More Data Wrangler Jobs Coming into View

Susan Hall
Slide Show

Business Analytics: Shifting Hindsight to Insight and Foresight

Highlights from a study conducted by Deloitte on business analytics usage.

Here's another sign that Big Data is creating jobs: icrunchdata, a job site devoted solely to data jobs.


I've written before that analytics is a hot profession right now. Big Data's also about storage, but not just about storage, as my colleague Loraine Lawson has written.


While reading this Computerworld story on a Big Data discussion from the EMC World user conference, I made this list of issues mentioned:


  • What's the best way to mine data for important information?
  • Do you keep everything?
  • How can you keep everything cost-effectively?
  • How to effectively search and retrieve information for legal discovery and regulatory compliance requests?
  • How can you track who is using which data?
  • Where does data need to go?
  • Who is responsible for managing it?
  • How do you keep data in the correctly priced storage tier and as close as possible to the people using it?


That sounds like quite a few jobs to me.


Chris McNally, a storage architect at IT hosting company Sungard, was among those involved in the discussion. At his company, he said, to better learn how systems fit together, AIX and backup administrators are undergoing cross-training in storage area networks (SANs) and cloud storage. Meanwhile, James Lowey, director of network and computer systems at genome sequencer company Translational Genomics Institute, said its IT workers are required to learn how networks, operating systems and storage interact.


In the life sciences, especially, Lowey said, there's a tendency to keep everything, because you don't know what might be valuable at some later point. The article refers to the rise of a new role, data scientist, as someone who determines the value of the data the organization holds.


Database Trends and Applications explains that role a bit differently:

At its simplest level the data scientist merges the disciplines of data processing-such as programming and database management-with data analysis techniques that previously were the province of business analysts and statisticians. The value of data can only be unlocked by someone who has the ability not just to retrieve and process the data, but also to derive meaning and significance from it. And this analysis is becoming increasingly mission-critical as enterprises strive to improve their competitiveness by leveraging their unique information assets.

That article mentions commercial packages such as SAS and SPSS (now owned by IBM) are often used for statistical analysis of the data, but the open source "R" package is gaining fans as a capable and cost-effective solution.


Interestingly enough, in this article at Analytics magazine, writer E. Andrew Boyd mentions that college programs tend to center on either the SAS or IBM platforms, largely because of those vendors' efforts in establishing them. He writes of a number of disciplines being meshed together in these programs: math, statistics, business intelligence, computers, data, modeling, operations research and sometimes marketing. There's a lot of overlap and confusion over the amorphous nature of terms, but with rising demand for folks skilled in these areas, it will all work itself out.


The Database Trends article calls the data scientist role "a new and exciting career option for the modern IT professional." It looks to me like another of the "IT-business hybrid" jobs that analyst David Foote writes about.

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post

Post a comment





(Maximum characters: 1200). You have 1200 characters left.



Subscribe to our Newsletters

Sign up now and get the best business technology insights direct to your inbox.