Career Outlook

Big Data: Career Opportunities Abound in Tech's Hottest Field

Mashable, October 5

As big data continues to grow, companies around the world are on the hunt for data scientists and engineers with relevant skills, a shift experts predict will continue through 2014 and beyond. The hottest sectors for big data growth are advertising, financial services, ecommerce and social media, which correspond to the sectors with the highest opportunity for revenue. According to Dice, a few of the U.S. cities making the greatest number of big data hires include New York, Washington D.C., Baltimore, Boston and Seattle. The article includes a quick guide for both companies and job seekers seeking big data opportunities.

Currently, tech positions in big data are hard to fill because the demand is overwhelming and the talent pool is so small. It is difficult to find job candidates with the specific skill sets needed while balancing the cost of that talent. Companies need to ensure they can make money off of the data to justify offering candidates a large salary. The highest demand is for data engineers who can code, utilize data analytics and manipulate for marketing purposes. The newest role is for data scientists who can integrate big data into both the company's IT department and business functions. These positions are all within a salary range of $90-$180,000, depending on the individual role and experience. In the future, there will be hiring demand for big data-related positions in industries such as mobile, healthcare and financial services.

Big data job seekers should keep in mind that they have options. The market is strong, and this is a great time to be looking for employment. You have negotiating power when it comes to salary, benefits, and perks. Moreover, most job candidates can convert a contract or temporary position to permanent employment. There are more opportunities today than in the past few years to transition from a contract position to a full-time one. That being said, developing a strong portfolio of contract or freelance work can prove lucrative — you'll need to decide what option works best for your needs, goals and schedule. People with strong tech backgrounds on their resumes are being bombarded with offers and that means you can afford to be selective about the company you decide to ultimately join.

Careers in Data Science

Studies show that demand for true “Data Scientists” is skyrocketing (McKinsey Global Institute 2013, EAB 2013). Industry and government sectors are increasingly utilizing data analytics to revolutionize their business approaches.

Today’s data scientist requires a cross-disciplinary technical and scientific background that emphasizes mathematics, computer science, and business—the three core fields integrated into the WPI data science degree.

According to a recent market analysis report by McKinsey Company (McKinsey Global Institute), 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.

Data Science graduates leave WPI as professionals who have expertise in specialized areas such as data mining and warehousing, predictive analytics, statistical modeling, ETL, database infrastructures and data management, machine learning, and more.

Ready and able to make an impact, these graduates are finding jobs from Boston to San Francisco. The top-tier employers by industry segment include financial services, those in education, security, insurance, sciences, government, social media organizations, and large Internet retailers such as eBay and Amazon, Healthcare.