What You Need to Do to Have a Career in Big Data


Big data is a buzzword that has been tossed around a lot lately, but it has also become big business. More than 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created every day, and someone has to collect, store, secure and analyze all of it. Because of this rapid growth, the job market for big data is wide open.


Jobs in almost every industry require big data specialists. There are options in IT, finance, law enforcement, government, manufacturing, farming, retail, science, medicine, and technical services. Whether your interests lie in security and software development or even data management and storage, there is something to fit your skills and job preferences.


As technology continues to expand, this trend is expected to explode even further over the next five years, and there will be a huge deficit of qualified applicants. Now is the time to break into this multi-billion dollar industry where you could land the job of your dreams.


What a Career in Big Data Offers You


Depending on the specific position along with your skill and education level, big data jobs are very lucrative. Most pay in the range between $50,000 – $165,000 a year. Not only is big data a rewarding career that exposes you to the latest in technology, but it also provides a nice living for you and your family.


The top-tier jobs in big data are engineers, managers, and developers. Some other high-paying big data positions in demand are analysts, scientists, statisticians, and specialists. Engineers devise the architecture that houses and maintains the data. Developers write programs that collect and organize data and monitor security.


There is a lot of variety in what you will be doing as an employee of big data depending on the industry you choose. For example, if you work in law enforcement, you may be writing code to search through thousands of criminal records or develop a new way to store fingerprints more efficiently. If you choose to finance, you could be managing millions of bank accounts and analyzing figures. The options are endless.


Finding That Perfect Job in Big Data


There are far more big data jobs than there are applicants. So finding a job might not be a problem. Seeing the fancy titles might throw you, but they are often interchangeable. For example, the term “data analyst” might be the same as a data scientist or data architect. Don’t let the titles scare you off. Focus instead on the job description and what you will be doing.


If you already work in an industry and have some good experience, it might be easier to break into big data through your own organization. Put feelers out to see if the company needs someone in that department and if they offer any training or paid education. Hone your unique skills to set yourself apart. If you have specialized in a particular area of big data, highlight that when you apply.


Don’t be afraid to go outside your comfort zone and apply for something that might be a stretch. Some places will offer on-the-job training or pay to get you certified. If you have the background and the drive, they might give you a chance. Companies are desperate to fill the ever-growing spots they have open.


Skills That Work Well in Big Data


Most of the big data positions require a solid background in programming. You will need to be familiar with, if not fluent in the following languages: C, Python, Java, and SQL. If you want to be in analytics or statistics, you may need other specialized skills, but not coding.


You may also be required to have certifications in Hadoop, Apache Spark, and machine learning. You will need strong mathematics skills and be experienced in statistics and linear algebra, having some knowledge of security and cryptography help as well.


Creating the Perfect Cover Letter to go with Your Resume


Your resume and cover letter are a critical part of the job application process. The cover letter is of paramount importance and can either get you that interview or get you passed over. You cannot be too careful when crafting your cover letter.


Take your time and make sure your cover letter is written well and quickly engages the hiring manager. Start off strong by introducing yourself and connecting yourself to the company (which you have thoroughly researched). If you know the name of the recruiter, use it to personalize your cover letter in your salutation.


Make sure you read the job ad completely and then apply your skills and experience to how you can fit into that position. Show them how you can add value to their organization and be a part of the team. Keep your tone formal and professional throughout the letter. You can find online templates that provide you with the perfect format and outline style to use.


Interviewing Well


If you are well-prepared, interviewing for your big data job should be much less stressful. First, you will want to research the company thoroughly so you can ask educated questions and have knowledge about what they do. The interviewer will ask you what you know about the company. Also come prepared to tell your story, why you are interested in the position and all about your experience.


Dress professionally and bring with you at least two copies of your resume, cover letter, and references, typed up neatly. Prepare yourself with answers to commonly asked questions and specific insights about your field that might come up during the interview. Ask some good questions yourself; recruiters like to know you are curious and invested in more than just a job.


Practice your interview with a family member or friend so you can get all your nervousness out beforehand. After the interview, send a friendly follow-up email thanking them for the opportunity and express your continued interest. Be patient; sometimes it takes companies a while to wade through all the applicants and get back to you with news of the job.


Data Analytics as an Option


A career in big data is a recipe for long-term success. The more educated and highly skilled you are, the further you will go and the more in-demand you will be to employers. Consider going back to school for your master’s in business analytics. The higher degree will set you apart from the rest and punctuate your commitment to this field.


Plus, with a master’s you will be eligible for the higher tier positions that are far more lucrative than the entry-level big data positions. According to Maryville University, there is a shortage of “250,000 business data analysts and data scientists” in the industry. This deficit puts a premium on skilled engineers with master’s degrees.


If you are interested in a career in big data for the long-term, an investment in your education to bring you up to the master’s level will pay off quickly, and you’ll have your pick of the best jobs anywhere.


