Big Data Careers: How to Find and Make Your Big Break

December 19th, 2014

Data is arguably the most valuable renewable resource driving economic growth today. Thanks to inexpensive storage, massive processing power and innovative tools like Hadoop, organizations are able to mine terabytes of information and derive valuable business intelligence from them.

The data revolution has created a new breed of jobs that require a dynamic blend of hard knowledge and soft skills. Marketing and research professionals are becoming adept at pulling data from system to system and translating it into results. And IT pros are developing subject matter expertise outside the bits and bytes they’ve always known. This is where your Big Data career break lies, as expectations are changing on both sides.

  • Creative people traditionally were dreamers, which meant they had to conceptualize things, but not build them. Now, the strategy is that technical people will become creative and creative people will understand technology well enough to realize their dreams. It’s essentially a new generation of super users.
  • IT workers aren’t going anywhere. However, their roles are changing as they become more dynamic than ever before. Employers want people who understand the methods and applications of analytics, but who also understand business challenges, are able to function in multi-disciplinary teams, and can effectively communicate insights to stakeholders.

Harvesting Data

Industry experts have concurred that Big Data will create 1.9 million jobs in the United States by 2015. While the ideal Big Data job description is a work in progress, there is clearly a need for data-savvy professionals who can draw meaningful conclusions from the flood of information that is continually pouring into organizations.

  • If you’re an undergraduate, plan to continue your education. You probably don’t need a Ph.D., but line up your coursework in preparation for masters-level studies. Complete all the prerequisites in math, statistics and computer science. Go beyond the minimum in calculus into linear and matrix algebra. Take additional courses in probability, multivariate regression and programming.
  • If you’re already in the workforce, keep learning. For instance, strive for professional certifications offered by vendors and your industry organizations. Tap into relevant on-line learning opportunities. The core skills you’re seeking include statistical analysis and data management, cleaning, visualization and interpretation.

A Snapshot of Hybrid Jobs

Today’s Big Data pro can be a:

  • Data scientist: They take the massive amounts of data collected by a business and turn it into products. Businesses employing data scientists are on an exponential rise – encompassing every industry from consumer packaged goods and retail to healthcare, financial services and any company dealing with Internet-based data. Having programming ability is a plus if you want to be a data scientist, but you don’t necessarily need a computer science degree.
  • Data visualizer: You must be analytic and understand the baseline use of technology and be able to track behaviors to predict and influence outcomes. For example, college admissions officers have become data connoisseurs by necessity in order to accurately assess trends and make the right decisions.
  • Data analyst: Even if you can’t build it yourself, you must be able to understand what happens with layers of data and then collaborate with developers to execute solutions.

It’s a whole new business world. To help you navigate it and chart your Big Data career path, why not contact a niche expert who can partner with you to realize your goals? Read our related posts or contact Select Group, Inc., to learn more.

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