Where Are the Big Data Experts?

Big data analytics enable the most important business asset: information. Every business regardless of industry must plan to create a big data analytics function. It takes data-based decision making to a whole new level, helping drive efficiency, quality, and growth. Technology, platforms, and tools are evolving very rapidly, revealing a bigger issue: finding expertise and talent.

The roles of Data Scientist and Big Data Analyst only came into being a few years back. This means that it is unrealistic for organizations to expect that they will find a lot of experienced people to jumpstart their data analytics group immediately. According to the EMC Data Science Study (December 2011), 65% of data science professionals believe demand for data science talent will outpace the supply by 2016.  And in Big data: The next frontier for innovation, competition and productivity (May 2011), McKinsey Global Institute concluded that “By 2018…the United States alone faces a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 people with analytical expertise and 1.5 million managers and analysts with the skills to understand and make decisions based on the analysis of big data.” Over time, this situation will change.

Starting around 2009, executives at EMC recognized that big data analytics would be the next major frontier our customers would face. Several initiatives were launched throughout the company. At EMC Education, we brought together a small, highly curious team of experts to start learning and designing programs that would help develop skills and expertise in big data. We introduced comprehensive ‘open’ curriculum-based training, introduced a formal certification program, developed leadership training and started discussions with major schools across the world in our Academic Alliance program. Many businesses as well as technical schools have since introduced new programs based on these courses.

The next big challenge was to write and create a textbook to make our knowledge available to a larger number of professionals and students globally. The experience of bringing together our last book, Information Storage and Management, helped in creating our newest one: Data Science and Big Data Analytics. Published by Wiley, this book is now available in bookstores and online.

We have also developed a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on ‘Data Lakes for Big Data’ that will be starting in May 2015. This four week MOOC will teach the concepts, skills, and solutions needed to use data science to advance plans and execution.

Data Lakes for Big Data MOOC

Transformation led by cloud, social, mobile, and big data is challenging and exciting. These trends are encouraging rapid innovation and skills development. Big Data in particular is bringing new ways to look at your business and differentiate from others in the market.

About the Author: Alok Shrivastava