In this interview with our reporter, Mr. Sanjay Tickoo, the Head of International Education Business (Emerging Markets) at NIIT West Africa explains how Nigeria can benefit from Industry 4.0 to grow its information and communication technology (ICT) sector to attain digital economy.
Q: Across the world, there is a growing buzz about ‘Industry 4.0’, a trend that is reshaping organizations. What is this trend all about?
A: Following the IT revolution, the world is now in the midst of the ‘Digital Transformation’ (DT) wave which essentially centres around automation, Cyber Security, Internet of Things, Cloud, R & ML, Python and ML, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Business Intelligence (BI), Block Chain and cognitive computing.
These cutting-edge Digital technologies are disrupting the global environment and altering the way we live and work. In the future, they are expected to transform industrial production, making it possible to automate, gather, analyze and exchange data across machines, enabling faster, flexible and more efficient decision-making processes. Industry 4.0 is in fact the new way to go and global organizations and individuals are embracing this trend to remain competitive and gain an edge.
Q: What is the role that ‘people power’ will play in this Industry 4.0 environment?
A: The importance of ‘people power’—basically skills that were critical to industry development—had become apparent during the ICT revolution. The IT industry’s growth globally was fuelled by skilled human resources, who became differentiators for nations.
In the current Industry 4.0 landscape, human resources will once again be crucial. Young people in particular, who are equipped with digital technology skills that are aligned to what corporations need, will be a sought after resource. Trained manpower will prove to be a driver for nations, contributing to their future growth.
Q: What will be the impact of Industry 4.0 on the future of jobs?
A: According to the World Economic Forum’s ‘Future of Jobs Report’, jobs in digital technology will grow from 17% in 2018 to 33% in 2022. Estimates have indicated that 75 million jobs may be displaced by a shift in the division of labour between humans and machines, while 133 million new roles may emerge that are more adapted to the new division of labour between humans, machines and algorithms. This demonstrates a huge requirement of skilled employees for futuristic industry 4.0 job roles.
This report also indicates that 54% of all employees will require significant re-skilling and up-skilling by 2022. Of these, 35% shall require additional training for 6 months, 9% for 12 months and 10% for 1 year.
Q: How have technology firms in Nigeria including NIIT geared up to address this growing Industry 4.0 opportunity? What are some of the steps taken to meet the needs of this transformation?
A: Having established itself as a leader in the IT training and talent development space over the past 38 years, NIIT has been quick to anticipate the futuristic digital skills requirements of human resources for Industry 4.0. Since its entry into Nigeria, NIIT has played a huge role in spurring the growth of the country’s burgeoning tech sector by building industry-ready professionals.
As early as 2016, and in keeping with the changes across the world, NIIT had launched state-of-the-art programmes in Digital Transformation under the umbrella of its digiNxt series for young people and professionals everywhere. These include its digiNxt MMS, Big Data, Java Enterprises Apps with DevOps, Digital Marketing, and MMS.
Today, NIIT has added to this portfolio of Digital Transformation programmes, catering to the emerging and more advanced and sophisticated needs of Industry 4.0. These include Internet of Things (IoT), Machine Learning (ML) with R & Python, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Business Intelligence (BI), and Data Analytics. These programmes have been introduced by NIIT with a profound understanding of the changing job roles which are powering the digital economy.
Operating through 20 education centres, NIIT has emerged as a leader and pioneer in Nigeria’s IT training and education market. NIIT has trained over a million students in Nigeria, over the last two decades. The company has become a reputed name for quality training and its latest IT programmes that are mapped to industry requirements and international vendor certifications.
NIIT has also enabled Nigeria to create a talent pool armed with futuristic skill sets and will continue to keep the country on the tech training treadmill.
Q: What would you say has been the impact of NIIT’s National Scholarship programme in Nigeria?
A: Since its inception in 1999, NIIT’s National Scholarship has become one of the most awaited and prestigious annual events across Nigeria. More than 100,000 students have benefitted from the scholarship so far.
The forthcoming 20th NIIT National Scholarship event in Nigeria which is scheduled to be held on July 13, 2019 will cover futuristic programmes like Python, Power Business Intelligence (BI), Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning with R, DigiNxt-MMS Software Engineering, Full Stack Developer (Python, REST, Angular JS, REACT), Data Analytics, Digital Marketing (SEO, SEM, Mobile and E-mail Marketing, ORM), Big Data, and Java Enterprise Apps with Dev Ops.
In May, 2019, NIIT organized technology conclaves on Industry 4.0 and reached out to over 6,500 students across 12 Universities/Colleges in Nigeria. Some of the universities included the University of Port Harcourt, University of Benin, Rivers State University, Ignatius Ajuru University, Yaba College of Technology, University of Abuja, Lagos State Polytechnic, Crawford University, Wellspring University, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, and the Nigerian Turkish Nile University.
The students were appraised about Industry 4.0, its impact on their careers and the Digital skills required for them to be relevant.
Q: What are its key benefits for ICT learners?
A: The NIIT National Scholarship programme rewards and encourages meritorious and deserving students who are eager to build successful careers in the global IT industry. This time around, the initiative will help students acquire digital skills to enhance their employability and relevance in the digital age. It will be targeted at School-leavers, Under-grads and Graduates.
The idea is to enable them to realize their dreams of a successful career in Information Technology and related industries. On the occasion of the 20th Scholarship this year, NIIT is offering 100% Free Scholarships to 20 ‘Digital Stars of Nigeria’!
Q: Why do average Nigerians need to undertake training in Industry 4.0?
A: The phenomenon of Digital Transformation is beginning to touch Nigerian shores and is already impacting the workspaces. Organizations in the country are aligning themselves with the digital transformation and deploying cutting-edge disruptive technologies to uplift their customer service and deliver a higher client experience. They clearly require people who are well versed with these technologies.
Some of these technologies are also invading homes, making it imperative for individuals as well to acquire digital skills in order to ably engage with them in their everyday lives.