Computer programming is the most sought-after skill among Indian women enrolling on Coursera, with 2 million of them opting for it, according to a Women and Skills report released by the US-based online learning platform on Thursday.
This means that almost 50 per cent of the Indian women learners on Coursera, which has 4.8 million registered Indian women learners, have enrolled for the subject. Totally, 12 million Indian users are enrolled on Coursera for online learning.
The interest in tech-related subjects comes at a time when Indian IT salaries have been skyrocketing amid high attrition rates and more opportunities for niche digital skills due to pandemic-led digitisation of businesses. On the other hand, recruiters have also been flagging a gap between the talent available and the skills required for many roles in the technology industry.
Further, four out of the top five skills are STEM skills, including computer programming (2 million enrollments from Indian women), machine learning (1.9 million), probability and statistics (1.8 million), and theoretical computer science (1.6 million).
Incidentally, Machine Learning and Theoretical Computer Science are the also the skills where the relative proficiency of Indian women learners is 25 per cent lower compared to those of other learners on Coursera.
Communication is also a popular subject as 1.5 million Indian women have enrolled for the programme.
Similarly, Programming for Everybody (Getting Started with Python) offered by the University of Michigan and Machine Learning offered by Stanford University are the two top courses sought by Indian women.
English for Career Development by University of Pennsylvania, The Science of Well-Being from Yale University, and Financial Markets offered by Yale University are the other preferred courses.
“It is encouraging to see Indian women developing new skills online and preparing for the workforce, despite the difficult labor market conditions. In India, the top skills among women learners are more focused on technology compared to their global counterparts, indicating a growing investment in training aligned to jobs of the future,” said Betty Vandenbosch, Chief Content Officer at Coursera.
Enrollments from Indian women in STEM courses increased from 23 per cent in 2019 to 32 per cent in 2021, she added.
Meanwhile, counterparts in the US are enrolling the most for communication programmes, which is also the most favoured subject among women learners globally. As many as 14.4 million women have enrolled for communication programmes on Coursera.
Leadership and management, probability and statistics, entrepreneurship and computer programming are the other top preferred subjects globally among women learners on Coursera.
The report also found that women are turning to online education at higher rates than pre-pandemic. In 2020, a peak of 44 per cent of new registered Indian learners was women, and the growth continues to sustain through 2021. Overall, 38 per cent of total learners in India today are women, up from 24 per cent in 2016, it said.
India has the second highest number of registered women learners on Coursera after the US’s 8.6 million enrolments. The median age of both men and women Indian learners is 27.
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