Considering a career in Big Data? 4 things you should know
As the information technology sector continues to chart upwards across Gulf countries, industry specialists such as big data professionals are in high demand. But how much do you actually know about this relatively new, fast growing field?
For starters, here’s what it entails. Broadly, big data professionals derive meaningful insights from great quantities of unstructured data companies and organizations already possess. The data is used in many ways, from optimizing work processes to helping businesses target individual customers. Its uses appear to be limitless even as more and more organizations are jumping on to the Big Data bandwagon in their quest for higher efficiency. Yet according to a 2015 MIT Sloan Management Review global survey on data analytics, 40% of companies surveyed are struggling to find and retain the data analytics talent.
If you’re considering a career in this field, you need to know:
There are many types of Big Data jobs
Big Data professionals aren’t a monolithic mass of people who crunch numbers. It’s a career with differentiated roles and responsibilities geared towards obtaining the end result.
Some of the key jobs are:
• Big Data Scientist-A person who analyses data from different angles and designs algorithms which will produce results and insights.
• Hadoop Developer-People manage the storage and processing of the large amounts of information.
• Visualization Tool Developer-People who visualize the results of the analysis.
• Information Architect-People who determine how the information will be stored.
Some of these roles could be combined or customized depending on your company and industry.
You need to have the right training
Graduates and post-graduates with degrees in subjects like engineering, pure and applied sciences, maths and economics are ideally suited for a job in Big Data. A Master’s degree can prove to be a big advantage and many experts recommend that you work towards one if you don’t have it already.
On the other hand, you could opt for a course in Big Data at an accredited college or university. Only a few educational institutions offer courses in Big Data since this is a nascent field, but a formal degree in the subject will give you an edge over your competitors. Certificate courses are another viable option and some industry experts even recommend it over a degree programme since they are more flexible, dynamic and in sync with the rapid changes in the industry.
Knowledge of programming is a must
Apart from a strong grounding in subjects that involve quantitative aptitude, a knowledge of languages like R, Python and Scala, etc. is a must. Knowledge of Hadoop, NoSQL and Spark will also be an advantage. Functional languages like Scala are often used for the analysis of large data sets. Skills in languages like Java, Scala, Ruby and C++ are sometimes necessary for custom or specialized implementations.
You’ll need strong core employability skills
Big Data is a project-based job which requires professionals to be strong team players. Other core employability skills like good interpersonal and communication skills, the ability to learn quickly, quick problem-solving ability and creativity are also essential attributes for a successful career in this field.
It’s also important to have strong domain knowledge and understand the business objectives of the company you are working with. These skills will take you far in the profession and help you forge a successful career.
With a large shortage of Big Data professions currently, companies are willing to pay large sums of money to attract the right talent. The average income of an experienced data analyst is comparable to others employed in STEM careers (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths), near six figures, with projections to rise, according to some reports. Like the abundant nature of data itself, there are no limits to a future in this career.