Are we looking at a Brighter Future for BIG data practitioners?
Depending on whom you talk to, around 1.5 – 6 million (or more) new careers will be created in BIG data over the next 3 years. It is estimated that nearly 2 million of these jobs will be added in the United States, while the other 3.5 – 4 million will be dispersed around the globe.
According to Peter Sondergaard, Senior VP at Gartner:
“By 2015, 4.4 million IT jobs globally will be created to support big data, generating 1.9 million IT jobs in the United States,”
Currently, worldwide IT spending for 2012 is on track to meet or exceed the $3.5 trillion mark. As if that wasn’t amazing enough, this figure is being projected to increase to by as much as 3%-4% next year! The point is, this is a great time to be in IT, particularly BIG data. However, it seems that there might be a slight problem; we’re facing something of a “shortfall” when it comes to qualified / certified personnel in this area.
If you’re already “knee-deep” in an IT career, you should strongly consider moving toward BIG data. Why, you ask? Given the complex nature of BIG data management, it makes more sense for those who already have some experience with databases, storage and cloud technologies to simply “shift” to BIG data. Simply put, BIG data offers more stringent challenges than other current career paths (and perhaps bigger rewards as well). To put it another way, bringing fresh faces to the field of IT tends to be much easier than that of BIG data.
Because we’re talking about a relatively new field here (BIG data), there are many knowledge gaps and unanswered questions. For example, technologies like Hadoop are helping us to break down analytical walls and begin extracting value from BIG data pools, but even this technology isn’t fully developed / explored (as of yet). Naturally, as we add more active careerists in the BIG data field, so will the list of potential solutions and approaches expand. But that’s a future concern; right now, we need to concentrate on making sure that we are meeting the growing demands of BIG data itself.
For those with strong technical skills, creative vision and a knack for intense problem solving, BIG data should actually be considered a godsend. Without a doubt, some individuals and organizations are going to benefit greatly from the growing importance of BIG data. Currently, large corporations are looking at data pools with big dollar signs in their eyes, extremely eager to tap into the hidden value in what is quickly becoming known as new “natural resource”. Why the term natural resource? Well, the fact of the matter is that data aggregation is increasing on an exponential scale. Likewise, in accordance with Moore’s Law, the overall abilities of hardware (and perhaps even applying to software now as well) are increasing at a breakneck pace.
In other words, the tools required to handle extremely large pools of data are being developed and will eventually become more affordable. So, while the data stream continues to flow and expand, the costs associated with managing and analyzing it are shrinking; naturally, this is going to have a direct effect on the value of BIG data careers. The truth it seems is that the value of human labor in this equation might very well spike to new highs, especially given the tendency for competition in hardware manufacturing to drive down prices.
Additionally, as newer, more advanced types of analytical technologies are developed which would allow us to extract even more value from BIG data, more and more large businesses are going to jump on board. This translates directly into increased demand for skilled workers and larger salary increases for those who actually possess some degree of skill in BIG data.
At this particular point in time it’s not necessarily a question of whether or not there will be BIG data jobs; more like, how many people are going to be first in line to take them? All of the forces and elements are in place to propel this exciting new sector of IT into the limelight. Those that are interested in BIG data are still in good shape though, because we haven’t seen a massive increase yet (so there’s still time to get in on the big “feeding frenzy”).