WiDS Pune 2019 conference, was graced by Mr. Sachin Kelkar,  Head – APJ Developer and Partner Program Head at Intel. Intel was one of the principle sponsors of this conference and a great supporter of diversity.

APJ Developer and Partner program @ Intel includes AI developers too. Mr. Kelkar also runs the academic program for the company which is focused on Artificial Intelligence for the students and professors of the Asian Universities.

Techie Scoops, Media Partner for WiDS Pune, had a talk with this dynamic personality about his views and thoughts regarding the conference and much more.

On being asked about the conference, he said it was wonderful to see such a huge number of women in Data Science and their increasing interest in this field. He was sure the graph would rise higher with time. With the world demanding greater and better solutions, this interest of women in the field of Artificial Intelligence and Data science will definitely be able to provide the world better solutions.

He expressed that it wasn’t a point of the rise of women’s interest or the number in these technical fields. It has been on the rise for a long time now. This isn’t the time when it is starting or it is a new thing. It is already happening in India and the world. About 26% percent of the Intel’s workforce population globally  comprises of women in a technical role and in India its around 24%. The part that he found most interesting was, the adoption of women in technology in these deep sciences. The reason he feels, it is interesting and is more welcomed is, because women are well-versed in solving complex problems.

Talking about Intel’s initiatives to support gender diversity, he told, there are a number of Initiatives globally that the company follows. Intel India’s Home to Office (H2O) program facilitates women professionals to be able to resume their career after a break. Being implemented since 2014, it creates opportunities for women to rejoin the workforce after a career break, and enables Intel reach out to an untapped pool of talent with diverse and niche skill areas.  In addition, Intel India’s Boomerang program is specifically targeted at bringing back women employees who were a part of Intel India earlier.

Intel India also launched a parenthood program for its employees in 2018. Becoming a parent is an important personal milestone and this program is designed to support our employees – both women and men – through this transition without compromising on their career aspirations.

Along with this, the company is also supporting Women Entrepreneurship. Intel is trying to be the first customers to the services these women entrepreneurs are providing.  This way, the company is also creating an opportunity to work with  Intel as a vendor. There is also the vendor diversity he talked about where in the company supports the services that are provided not in a traditional way but in a more innovative way.  Intel India has been working with a diverse supply chain that brings innovation and greater value to its business. Intel India engaged with 18+ women-owned business entrepreneurs in 2017.

This is not just to support women but to also help in rehiring, increasing women participation in higher levels of a technical ladder critical too. Just to prove the example that Intel leads the way by action  ,  Our current India Country head is a woman and One prior to was a woman too .

Upon being asked about the change that the AI industry might see because of this increased participation, Mr. Kelkar rightly explained that, it is more about the skill set than the gender if you want to survive in the market, survival in a new market with the old skill sets is a bit difficult.

For startups, he suggested much better things and opportunities to work with the Intel as developers, supporters or innovators. He also mentioned Intel platforms that could make the learning-the-technology easier.  Intel offers access to AI courseware and developer tools through a AI developer Program , the details of which can be found at  www.software.intel.com/ai .