, FMCG and e-learning are hiring such individuals. The supply of such professionals is around 10,000 whereas the demand is closer to 1 million.
Similar to other professionals, the key for these instructors is to keep upskilling and also watch the world markets closely. A coding technique or even a programming language that is not yet available in India would be the most relevant to learn since these individuals will command the most premium.
Unlike online learning modules where completion rates are low, companies are now turning to this format which produces better efficiency.