Dr. Nimmi Rangaswamy has written a chapter on The power of data science ontogeny: Thick data studies on the Indian IT skill tutoring microcosm in the book New perspectives in critical data studies – The ambivalences of data power published by Palgrave Macmillan. Here is the summary of the chapter:
New employment demands of a burgeoning Indian software service industry are spawning neo-educational structures, especially in the domain of data sciences through vibrant market mechanisms offering a scalable and industry-focused learning system. Since the 1990s, Indian software firms have developed expertise in carrying out outsourced back-office tasks and mid-level IT services like data entry, managing call centres, and performing software quality testing for foreign companies taking advantage of a technically trained local workforce. The trend of automating manual work practices in the IT industry has generated a different kind of demand for data sciences directed at upskilling and job readiness. India is witnessing a market-oriented groundswell of data science and IT skill tutoring ‘shops’, resituating science and engineering education. In this chapter we report from ethnographic research conducted in two IT skill training parks to underpin arguments about emerging neo-educational learning structures suited to a data science education for new livelihood opportunities in an IT-accredited India. Our chapter makes a case for looking at ‘data studies’ from an ethnographic perspective uncovering a ‘program’ of upward mobility through IT skilling and employment. What directions might data studies about tutoring data science skills in the Indian context lead to? Excerpts presented here from field research imagine new livelihoods, aspirations, and technology skills that are more often than not a reflection of the power of data science education
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