I blogged here last week about big opportunities for both certification and employment in the general areas of big data, data science, data analytics, and so forth. Since then, I've gotten lots of e-mail and several other items have posted that underscore my original contention that this is a niche ripe with potential long-term career value for IT professionals.
Lots of data to mine, connections to make, and opportunities to find gold among the dross.
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Since that blog post "Big Data and Data Analytics: Topics Ripe for Certification" appeared, I've talked to Jeff Sauro, the principal at Measuring Usability in the Denver area, and a former quant guy for Oracle, Intuit, and GE. He agrees that there are ever-increasing opportunities in the general areas of analytics and big data, especially for those with some mathematical inclinations and a working knowledge of statistics. He also sees broad applications for big data related skills and knowledge in business analysis, information security, software test and design work, and especially in the areas of usability and large, coherent sets of customer or population data. Even Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is tailor-made for statistical analyses and approaches.
Just yesterday, I ran across a report on smartplanet.com entitled "Ten tech skills you must have for a $100K salary." Upon closer examination nearly half of those job designations or focus areas based themselves in or around big data -- namely Hadoop, Big Data, NoSQL, and data warehousing -- and it's possible to see connections with big data in some or all of the other items called out in this story.
What's interesting is that a lot of this work deals with design and development of tools, as well as with working the analysis side of the street with existing (and ever-burgeoning) collections of big data. This tells me that many companies are counting on clever use of big data assets and sophisticated analyses to find competitive advantages and new opportunities in the marketplace. This sounds like a great niche in which to live and work, and likely to stay that way for the foreseeable future. "Evergreen" niches in IT are hard to find, so it's a good idea to jump into them when you come across them -- provided, of course, that they also suit your interests and proclivities. For my part, there's a lot to like about the big data world, so I recommend you look into it further to see what's up.