Big data jobs

As we’ve reported many times, tech and IT jobs are booming, and it’s not just in Silicon Valley. There’s a real need for more workers who have engineering, math and science degrees, and that’s driving our immigration debate as well.

Here’s an article about booming “Big Data” jobs in Cleveland.

With innovative hospitals and strong universities, Cleveland had been seen as a likely player in the quest to make sense of the sea of data, much of it health care-related, generated by digital technology. But local entrepreneurs from different industries are showcasing the potential sooner than expected.

Spun out of the Cleveland Clinic three years ago, Explorys already employs 85 people searching and organizing health care data and the prospects are as bright as its hip new offices in University Circle. Suddenly, economic development specialists are eyeing Big Data, and its potential for Cleveland, with new intensity.

The articles gives plenty of details on this trend and how the new health care policy to push to digitize health records will drive this trend even more. Think about how this will affect how doctors might diagnose and treat diseases as we learn more through data mining. This could also be a great career for doctors and nurses who love analyzing data and statistics.

CIOs plan on increasing IT hiring

Here’s some more good news on the technology jobs front:

Technology executives expect information technology (IT) hiring to continue in the fourth quarter of 2011, according to the just-released Robert Half Technology IT Hiring Index and Skills Report (http://rht.mediaroom.com/ITHiringIndex). In the latest quarterly survey, 12 percent of chief information officers (CIOs) said they plan to expand their IT departments, and 6 percent expect cutbacks, for a net 6 percent projected increase in hiring activity. This is up two points from the previous quarter’s projections.

The economy goes up and down, but if you have a degree in the technology area you have a good shot at being in demand throughout your career.

New jobs: Data Scientists

With the mountains of data being generated every day, companies are trying to mine it and make sense of it. The result is a booming job market in this area and a new career track for “data scientists.”

As part of a relatively new field, data scientists may come from many different backgrounds. Garrison says that employers are often looking for two things when considering a job applicant. “The first part is the technical background,” he says. Companies may want professionals with an industry background who are familiar with its specific jargon and trends. “If you want to work for a pharmaceutical company, you might need a degree in biochemistry,” he explains. Other jobs may require only a general degree in business.

In addition to the technical expertise, data scientists and competitive intelligence professionals also need to know where to find data and how to analyze it. Some colleges and universities offer graduate degrees or certificate programs in specialties such as data mining and data analysis. Professional groups such as SCIP also provide training opportunities for members.

Since data scientists spend a significant amount of time using computer programs and algorithms, it may seem logical that a computer science degree would be preferable for these professionals. However, many argue that a degree in physics makes more sense. Loukides writes that physicists not only have mathematical and computing skills but also an ability to see the “big picture.”

Daniel I. Shostak, President of Strategic Affairs Forecasting, has been tracking changes in the field of analytics for several years and says that those interested in working as a data scientist need more than just computer skills. “[They] need to demonstrate very good communication skills because many folks are very skeptical about the value of data driven analysis,” he said. In addition, Shostak suggests that potential job candidates become proficient in the statistical language R and have experience working with computer networks since they are often an integral part of working with large data sets.

As a hot new career, the government has yet to begin tracking data scientist occupational information. However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that demand for operations research analysts, who provide some similar services, is expected to jump 22 percent from 2008-2018.

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