Careers in Big Data

Future of Work

Big data is the new oil. Or rather, it’s a better asset than oil, since its fortunes are not tied with the vagaries of socio-political and economic events (as COVID has plunged crude into a deep crisis, it’s done the opposite for Big Data). Experts, especially in healthcare, are now increasingly turning to Data Analytics to make sense of the virus, and understand out how to put better response systems in place. So are big data and data science jobs in demand?

Not a passing trend and careers in Big Data

The idea of big data has been around since the 1940s (we just used different terms to describe it – volume of data, information explosion etc). But, in the recent years, with the advancement of technology and AI, Big Data radically redefined the way business is conducted, in almost every industry. It showed (to those who learnt to use it to their gain) what the power of information and data could be, when analyzed effectively.

Developments in AI and MI (Machine Learning) have further reinforced the need for Big Data as algorithms (fed on data) have delivered deep insights and helped businesses become more effective. Pairing of AI and Big Data has helped organizations to manage the huge data volume, in the process highlighting the need for newer governance, infrastructure and data developments to help augment the rapid changes taking place. Big Tech companies like Google, Amazon and Facebook have used big data to their advantage. Imagine how Amazon would have used information on what people are buying to understand consumer behavior and then used that to create better experiences.

Unsurprisingly, the global big data market is expected to expand to 103 billion U.S. dollars by 2027.

One of the biggest challenges of Big Data is managing it. Big Data is of little use if it cannot be analyzed – thus the demand for Big Data and Analytics professionals. According to the 2019 survey conducted by NewVantage Partners, 91.6% leading companies are going in for investment in Big Data to make their business operations more agile and stay ahead of the competition.

LinkedIn, in its 2018 Workforce Report had highlighted the shortage of data science staff in US cities. With digital transformation and automation here to stay, this is good news for professionals who may want to up-skill and explore a career in this domain.

KPMG CIO Survey 2019, for the top 5 scarce skills saw Big Data/Analytics take the top position at 44% followed by AI in the third spot at 39% indicating that a career in Big Data and Analytics is the hot job of the moment and the shortage of professionals a lucrative career option.

Glassdoor’s,  Best Jobs in America 2020 survey 2020, mentions several Big Data jobs. Here’s a look at some.

Here’s a look at the top careers in Big Data

Data Scientists

Data Scientists are analytical experts who blend their technology and social science skills to analyze trends and manage data. A career as a Data Scientist was actually labeled as the Sexiest Job of the 21st Century by Harvard Business Review. Large corporations have huge opportunities for data scientist in mining and interpreting complex data operations. b>Data Scientists also need to work extensively with cross-functional IT teams making them a valuable asset to the company.

Here are some must-have qualifications and skills that you’ll need if you want to be a data scientist

  • Advanced knowledge of various data mining techniques like clustering, decision trees, machine learning, data analytical tools like R programming, artificial intelligence etc.
  • Master’s or Ph.D. in Computer Science, Social Science, Physical Science, Statistics
  • Technical skills like Hadoop platform, Python Coding etc.
  • Programming languages like JavaScript, Java, C etc. is a must
  • Proficient in using data visualization tools like Tableau and working with unstructured data

In the US, data scientist jobs are rated as one of the top jobs – being at number three by Glassdoor in 2020. The average remuneration is about $107,801 and a job satisfaction score of 4/5.

With data analytics being the new norm for businesses taking on critical projects, the market is already facing a shortage of data scientists due to the high demand. The demand is not limited to the IT sector but also data-science related jobs in education, marketing etc.

Data Engineers

Data Engineers must have a computer science background, especially relating to understanding of efficient algorithms and data structures. Their main tasks include developing and translating computer algorithms into required prototypes, creating technical process for better data accessibility, creating reports and dashboards.

The main qualifications expected of a Data Engineer are:

  • A college degree in Computer Science, Engineering or an equivalent field
  • Proficiency in Linux, SQL database and coding languages like Java, Python etc
  • Sound knowledge of data warehousing and ETL tools
  • In-depth understanding of Hadoop based analytics like Hive, HBase
  • Acclaimed certifications like IBM Certified Data Engineer, Google’s Certified Professional
  • Around 3 – 5 years of working experience is preferred

According to the 2020 Glassdoor survey of top rated US jobs, data engineer jobs are rated at number 6, making it a highly rated job. Average remuneration for a data engineer is around $107,801, with a job satisfaction score of 3.9/5.

According to findings of the Dice 2020 Tech Job Report, data engineers jobs have seen the fastest jump of over 50% in technology related job sector for the year 2019, indicating the huge demand for this domain.

Data Analyst

Data Analysts gather, processes and implement statistical analysis of large datasets and showcase their findings in charts as reports. They study the current trends, like market research, sales figures etc; and its related reasons and make forecasts for the future.

To become a Data Analyst you must have a working knowledge of Microsoft Access, Microsoft Excel, SharePoint, and SQL Databases.

Data analyst, being an entry level career in Big Data, is ranked at number 44 on the Glassdoor survey 2020, but it is still an attractive option for a fresher. The average remuneration is at around $62973 with a good job satisfaction score of 3.7/5.

The World Economic Forum in its 2018 report “The Future of Jobs Report 2018” has stated that by 2022, 85% of companies would have adopted big data and analytics forecast  the new demand for the existing data analyst roles by 2022.

Security Engineers

Security Engineers supervise and work for the development of information technology (IT) security systems to prevent any breach of cyber security information. They have a major role to play in managing and maintaining the IT security systems; also establishing multiple defense mechanisms for the organization’s computer networks.

Qualifications include

  • A Bachelor’s degree in engineering, computer science or equivalent study
  • Master’s degree in IT security management
  • Work experience of 1-5 years in the relevant field
  • Problem solving skills
  • Professional certifications from organizations like Information Systems Security Association

According to the Glassdoor 2020 survey, security engineers are ranked 27th, with an average salary of $92,225 and a job satisfaction score of 3.5/5.
According to (ISC)2 2019 report, US alone would need cyber security experts to the tune of 62% indicating the high demand expected for the job in future also.

Machine Learning Engineer

Machine Learning Engineers are computer programmers doing sophisticated programming to perform computations and work with algorithms. Being an application of Artificial Intelligence, machine learning engineers could gain extensively from having deep knowledge in the AI domain. Data Scientists define the models to which the Machine Learning Engineers feed data to understand and work on various complex tasks like classification of images, market forecasting etc.

A Machine Learning Engineer should:

  • Be proficient in computer programming and language like C++ , Java etc; mathematical skills
  • Have strong knowledge of cloud applications and AI techniques
  • Hold a master’s degree in the machine learning discipline or a master’s in computer science or mathematics
  • Also important are soft skills like communication, since the job requires interaction with people

Though this specific area of Big Data does not figure in the top 50 best jobs of the Glassdoor 2020 survey, the position does high respect and professionals can expect an average annual remuneration of $114,121.   Moreover, World Economic Forum’s “The Future of Jobs Report 2018” , predicts that 73% of companies would adopt machine learning by 2022.

As the COVID pandemic spreads and destroys industries and jobs, Bog Data seems to not only weather the storm well, but also feed on it. Now, more than ever before, data and its application and assimilation will be more valuable. It’s definitely a recession-proof career option today.

Find out more about in demand jobs in Canada.

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