Looking ahead, Big Data skills are expected to be in big demand – but hard for employers to find the people who have them.
A CompTIA study released this week finds 43 percent of employers plan to hire people who already possess big data skills, while roughly two-thirds plan to invest in training for current employees. The survey queried 500 IT customers and 500 vendor representatives.
“As executives across the organization drive data initiatives, new roles may emerge that incorporate elements of IT, business analyst, researcher and behavioral economist,” Tim Herbert, Vice President of CompTIA Research and Market Intelligence, said in a statement.
The report found that Big Data requires cross-functional skills, ranging from mostly IT, such as data infrastructure, to mostly business, such as interpretation and visualization of IT skills.
As companies enter the world of Big Data, many recognize a need for new skill sets, requiring investments in training and development to avoid worker shortages. This report, however, does not answer a key question for workers and employers: “Does it make more sense to cross train IT-centric staff on the business intelligence/analytics/interpretation side of Big Data, or cross-train business centric staff on the technical side of data management and utilization?”
Big Data, Big Job Growth
According to CompTIA, the McKinsey Global Institute calculates the demand for Big Data talent will far outstrip supply over the next few years.
“By 2018, the consultancy estimates a shortage of nearly 1.7 million workers in the U.S. alone. This includes a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 workers with deep technical and analytical expertise, and a shortage of 1.5 million managers and analysts equipped to work with and use Big Data outputs,” CompTIA concludes.
Gartner, meanwhile, estimates 1.9 million jobs will be created to support Big Data by 2015.
“The obvious takeaway,” according to the report, is that “many U.S. businesses will be unable to fully take advantage of Big Data initiatives because of an inability to find workers with the right skill sets and experience.”
While CompTIA found in 2012 that traditional IT skills were valued more highly by employers than Big Data skills, the difference was slight and the organization expects Big Data skills to become significantly more valuable in coming years.