Data pros, it's time for a skill up with analytics!

by Sohini Bagchi    Nov 11, 2013

data scientists

In the era of big data, analytics is considered to be the biggest game-changing opportunity for businesses across various sectors. Gartner predicts that over 44 lakh IT jobs will be created globally to support big data by 2015. Despite the various activities around big data, there is still a significant shortage of skilled professionals in this sector - who can truly be called Data Scientists, who can evaluate business needs and impact and write the algorithms and program platforms such as Hadoop, believe analysts. In such as scenario, the industry and academia should support IT professionals to acquire advanced skills in data analytics to cater to the growing demand of this market.

The must have skill sets

To overcome the current situation of shortage of specialists in this domain, various professional institutes and organizations are offering classes on analytics, many of them to be conducted online. A number of courses in Hadoop and big data tools and technologies are also available online.

At an entry level, the basic data skills that are in demand include Java, .NET, Oracle, PHP, HTML5 and testing. Specialists in hardware and networking are also in demand. In other words, the new hires are expected to be well-versed in software engineering, business and system requirements management and software design, testing, quality management, configuration management and reverse engineering

However, companies demand more from the candidates to work and excel in an data-intensive environment. Tom Davenport explains in a report on big data in Harvard Business Review that data analytics involves testing and analyzing large, messy, unstructured data that is going to increasingly form part of everyone’s work. Managers and business analysts will often be called upon to conduct data-driven experiments, to test and interpret data, and to create innovative data-based products and services.

Beyond big data

Gagan Mehra, Chief Evangelist – Terracotta, Software AG believes that data analytics is not just about technologies and platforms. Developing a winning big data strategy is possible only when companies invest in the right people. “Enterprises need to see that the team is equipped to handle analytical tools required to process and recognize patterns in data and are also comfortable with business concepts and operations,” he says.

Udayan Bose, CEO of analytics solutions firm NetElixir, says for professionals in advanced analytics, a sound knowledge in digital marketing and technologies is absolutely necessary. This should start at the preliminary level, he believes. Bose states that analytics, e-commerce basics and digital should be part of every technology and MBA curriculum to reduce this gap. Unfortunately, management and engineering curriculums are still designed keeping in mind the technology and business trends of 90s.

The existing data base administrators should can also add value to the new big data environment, believe analysts. However, experts also point it that it is not only new skillsets in data analytics that is required. Data based administrators who have invested so much of time and resources in traditional RDBMS and SQL can also be retrained in their job keeping in mind the broader perspectives of big data analytics.

With the changing business landscape, there will be a greater demand of data analytics pros and data scientists – both traditional and emerging to meet this need.

It has been predicted by 2020, about 50 billion devices will be connected to networks and the Internet, which will inevitably open up an array of opportunities in data analytics. Therefore, it is time that data professionals get themselves educated and gear up to cater to the ever-growing market demand. 

(With inputs from Shweta Verma)