As more companies try to make sense of big data, there’s a demand for people who can make sense of the information. But what does a big data expert look like? The answer is a combination of training and personality.
Right now, there’s a talent gap and there’s no single prescription for filling the positions available. Many companies say they’ll do a mix of retraining and hiring in order to find the right people, while a significant number of companies are committed to mostly retraining existing staff. Depending on budget restraints, as well as the capabilities of your staff, either option might work for you.
If you’re set on new hiring, consider a recent grad. Over the last five years, big data analytics started taking off in the academic world. Interest in big data has sparked new degree programs in analytics, machine learning, and data science. According to an executive at IBM, it takes about 10 years to train the next generation on the new skills that are needed, and if the 10-year pattern holds for big data analytics, a new wave of graduates will reach a steady stream by 2018.
But education isn’t everything. A qualified big data expert should also have a good intuition and curiosity to understand what’s behind the data. Analysts need to have a good sense about what’s worth looking for and what isn’t. In other words, the best experts are probably people who have a wide range of experiences, ranging from the classroom to the boardroom that give them the perspective needed to tackle complicated problems.
The most talented people will also want to work in an organization that accepts big data culture across all silos of the company. They don’t want to be trapped into the old constraints about who has access to particular sets of data.
What would you look for in a big data expert for your organization?