Guest post by Tiffany Rowe
If you have read any type of business news in the last few years, you’ve no doubt noticed that “big data” is one of the most important trends in every industry. Every day, millions of bytes of data are collected and stored – data that has the potential to provide keen insights to make businesses run more efficiently and profitably.
That is if the data is properly analysed. In fact, some experts have even deemed big data “useless” unless someone has the skills to analyse it and draw conclusions from it. So, while even just a few years ago, the field of data analytics was relatively small, today it’s been called the “sexiest” career field by the Harvard Business Review and is one of the fastest growing careers worldwide.
The problem though is that even though there are jobs to be had, there aren’t enough people with the right skills to fill those jobs. In fact, one study indicated that there’s likely to be as many as 2 million unfilled positions in data analysis in the U.S. alone by the end of the decade. For that reason alone, building your experience and knowledge and data analytics can be a smart career move, but there are other reasons as well.
Analytics: A Top Priority
Multiple surveys indicate that data analytics are becoming a top priority for businesses of all sizes. For instance:
- The “Peer Research – Big Data Analytics” survey found that about 90 percent of companies have big data analytics on their priority lists, with just over half of those companies deeming it their top priority.
- The “Analytics Advantage” survey found that 96 percent of companies surveyed listed data analytics being their top priority by the end of the decade.
- Three-quarters of companies in the Peer Research study reporting having a strategy in place for leveraging analytics, while an additional 20 percent said a strategy was in development.
- Big data analytics has been called the “most disruptive” technology in business.
- The overall global market for analytics technology is expected to grow by almost 70 percent in just five years, between 2015 and 2020.
In short, organisations across the world see the potential of data analytics, and need people to not only design data collection and processing systems to create “pools” of data, but also to understand that data and make use of it.
Building Analytics Skills
The increased demand for data analytics skills has revealed a significant need for additional education in this area. The number of academic programs focusing on data analytics has increased substantially in the last few years in an effort to meet this need. Many of these programs attract individuals with a background in a technical discipline, such as science, engineering, or math) and provide focused education on business analytics.
However, research shows that most data scientists have advanced degrees, with almost half holding a doctoral degree. Master’s degrees are also in high demand in this field, with about 44 percent of data scientists holding a master’s degree in a related field. Other roles in analytics also required advanced education; for example, many data engineers have completed a master’s in engineering online in order to build the complex systems necessary to collect and aggregate data.
Earning these advanced degrees will pay off. Data analytics jobs have seen substantial salary increases in recent years, with the average salary for a data analyst or scientist well over $140,000 per year. Data engineers aren’t too far behind, earning about $120,000 per year. Research indicates that individuals with data analytics skills see much larger increases in pay than other IT roles as well; in India, for instance, annual pay increases are about 50 percent more for analytics professionals than for others.
Top Data Analytics Roles
The increase in the need for analytics professionals has also created a variety of new job titles for professionals. Some of the titles you can expect to find include data scientist, data engineer, business analyst, data analyst, big data solutions architect, big data analytics architect, and more. While the specific skills and experience required vary, you can be sure that if you have the skills, you will be in high demand. With growth at nearly 120 percent in this field since 2015, it’s clear that building your data analytics skills is the key to a successful career.
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