How Big Data Careers Are Changing the IT Landscape
February 14, 2015
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Last year, everyone was talking about how big data was expanding within the IT industry. With so much of this attention on big data and analytics, many IT professionals are now considering a career shift, and new IT graduates are entering the job market with big data/analytics skills they once didn't need. Every day, more outlets are tackling how to get into big data, how recruiters can find the best talent and even how to switch into one of several big data careers from outside the space altogether.
Regardless of where you might fit in, a big data revolution is reshaping the IT career landscape in almost every industry.
What Is Big Data?
So what is big data? Basically, it's all the digital information human beings generate on a daily basis — a Facebook post, online shopping receipt, text message, GPS command, entry in an online library and any media gathered from satellites, drones or other social media platforms. Everything we create and store day-to-day that fills up a data center is — and can be used as — big data. The challenge is that all that stuff has to be stored, managed and, in many cases, analyzed.
Its Effect on Business
Big companies with large customer bases have a vested interest in not only keeping those customers, but attempting to make their lives easier. To do that, these companies are eager to learn what their clients want so that they can segment those interests with content and services distinct from other customers. Likewise, governments and not-for-profit organizations need to draw conclusions about the lives they end up serving. The need for these analytics is growing within every discipline, from operations to advertising, and IT professionals with a solid background and understanding in all things big data are witnessing a revolutionary opportunity in their skill sets.
Big Data Tips
In light of high demand for these skills within or apart from IT, big data careers can be competitive. Here are a few things professionals and students of IT may want to keep in mind for a potential opportunity:
- Programs in Web development are viable starting points to learn about applications for big data.
- Seek out junior-level positions with "big data" in the job description. This will help launch you into big data-centric positions in the future.
- Focus your experience. Nontechnical experience isn't viable for positions in analytics. Technical experience in programming/SQL, according to business analytics veteran Kunal Jain, is generally considered the equivalent of one to two years of work experience.
- Dennis Shasha, associate director of NYU Wireless at New York University, suggests three specific skills to any of these jobs in a post by IEEE's The Institute: 1.) understanding databases; 2.) knowledge of machine learning and data mining; and 3.) statistics.
Big data is everywhere. Professionals and new graduates with the ability to analyze and make strategic conclusions through digital content are likely to be the most in-demand, and as the IT field continues to transform in favor of big data professionals, you're likely to see the emergence of the new technology professional standing strong within the business community for years to come.
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