September 12, 2016 • Henry Thedieck
Why Everyone Should Learn Big Data Analysis
There will always be a debate about which technical skill matters most. What’s marketable in the business world? Which skills are most applicable across positions? Which talents will still be important five years down the road? As an IT staffing and consulting firm, we have seen how big data analysis has the transferability and staying power to boost any job seeker’s technical resume and skillset. Here’s why that matters to you:
Data Is Increasingly Unstructured
Unprecedented amounts of data are being produced worldwide with at least 2.5 quintillion bytes coming into existence every day. And very little of that data is readable by conventional analysis methods. Unstructured data is almost untouchable in a relational database. Text conversations, status reports, media files, or medical reports need the more complex algorithms of big data analysis tools to take on any meaning.
Since so many positions are working with information other than clean structured data, there is a great advantage in providing unexpected insight in reporting, resource planning, and project management activities. In the future, even more jobs are expected to require strong unstructured analytical strengths.
Big Data Tools Require Someone at the Wheel
At the current technology level, big data analysis cannot get to its destination alone. Though data scientists and cognitive computing experts are building algorithms that can handle most of their work autonomously, an expert with big data analysis is still essential. Data analysts still need to generate queries and interpret the end results. These programs won’t start themselves.
Like any other tool, big data analytics programs are only as effective as the person operating it. As with many other STEM roles, data analysts or data managers are hard to find. Predictions are we will need 181,000 people with deep analytical skills and 905,000 with data management and interpretation skills by 2018. And as the demand in the U.S. gets higher, IT professionals with this talent will be able to write their own check.
Analytical Skills Can Improve Radically
Even those professionals who dabble with big data analysis can go a long way to expanding their analytical horizons. The toolsets are designed to make oblique connections, pulling out insight that might have otherwise remained hidden from a more traditional perspective. Exposure to big data tools train the eye to notice less straightforward parallels and improve the ability to spot odd connections.
Interestingly enough, as it expands the ability to find odd correlations, big data analysis also hyper focuses insight. UPS was able to limit repair costs by tracking how often parts broke on their trucks and determining optimum replacement timeframes. IBM’s Watson, the behemoth of the cognitive computing world, has developed clear medical diagnoses by reviewing billions of medical images.
With the capability of analyzing large volumes of unstructured data, it becomes easier to get a satellite level view and realize the simple solution hidden by all the clutter. Just about any position can benefit from this clarity.
How to Quickly Benefit from Big Data Analysis
There are clear benefits to Big Data analysis, but what’s the fastest path to picking up some skills? If you’re looking to go the traditional route, you can take courses through the VCU School of Business Decision Analytics – Professional Track. Or if you prefer to learn alongside fellow big data enthusiasts in an unstructured environment, check out one of the technical Meetup groups in the Richmond area. Either is an excellent way to sharpen big data skills, especially if you have extra time after your first IT consulting job is completed.
Once you’ve acquired your big data analysis skills, check out our jobs available through Smart Resources. We are connected with power brokers in the Richmond area and can help you find your next job. Contact us today to take your career to the next level.