Want Career Security? Then Gain – and Maintain – Your Data Skills

September 30th, 2013

“It’s clear that as firms continue to analyze large quantities of data, Big Data talent will be in demand.”

–          Rachel Ceccarelli, Dice.com spokesperson

“There’s no question that the number-one requirement for enterprises serious about gaining a competitive advantage using data and analytics is going to be the talent to run that program.”

–          Jack Phillips, CEO, International Institute for Analytics

“These are people who fit at the intersection of multiple domains … They have to take ideas from one field and apply them to another field, and they have to be comfortable with ambiguity.”

–          DJ Patil, Co-inventor of the term “data scientist”

Exciting, Right?

Analytical professionals are among the most coveted tech positions in today’s marketplace. The career web site Dice.com listed data and analytical experts fourth among in-demand professions in a survey of more than 1,000 hiring managers. By contrast, this category didn’t even make the top 10 in last year’s survey.

Forty-two percent of IT leaders have invested in Big Data technology or plan to do so within the next year. Experts initially theorized that most of these employers were centered in Washington, DC due to an assumed association with a need for national security clearance. But guess what? It turned out that only three percent of Dice’s Big Data jobs required that security.  The Silicon Valley led the pack, followed by regions with a broad geographic range: from Seattle to Boston and New York. Between now and 2018, it’s estimated that the U.S. could face a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 people with “deep analytical talent,” as noted by McKinsey & Co.

So if you think you fit into the Big Data career picture, it couldn’t happen at a better time.

Money Talk

As companies come to appreciate the value of the data locked away in their files, they’re prepared to offer highly competitive salaries to individuals who can help them leverage this information to the betterment of their business. Here’s a synopsis of average annual salaries:

  • Analysts with Hadoop skills: $115,062
  • More generic “Big Data” job categories: $113,739
  • Jobs in the Linux category: $90,853

These compare to an average annual salary of $85,600 across all technical categories.

Develop Your Data Skill Set

Whether you’re just starting your career or bring a wealth of experience to the table, it’s advisable to continually develop your Big Data skill set. Here are some key requirements:

  • The right core education: This includes mathematics, statistics, data analysis, business analytics and natural language processing.
  • Intense curiosity: You need a naturally curious mind, as well as the ability to communicate your analytical findings to non-technical business units.
  • A relentless scientific temperament: Successful Big Data professionals have a mix of technological, quantitative and business skills. But in essence, they’re scientists and, as such, must be capable of accepting and learning from failures, and then quickly moving on. They have the intellectual flexibility to change their assumptions and approaches to a problem as needed.

While titles, job descriptions and specific responsibilities vary from business to business, it’s clear that analytical experts will be in high demand for the foreseeable future.

Working with a career coach can help you identify and explore opportunities on the ever-expanding Big Data spectrum. Contact Select Group, Inc., to learn more!

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