Where Are the Big Data Jobs?

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A few months ago, Wanted Analytics issued a breakdown of the top 10 industries hiring Big Data expertise. Professional, scientific, and technical services came in first, with 25 percent of open job positions, followed by information-related businesses with 17 percent, manufacturing with 15 percent, and finance and insurance with 9 percent.

The prominence of manufacturing on that list—ahead of traditionally data-heavy industries such as education, health care, and finance—speaks to the rise of the so-called industrial internet, in which manufacturing processes and products are made “smart” by the addition of sensors and Internet connectivity. Think of airplane engines that can send wireless updates about their status, or production lines that “speak” directly to warehouses.

Unlike some other technology segments, Big Data isn’t an industry where somebody interested but relatively inexperienced in data analytics can plunge in and expect to learn as they go along. In order to become a data engineer, for example, a candidate must understand programming languages such as R and Python, have strong SQL skills and experience, and know their way around various types of databases.

Becoming a data scientist likewise takes a lot of prep work, although those who learn the skills will find themselves much in demand as corporate interest in analytics gurus continues to ramp up. A Master’s degree or even PhD in data science, predictive analytics, machine learning, and statistics is helpful, but employers also like tech pros who know their way around a database—taking a data-science boot camp or a few courses that delve deeply into software is also a résumé enhancer.

On Wanted Analytics’ list, the retail industry came in fifth, with 8 percent of open jobs, followed by administrative and support industries, wholesale trade, educational services, “other,” and healthcare and social assistance. Although those industries might not have the same number of open jobs as technical services or manufacturing, their collective need for data isn’t going away anytime soon.