I recently spoke with one of my old college classmates over tea. He is a leading data scientist for a Fortune 500 company. While catching up for the first time in eight years, we discussed the fascinating changes that big data has brought over the past few years. They have mostly focused on the implications for consumers and administrators. There hasn’t been as much discussion about the changes the field has created for people seeking a career in big data. 


When you really look at the employment data, it becomes clear that the demand for big data jobs is surging. As per the estimates provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the economy is expected to create 11.5 million big data jobs by 2026.



Few Points to Remember before Moving towards Big Data Careers


Big data and analytics is a growing field, and more openings are coming up in the field due to the high growth. How to build a career in Big data is often a question of many, and there are specific steps you might want to take to pursue the goal.


1. Learn the Basics Right

It is essential to understand the basics of the technologies that you want to work on. If the tools are learned well, you stand a higher chance to get a job in the field of your interest. You can consult an experienced person to know the tricks of the trade. This will allow you to know the details of the business that you are part of. 

The knowledge of deployment and maintenance of the tools is also helpful. Big data analytics is used to solve real-life issues. The outputs received from the tools can be complex. If you know the trade well, you can pick the right tool for the proper purpose.


2. Learn and Understand the Big Data Tools

Certain tools are necessary for the big data field, and these tools help the professionals in their career. These tools include SPSS, SAS, R, SQL, Apache Hadoop, Pig, Hive, Storm, etc.

Keep yourself accustomed to the latest updates. Start with the basic sessions in the tools and start learning it. If one learns a tool correctly and masters it, it’s easier to get any work done and get a relevant job. There are many open-source softwares available online that you can easily access.


3. Keep Learning and Reading

It is crucial for big data careers that you keep yourself updated with the latest changes. There are new updates every day and keeping yourself abreast of the new technologies can help you grow in your career. There are different functions of the business and different domains that the company works in. The knowledge of all the essential parts of business and domains can help you make the right decisions.


4. Get your Hands Dirty 

Once you are well aware of the technologies, start looking for opportunities in your sphere. Starting to work with big data technology might seem like a difficult thing to start. But apply your basic knowledge to learn the data flow first. 


Identify the data sources and check the repositories that store data. It is advisable to learn about the business processes or functions that are generating data. The organizations can apply some specific tools to carry out the analysis. Start using them to produce fundamental insights from data and use more straightforward metrics.


In the case of complex metrics, use a BI system that helps us identify many complex parameters. Once data is analyzed, it is vital to creating reports. Using the data to put in a meaningful report can help the businesses to make the right decisions. 


5. Join a Community

Big data is a complex field, and you may face different problem scenarios at times. Apparently, it is not always possible to solve them alone. Hence, better to join a Big data community to participate in discussions to get better insights on various topics.


6. Follow Big Data Blogs

There are numerous blogs on Big data which are excellent knowledge hubs and focus from different angles on a single subject. Hence, it is always advisable to follow blogs on Big data to get up to date knowledge on various topics.


7. Join a Big Data Course

Joining a Big data course will make your half work done as it prescribes you towards a definite roadmap as per your choice. Most of the premium course providers either follow industry-recognized certification pattern or provide their tailor-made course. These courses often come with Big data dump as a ready solution for hands-on practice.


What are the caveats with this estimate?


People working in the big data profession are enthusiastic about the growing job opportunities that are available to them. 


You need to be aware of this before pursuing a career in big data. There are a number of different specialities that you can pursue.


Some specialities are obvious, such as machine learning professionals. This is one of the reasons that the number of people receiving machine learning courses has increased.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics analyst Michael Rieley, the need for big data solutions is driving demand for people with backgrounds in mathematics. Employment for people working in the mathematical sciences is expected to grow by almost 28% between 2016 and 2026. The total growth rate for all occupations in that same time period is 7.4%. This is largely due to the need for mathematicians to develop big data algorithms.


Within the field of mathematical sciences, you can see promising job opportunities in certain specialities. One example is with actuaries. The demand for actuary jobs is expected to increase by 22%. 


Some of the trends seem surprising at first. Experts without a strong understanding of the actuary profession would probably assume that big data would actually cause jobs in that sector to shrink. Their assumption would be based on the fact that big data has led to new technology, which can improve the efficiency of many actual real processes, thereby potentially making actuaries redundant.


However, it is only likely to replace lower-skilled professionals. Actuaries and other professionals that have received extensive training will actually be in even greater demand. 


The number of big data jobs will also grow more quickly in some specific industries when compared to others. Healthcare is one example. The number of big data jobs in the healthcare industry is expected to grow around 30% within the next few years. There are a number of reasons that big daddy is becoming more important in the healthcare sector, including:


  • Developing a deeper understanding of various health problems people face
  • Ensuring better security solutions to protect data in accordance with HIPAA
  • Big data is helping them identify correlations between changing demographics and the growth of various health problems, which necessitates additional resources