A gap is emerging among data-savvy professionals, with big-data-analysis and predictive skills trumping routine business-intelligence and information-management talents.

Doug Henschen, Executive Editor, Enterprise Apps

March 27, 2012

11 Slides

10 Career-Changing Analytics And Big-Data Job Trends
There's a war on to attract and retain business intelligence (BI) and information management (IM) professionals. That much is clear from the BI, analytics, and IM version of our annual InformationWeek IT Salary Survey, Big Data Widens Analytic Talent Gap.

For years, our salary surveys have reported BI and IM professionals to be at or near the top of the IT salary spectrum. Results are much the same in our 2012 survey, though the gap between management and staff salaries has widened. The median BI staff base salary is $90,000, up from $85,000 in 2011. The median BI management salary is $119,000, up from $110,000 last year. Data integration/data warehousing salaries are even higher, at $97,000 for staff and $120,000 for managers, compared with 2011 salaries of $98,000 and $118,000, respectively.

The median looks nice, but who's at the top of the pay scale? The big push is to find people who can tell the CEO what's going to happen next, not what happened last week or last month. And with that demand, a generation gap is emerging within BI and information management workforce, says Stacy Blanchard, an executive at Accenture Analytics, a 20,000-plus-employee unit of the management consulting and technology services firm of the same name.

The next generation is driving forward-looking, predictive insights. "They're typically statisticians who are deep into data modeling, they're close to the technology, and they know the right algorithms to use with the data available," says Blanchard.

As available data grows in volume and variety, and gains in velocity, the top-dollar jobs go to those IM professionals who know how to use emerging big-data platforms such as Hadoop and NoSQL databases. They're helping organizations to put more and more information to work to provide deeper insights and more accurate predictive models, and that's leading to efficiencies and new services across industries and the public sector.

Manufacturers are studying demand data and supply chain information to cut product-development lead times and improve manufacturing and supply chain efficiencies. Procter & Gamble, for example, tells InformationWeek it's in the process of quadrupling its analytics expertise to help deliver data-driven decision-making dashboards to nearly 60,000 employees. Internet-based firms like AOL, comScore, and eHarmony are using clickstream and mobile big-data analyses to deliver valuable personalization and targeting services used to find best-fit customers, marketing partners, and potential mates.

Retailers from Starbucks to Walmart use data-intensive analyses to improve stocking, product selection, and pricing. Healthcare providers like Johns Hopkins and drug researchers like Harvard Medical School spot patterns in clinical data to improve diagnoses, treatments, and patient outcomes.

In short, businesses and government agencies are putting their faith in data-driven decisions, and that's increasing demand for analytics and information management expertise.

About the Author(s)

Doug Henschen

Executive Editor, Enterprise Apps

Doug Henschen is Executive Editor of InformationWeek, where he covers the intersection of enterprise applications with information management, business intelligence, big data and analytics. He previously served as editor in chief of Intelligent Enterprise, editor in chief of Transform Magazine, and Executive Editor at DM News. He has covered IT and data-driven marketing for more than 15 years.

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