Data scientist, named the best job in America for 2016 by the job site Glassdoor, is a mashup of traditional careers, from data analysis, economics, and statistics to computer science and others.
Although tech companies Microsoft, Facebook, and IBM employ the most data scientists (227, 132, and 98, respectively), according to a report by RJ Metrics, these professionals are also in demand in non-tech sectors. Kohl’s, AAA, and Publisher’s Clearing House are all searching for at least one on Glassdoor.
It's no surprise that most people who choose this career begin by studying science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)--subjects at the very core of innovation and emerging high-tech fields. The positive contribution these subjects make to the US economy and to the nation's competitiveness in the global high-tech marketplace are undeniable.
That's why so many students are enrolling in universities that offer STEM disciplines, like big data analytics degrees for example. The study of STEM subjects are tied to the fastest-growing industries, many of which lead to promising careers. These studies and subsequent employment remain male dominated; however, a push is underway in the IT industry to encourage females to focus on more technical studies.
Many careers of the future will rely heavily on big data analytics experts, who analyze and report data that is ultimately used as key factors in decision-making for businesses and organizations across various industries and sectors. According to the Computer Business Review, the big data market is predicted to grow to $46.34 billion by 2018 as more and more businesses adopt new technologies and a digital mindset.
Big Data Analytics Consultants
Big data analytics consultants can identify patterns and trends from the incredible amount of data that is created and stored on a daily basis. This emerging field allows businesses and organizations to interpret data and apply it directly to identifying business intelligence solutions. Consultants in big data analytics specialize in making data easier to understand and digest, allowing companies to react faster to trends and patterns that analysts identify.
Computer Systems Analysts
A study by Forbes showed that computer systems analysts with big data expertise increased by 89.9 percent in the last 12 months. These individuals are expected to possess skills in programming languages and tools such as Python, Linux and SQL. Computer systems analysts primarily leverage their knowledge of IT and business to improve the organization's computer systems processes. These individuals help the networks, and overall computer system, run more effectively and efficiently.
Metrics and Analytics Specialist
Individuals in a metrics and analytics specialist role understand and document the organization's requirements by analyzing and interpreting data from external sources. They also identify data required for extraction and work with other departments such as web development and IT to develop strategies for optimizing results, data models or compiling reports. Individuals in this role assist with research, development, monitoring and reporting. Several industries hire metrics and analytics specialists, including: B2B, B2C, healthcare, manufacturing, tourism, technology and finance.
The definition of a solutions architect is still evolving. Individuals in this role develop solutions that fit within an organization's structure in terms of information architecture, integration and high-level business solutions. As companies adopt newer technologies and processes, a solution architect uses a deep, tactical approach to analyze the variables to ensure that each initiative and project is within the scope. Solution architects address concerns and roadblocks within the organization's high-level projects by creating conceptual models, formulas and formal specifications.
For many companies, analytics is a key competitive resource. Companies across nearly every industry are collecting more information than ever before, and analytics associates are charged with identifying patterns and trends with the data. Analytics associates analyze data and provide practical insights that allow organizations to effectively make strategic decisions and drive results. Today's data goes beyond numbers; it is multifaceted and dynamic, blending both insight and technology.
According to Intel's Peer Research Big Data Analytics survey, organizations and executives concluded that big data analytics is one of the top priorities for businesses. Big data is pervasive in almost every aspect of daily life and a primary reason why many companies hire graduates with a big data analytics degree.
As STEM fields advance, the knowledge and skills needed to contribute to this growth are increasingly important, illustrating why so many colleges--and companies in need of skilled workers--encourage students to pursue STEM degrees.
Those who graduate from college with STEM-based degrees are almost guaranteed six-figure incomes with offers coming from multiple companies. Of course, if you feel like you're in a dead-end job in or out of IT and have the knowledge and education to fill a data scientist position, you'll likely have the same success or better than those coming straight out of a university.