The world needs more data analysts, according to a new survey by Dice (also known as Slashdot’s corporate parent). That in itself is unsurprising: the need to analyze data extends from the biggest of big enterprises to game studios and professional football teams. But it’s also a shift from previous years, when the need to analyze massive datasets didn’t earn much attention from corporate managers and executives.
Down to the numbers: When asked which talents or skill-sets topped their priority list for 2013, some 1,059 tech-focused hiring managers and recruiters placed Java/J2EE developers at number one, followed by mobile developers, .NET developers, data analysts/analytics, and software developers. That’s quite a change from the 2012 survey, when data analysts didn’t even make it into the top ten spots on the list.
Tech hiring is expected to grow through the first half of 2013, with 64 percent of hiring managers and recruiters indicating their companies would add workers; that’s down a bit from six months ago, which saw 73 percent of hiring managers prepped at add employees in the second half of 2012.
The need for more data analysts is tied into companies’ increasing reliance on insights from massive datasets. As far back as 2011, a report by McKinsey & Company’s Business Technology Office found that the need for data-analytics talent would exceed supply by 50 to 60 percent by 2018: “The United States alone faces a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 people with deep analytical skills as well as 1.5 million managers and analysts to analyze big data and make decisions based on their findings.”
More recently, research firm Gartner cited a need for more people skilled in managing and analyzing data. “The demand for big data is growing, and enterprises will need to reassess their competencies and skills to respond to this opportunity,” read its October research note, which made several other predictions about technology in the near future. “Jobs that are filled will result in real financial and competitive benefits for organizations.”
That shortage of suitable data analysts could translate into healthier salaries for those capable of crunching data. But for companies locked in competition with one another, poring through massive datasets for the narrowest sliver of advantage, the need for data and analysts could add a new wrinkle to their strategies.
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