An Upswing in Demand for Big Data Pros

Susan Hall

Though Gartner and others are predicting a huge demand for data analytics talent in the coming years, I’ve talked to recruiters who say that so far there’s a lot of talk about Big Data, but fewer clients seeking to hire in that area.

That’s changing, though, with data professionals ranked No. 4 on the list of hiring priorities for the coming year at Dice.com. Analytics talent didn’t crack the top 10 last year, but jobs for data pros have tripled in the past year on the site. (Full disclosure: I write for Dice.com, too.)

Others in Dice’s top 5 are no surprise: Java/J2EE developers, mobile developers, .NET developers and software developers.

In InformationWeek’s “2012 State of IT Staffing” report back in October, just 12 percent of companies ranked Big Data talent as one of their top two priorities. The overall view was that analytics pros would be hard to find and expensive to hire, making retraining part of the staffing plans for many.

In an interview with my colleague Don Tennant, author and futurist David Houle posed another possibility: that the work would be outsourced. He called Big Data one of the two biggest areas of job growth in the world — the other being health management. He told Tennant:

I think there will be third-party data engineering organizations that aren’t just aggregating data, but they’re analyzing how business can more rapidly deploy the data. This is a category of employment that is either freshly born or is still in the nine-month gestation. So Fortune 500 companies by 2016 will have a Chief Data Officer, and a half-dozen people who will report to him; or it will be contracted out to massively-parallel computing organizations that are “curating” the data, for lack of a better word. In a small company, the CIO may take on this task. So I think it will be everywhere. There isn’t anything that Big Data is not going to impact, significantly.



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