Big Data, Big Future: 3 Next-Gen Career Opportunities

In a super-connected world, the data we are generating makes big data an inviting career field for young people.

Guest Commentary, Guest Commentary

March 20, 2017

3 Min Read
Scott Rhodes

“Big” hardly seems large enough to describe big data these days. With connected devices like Fitbits and smartphones, massive amounts of data are created every day at an exponential rate. But the sheer size of big data isn’t what is most impressive; it’s the gold mine of business insights it offers when analyzed.

For young professionals with big data analytics degrees, the field offers almost limitless potential and a wide range of careers to choose from. Here’s a look at a few of these emerging careers.

Big data architect

It’s one thing to brainstorm innovative products, like Siri or a smart refrigerator, but it’s another to bring those ideas to life. Similar to a construction architect, a data architect designs the framework of the latest technology and data systems, determining the structural requirements needed to securely store an abundance of information. With the demand for both immediacy and privacy, a data architect must develop a system that considers future roadblocks, such as storage and data sharing.

As the competition for innovation increases, data architects will be responsible for both the short-term and long-term technology vision for their companies. Aside from a comprehensive education, employers look for candidates with a vast knowledge of database languages like SQL, NoSQL, Python and SPSS.

Data scientist

One part statistician and one part software engineer, a data scientist is the brains behind data interpretation. Data scientists take massive amounts of data and whittle it down into concise statistics to use in predictive and prescriptive modeling. From there, the data scientist can generate valuable insights that improve business performance. Perfect example of data scientists hard at work: the Uber surge charge on New Year’s Eve was determined by a data scientist after measuring analytical trends within the current landscape.

In order to extract insights and information from data, these “data wranglers” must have in-depth knowledge of SAS and/or R, and be familiar with Hadoop. Equipped with sharp problem-solving skills and a healthy dose of creativity, data scientists are a huge asset to all industries.

Big data managers

Managing data architects, scientists and a full team of technicians -- not to mention managing the actual data -- requires a data manager to oversee all processes and communicate day-to-day operations to company leadership. A data manager knows the intricacies of the tech world as well as the overall corporate strategy. They’re the jacks of all trades, if not the master of all.

A data manager is responsible for organizing the data being produced, ensuring quality, implementing strategy, and then reporting back to leadership. They leverage insights provided by data scientists to recommend new products, predict future roadblocks and streamline business logistics. In addition to experience in Hadoop and Hive, this high-level role requires cross-functional skills such as programming and management. As companies continue to adapt to newer systems, the demand for someone to coordinate data processes will continue to increase as well.

The technology revolution is not slowing down. Our world is becoming more connected by the minute, creating tremendous growth and opportunity in the field of big data analytics. If you’re looking for STEM careers that will let you transform the future of technology -- and earn big bucks while doing it -- a job in big data could be your ticket to success.

Scott Rhodes is a vice provost, leading enrollment and recruitment strategies for Florida Polytechnic University. His responsibilities encompass undergraduate admissions, graduate enrollment and enrollment marketing, financial aid, student records and registration and enrollment market research.

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Guest Commentary

Guest Commentary

The InformationWeek community brings together IT practitioners and industry experts with IT advice, education, and opinions. We strive to highlight technology executives and subject matter experts and use their knowledge and experiences to help our audience of IT professionals in a meaningful way. We publish Guest Commentaries from IT practitioners, industry analysts, technology evangelists, and researchers in the field. We are focusing on four main topics: cloud computing; DevOps; data and analytics; and IT leadership and career development. We aim to offer objective, practical advice to our audience on those topics from people who have deep experience in these topics and know the ropes. Guest Commentaries must be vendor neutral. We don't publish articles that promote the writer's company or product.

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