Demand for Data Analytics Skills Rises Sharply

Dice Report January 2013

Though hiring managers are particularly interested in tech professionals with Java/J2EE development skills, the demand for data expertise has increased notably in the past year, according to a report released Thursday by Dice.

Last year, the need for data analysts and analytics skills didn’t even make the top 10. But in the latest survey, they were in the No. 4 spot. It makes sense, considering that more businesses are using Big Data as a strategic tool. For example, game companies are harnessing analytics to understand users’ behaviors and play trends, utilities are expected to spend $20 billion a year on analytics by 2020, and researchers of all types, from marketing specialists to economists and urban planners, want to more deeply analyze data generated by smartphone users. (On Dice, the number of Big Data job postings tripled year on year.)

Back to Java: This is the second consecutive year that Java and J2EE developers are in the most demand. The closer to the application they are, the stronger the job market. In fact, one in five job postings on Dice included the word “Java,” or showed a need for some form of Java knowledge.

19 Responses to “Demand for Data Analytics Skills Rises Sharply”

  1. Dawn, you mentioned that one in five postings on Dice included the word Java. How many of these postings were truly Java related, rather than listing Java as one possible nice to have but not required skill?

    • Dawn Kawamoto

      Hi Daniel,

      While the data wasn’t broken out in that particular way, this may provide an answer to your question. On any given day, there’s more than 17,000 Java jobs listed on Dice. Roughly one third of those jobs have Java in the job title, which seems these jobs are more than just a “nice to have.”

      Hope that helps,


    • Hi John, and thanks for your note. In this case, “Your” is the correct word, since it’s not about an action. If we’d used the contraction, the sentence would essentially read “In you are hiring…” . A sentence beginning with “If” would need “you’re”, though. (I’m just being a word weeny here. Sometimes I can’t help myself 🙂 )

    • jelabarre

      I’ve been wondering that too. It looks like an interesting field, and something I could (theoretically) do quite readily. But we need to know how to present ourselves for it or get training if necessary,

      • Surajit Baruah

        I feel it will be easier those are having background in Social Science / Statistics / Mathematics. With this background having good exposure exposure in database management will give good start.

  2. Hi Dawn:

    I found your article very interesting. I’m current looking at updating my skills and was wondering what you would suggest for further training for data analysts and analytics skills. I have a background in BA/PM work which I think would fit nicely, but would be interested in your take for specific data “diving” training.

  3. Demand for Data Analytic Skills Rises Sharply WHY?

    Computers are invented approx 20 years back, from beginning we have 1 data and then 2, 3, 5, 100, 1000, million, billion………… so we need to keep most important data? when ever we required we to analysis, so “Data Analytic” skills is most important. this is the real thing now every one is focusing “BIG DATA”.

  4. I am a Data Strategist, which is a data analyst on steroids, so I think I can help with the questions a lot of folks have about what “data analysts / analytics” skills are needed. Some are hard skills and others are soft. First, my background is in social science, where a lot of data is collected for research purposes which lead to papers and presentations. This compliments what businesses are looking for today.

    The explosion of data has given rise to tools to harness it, making certain data forerunners (like Google and Facebook) a lot of money. This has made the power of using data to make business decisions more prominent than it once was, which is probably why data is the new thing. The skills you need to make sense of data are varied, but the following is a laundry list that should give you an idea about what is needed (and I don’t have all these):

    The primary skills are data curiosity and data intelligence, which are soft skills that are hard to teach. When you look at the output of an analysis do you ask the right questions? If garbage was output would you detect it? If I described a product or service, could you determine the types of metrics that should be collected, how to present those metrics, and what metrics should be shown daily versus quarterly? You have to have this innate curiosity and connection with data to catch most problems early and to capture the right data for analyzing.

    Data Collection: ability to define what needs to be collected and how it should be collected. This includes architecture, strategy, storage etc. – a good understanding of relational databases is useful here.

    Data Cleaning: Once collected data is often in the wrong format for your analysis, has missing values, has wrong values – you need to be able to clean the data. This is where programming tools come in handy, but only if you have the understanding of what is wrong with the data to begin with.

    Data Access: Once cleaned you need to access and run your analyses. Excel, SQL, Hadoop, Hive, Pig, Python, R and other tools are useful here depending on the data you are accessing.

    Data Analysis: A background in statistical analysis is quite helpful here, though a lot of analysis is really just descriptive statistics (like bar charts or scatterplots). Excel, Python, R are helpful tools.

    Data Interpretation: Once you have your analysis, you need to interpret it and turn it into something others can understand, so you must have the skill of taking output and turning it into words. You also need to be a teacher, an enabler, and a communicator – your audiences will vary widely and all of them deserve an explanation at their level of expertise.

    Often you will work with a team that brings all these skills together, but at the core you have to care about data, about extracting information and insights from piles of (often messy) log files or other data collection methods. You may be working with data that was collected for one purpose to answer other questions. Ambiguity is the norm, and suspicious results are normal – being able to tackle those issues makes you a priceless member of the analytics team.

    Hope this was helpful…

  5. I think this article was too short (which seems to be quite a trend now) and it does not address the reality of the tight, brutal job market out there. You can have all the education, study, and/or training in these fields and it will still be quite difficult to get a full-time position with pay and ‘tenure’ to keep you in the black (or out of personal debt) for very long.

    Certainly not seeing many entry-level or internship positions in analytics or “big data”. You need experience working with large data sets and the expensive corporate tools, equipment, and personnel that can be difficult to access. Many don’t have or can’t afford tools/access.

    It’s all about automation, consolidation, and doing more with less people. Robotics and AI are catching up very quickly.

    And I’m concerned about those folks coming right out of school/college or those making a midlife career transition who have had useful, related skills in IT, but not enough to “cut it”.

  6. I have 20 years experience in Microsoft Access programming, working for a major newspaper who has recently downsized, What can I do to assure my success in the Data Analytics field with another company. Is SQL enough?

    • Steven Gara

      SQL is the lifeblood of any true programmer. There is no way around it and with every single major database using some form of SQL, it’s never going to die but rather just have more variations, very much like different languages…already we see that. SQL + for Oracle, Ansi SQL, Proc SQL for SAS, T SQL for MS SQL Server and the list goes on and on…I will say that Access is dead…forget MS Access and move onto Oracle or SQL Server and you’ll probably never get downsized again…

  7. Steven Gara

    Not surprised that Analysts are in #4 position. I’m a CBAP Certified Sr. Business Analyst for a major healthcare company and work with the Analytics Team. Analysis and Programming of our teams combined to save $79 Million for the company just in 2012 alone so obviously one can see the benefits of having such skills and why they pay as well as they do.

    I have both some programming skills but my interests are in analysis and I work specifically with Business Intelligence. I believe having both the programmatic and analytic skill sets can set one far above the rest. In my previous experiences the skill sets between programming and analysis were generally separate or they called you “programmer analyst” although programming was still key. Now with a separate body of knowledge for analysts, they have been able to create a unique niche for themselves yet also still be broad enough where the skills for analysis will always be in demand. Also, the combination of both skill sets is not common. Many programmers out there do not make good analysts and conversely there are many analysts out there who don’t make good programmers but both skills are becoming more critical and hence intertwined.

  8. Markose P

    Interesting article Dawn!
    I have an 8 year background in RF Engineering (statistical analyses of network performance data and network optimization based on it). And I’ve been thinking about getting into something different and more interesting. I have reasonably good experience in Excel and SQL.

    How do you suggest I get into Data Analytics? Any specific field where I should search, any analytics tools I can learn to boost my resume?