A report published by The Economist in 2017 named “data” as the world’s most valuable resource – even more lucrative than oil or gold.
In an environment where information is everything, the tech industry has begun to see a rising demand for people who can understand and leverage the complex data environment. The need for big data employees is so great that we’re beginning to experience a significant skills gap.
If you have a passion for problem solving and technology, then a career in big data may be the ideal opportunity for you. The question is, how do you start developing a future in this new space?
Step 1: Know What Kind of Role You’re Looking For
Big data is a broad sector featuring many diverse and unique roles. For instance, if you’re interested in analysing business information and turning unstructured data into useful insights, you may thrive in a position as a data scientist. Alternatively, if you like the idea of working with the latest technology to create new applications and programmes, then you may prefer a role as a data engineer.
The kind of job you’re drawn to in big data will dictate the route you need to take to accelerate your career. For instance, in the case of a data engineer, you’ll need advanced programming skills, and experience working with tools like Apache Spark and NoSQL databases.
If you’re looking for a position as CRM data analyst, then you’ll need to understand how to use CRM systems like Salesforce and use the insights you find to support customer experience goals for a company.
Step 2: Explore the Latest Technologies
Many roles in big data require candidates to expand their skills using a range of unique technologies. Once you’ve decided which career avenue you’ll be exploring, speak to a specialist recruitment company like Resource on Demand for advice on the kind of technical skills an employer looks for when recruiting for that role.
Some of the most common tools you’ll need include a basic knowledge of Microsoft Excel, and SQL. Once you’ve mastered the basics, you may need to expand into new things like Python, Linux, Spark, and Hadoop.
A lot of the open-source big data tech available on the market today is written in Java. This means that a solid knowledge of Java will give you a foundation for almost any big data role. Beyond that, you may also need to consider specialities you’re interested in. For instance, do you specifically want a job related to AI, blockchain or the Internet of Things (IoT)?
Step 3: Develop an Impressive Skillset
According to a researcher and associate director at New York State University (Dennis Shasha), people need three crucial skills to be effective in handling big data:
1. An in-depth understanding of databases and how they manage information.
2. A basic knowledge of machine learning and data mining.
3. A statistical mindset to turn data into actionable insights.
Every role in the big data industry comes with unique talent demands. However, you can give yourself a head start by working on the skills that apply to any role. Any individual working with big data will need excellent analytical and problem-solving skills for instance.
In terms of soft-skills, you’ll also need to develop:
- Your ability to lead and work with a team (data experts rarely work alone).
- Your communication skills so you can convey complex ideas in a simple way.
- Your time management abilities so you can work according to strict deadlines.
Step 4: Consider Getting Certified
Most people in the big data sector will start their career journey with a master’s degree in computer science or a bachelor’s degree in a related technical subject.
However, candidates that want to take their application one step further can supplement their CV with a specialist certification. There are dozens of certifications in the big data landscape today, including:
- IBM Certified data architect – This certification confirms the skills of data architects and their ability to understand customer requirements.
- SAS Certified big data professional – This award recognises professionals with a strong background in programming knowledge.
- AWS Certified big data award – This certificate determines whether data engineers can automate processes using big data and get value out of information sets.
To choose the certifications best for your career roadmap, research job descriptions for roles like the position you’re looking for. Most will include a brief list of “preferred” qualifications.
Step 5: Be Prepared to Keep Learning
The rapid pace of innovation in the big data environment means that new courses, certifications, and lessons are appearing in the space all the time. The best candidates in the big data environment are people who love to learn and commit themselves to continually expanding their education.
Show your future employer that you’re passionate about your career by taking part in the latest training sessions and seeking out new opportunities to develop your skills. Many employees in the big data world even find it helpful to connect with an industry mentor, who keeps them ahead of the curve in their space.
As the data environment continues to change, make sure that you’re ready to absorb any information relevant to your field.
About Resource On Demand
Resource On Demand is Europe’s first specialist Salesforce Recruitment Company, now also focusing on growth Cloud markets.
We assist innovative and disruptive organisations to grow their technology teams. Supporting companies to fill Cloud roles that span across Digital Marketing, Marketing Automation, Human Capital Management and the growing Salesforce.com suite of skills.
The team at Resource On Demand have access to an extensive database of key talent, registering over 8000 Cloud professionals each year.
To find out how we can support you call us on 01322 272 532