What You Need to Do to Have a Career in Big Data

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Big data is a buzzword that has been tossed around a lot lately, but it has also become big business. More than 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created every day, and someone has to collect, store, secure and analyze all of it. Because of this rapid growth, the job market for big data is wide open.

Jobs in almost every industry require big data specialists. There are options in IT, finance, law enforcement, government, manufacturing, farming, retail, science, medicine, and technical services. Whether your interests lie in security and software development or even data management and storage, there is something to fit your skills and job preferences.

As technology continues to expand, this trend is expected to explode even further over the next five years, and there will be a huge deficit of qualified applicants. Now is the time to break into this multi-billion dollar industry where you could land the job of your dreams.

What a Career in Big Data Offers You

Depending on the specific position along with your skill and education level, big data jobs are very lucrative. Most pay in the range between $50,000 – $165,000 a year. Not only is big data a rewarding career that exposes you to the latest in technology, but it also provides a nice living for you and your family.

The top-tier jobs in big data are engineers, managers, and developers. Some other high-paying big data positions in demand are analysts, scientists, statisticians, and specialists. Engineers devise the architecture that houses and maintains the data. Developers write the programs that collect and organize data and monitor security.

There is a lot of variety in what you will be doing as an employee of big data depending on the industry you choose. For example, if you work in law enforcement, you may be writing code to search through thousands of criminal records or develop a new way to store fingerprints more efficiently. If you choose finance, you could be managing millions of bank accounts and analyzing figures. The options are endless.

Finding That Perfect Job in Big Data

There are far more big data jobs than there are applicants. So finding a job might not be a problem. Seeing the fancy titles might throw you, but they are often interchangeable. For example, the term “data analyst” might be the same as a data scientist or data architect. Don’t let the titles scare you off. Focus instead on the job description and what you will be doing.

If you already work in an industry and have some good experience, it might be easier to break into big data through your own organization. Put feelers out to see if the company needs someone in that department and if they offer any training or paid education. Hone your unique skills to set yourself apart. If you have specialized in a particular area of big data, highlight that when you apply.

Don’t be afraid to go outside your comfort zone and apply for something that might be a stretch. Some places will offer on-the-job training or pay to get you certified. If you have the background and the drive, they might give you a chance. Companies are desperate to fill the ever-growing spots they have open.

Skills That Work Well in Big Data

Most of the big data positions require a solid background in programming. You will need to be familiar with, if not fluent in the following languages: C, Python, Java, and SQL. If you want to be in analytics or statistics, you may need other specialized skills, but not coding.

You may also be required to have certifications in Hadoop, Apache Spark, and machine learning. You will need strong mathematics skills and be experienced in statistics and linear algebra, having some knowledge of security and cryptography help as well.

Creating the Perfect Cover Letter to go with Your Resume

Your resume and cover letter are a critical part of the job application process. The cover letter is of paramount importance and can either get you that interview or get you passed over. You cannot be too careful when crafting your cover letter.

Take your time and make sure your cover letter is written well and quickly engages the hiring manager. Start off strong by introducing yourself and connecting yourself to the company (which you have thoroughly researched). If you know the name of the recruiter, use it to personalize your cover letter in your salutation.

Make sure you read the job ad completely and then apply your skills and experience to how you can fit into that position. Show them how you can add value to their organization and be a part of the team. Keep your tone formal and professional throughout the letter. You can find online templates that provide you with the perfect format and outline style to use.

Interviewing Well

If you are well-prepared, interviewing for your big data job should be much less stressful. First, you will want to research the company thoroughly so you can ask educated questions and have knowledge about what they do. The interviewer will ask you what you know about the company. Also come prepared to tell your story, why you are interested in the position and all about your experience.

Dress professionally and bring with you at least two copies of your resume, cover letter, and references, typed up neatly. Prepare yourself with answers to commonly asked questions and specific insights about your field that might come up during the interview. Ask some good questions yourself; recruiters like to know you are curious and invested in more than just a job.

Practice your interview with a family member or friend so you can get all your nervousness out beforehand. After the interview, send a friendly follow-up email thanking them for the opportunity and expressing your continued interest. Be patient; sometimes it takes companies a while to wade through all the applicants and get back to you with news of the job.

Data Analytics as an Option

A career in big data is a recipe for long-term success. The more educated and highly skilled you are, the further you will go and the more in-demand you will be to employers. Consider going back to school for your master’s in business analytics. The higher degree will set you apart from the rest and punctuate your commitment to this field.

Plus, with a master’s you will be eligible for the higher tier positions that are far more lucrative than the entry-level big data positions. According to Maryville University, there is a shortage of “250,000 business data analysts and data scientists” in the industry. This deficit puts a premium on skilled engineers with master’s degrees.

If you are interested in a career in big data for the long-term, an investment in your education to bring you up to the master’s level will pay off quickly, and you’ll have your pick of the best jobs anywhere.

About the Author

Avery Phillips is a freelance human based out of the beautiful Treasure Valley. She loves all things in nature, especially humans. Leave a comment down below or tweet her @a_taylorian with any questions or comments.


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  1. I love your blog! I just wanted to leave a comment as I work as a recruiter for a Multi National Company in Berlin and Ireland. I am always on the look out for German speakers who are looking to get jobs. I would be happy to help any of your readers with their search when they move to Berlin. If any German speakers out there wanted to email me their CV to rachel@kaizenrecruitment.com

    Hope this helps someone! 🙂

  2. Very impressed with your overview on this topic! Thanks for your advice!

  3. Found this really interesting, thanks for sharing!

  4. Finally, there is this one article that explains in simple terms what Big Data job is all about!

  5. thanks a lot, found it really help full.