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it roundup

The IT roundup: Spotlight on Big Data

March 01, 2015
By Vanessa Ulrich

Big strides for Big Data

Big Data is making the shift from a trend to an expected practice. The majority of IT leaders expect to spend more on Big Data initiatives this year, according to a new TEKsystems survey of over 200 CIOs, IT VPs, directors and managers. While the majority (61 percent) of respondents also expressed confidence in their ability to satisfy Big Data demands, there is still the other 39 percent who are neutral or unconfident. Being able to gather and analyze past and real-time data is no longer a competitive advantage, but a competitive imperative, and the benefits of Big Data initiatives are not limited to any one industry, sector or department. As the value of Big Data has become widely acknowledged and implemented, organizations have started to come together to develop common standards.

Last month, several key companies, including IBM, Hortonworks, Verizon and General Electric, announced a set of common standards for Hadoop, the open-source software framework used to store and process Big Data. The Open Data Platform aims to eliminate the fragmentation Hadoop users have experienced across products that package the platform. Each company will use the standards moving forwards, which will make it easier to create and integrate new products and apps, and to design training programs for users.

Hiring outside IT for Big Data

Architects, scientists and modelers ranked as the top three most difficult Big Data skill sets to fill—these relatively new job titles are critical to helping organizations build a sound data strategy to turn structured and unstructured data into information that can ultimately be used to make business decisions faster and more efficiently. These skill sets are also aligned to the biggest challenge organizations have when it comes to Big Data, making sense of the variety, or different forms of data, that are collected.

Jim Fitzpatrick, director of business operations at TEKsystems' Bloomington, Illinois office, has a lot of experience working with clients who have implemented or are planning to implement Big Data initiatives. He says the first challenge with Big Data is organizing and cleansing the available data so only what is correct and needed is inputted to the enterprise tool. This is a job for a very technical and hands-on skill set, as it involves accessing the data, organizing it and building dashboards for the business stakeholders.

The second challenge—analyzing and making sense of the data—requires a different set of skills, says Jim. Math and statistics experts are ideal for this kind of work. These candidates ideally have experience in the client’s industry as well as an analytical and pattern-seeking mindset. These professionals come in to assess what the data really means and why it matters to the business. This is also great news for diversity in IT, because about 40 percent of statisticians are women!

Looking for job opportunities?

Mathematicians and statisticians aren't the only skill sets that can transfer successfully to the world of Big Data. Whether you have a background in finance, economy, or you already work in IT, the right experience could make you a strong candidate. Listening to your career goals and helping you work towards them is part of our job. Reach out to the office in your market to get the conversation started today!

Want to learn more about Hadoop? Check out Big Data Planet’s set of Hadoop tutorials to learn more about Hadoop and useful prerequisites for pursuing a Big Data job.

Want to read more posts about IT? Check out Six alternative paths to a career in IT, learn how TEKsystems is Nurturing an unlikely pipeline of IT talent, or find out What is talent matchmaking?

As part of TEKsystems’ public relations team, Vanessa Ulrich reads everything she can about the technology industry and emerging trends. Vanessa blogs about where technology and society collide, giving context and commentary to top news stories. You can reach her with questions and comments @TEK_PR via Twitter.


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