Friday, February 3, 2012

Big Data Hits the Big Time but at What Price

“What Are The Odds That Stats Would Be This Popular?” That was the question Quentin Hardy asked in his NY Times piece last Friday (01/26/12). If you’ve been paying attention to this blog, you’d know that the odds have been good and are getting better.

The real issue isn’t in the headline, but comes a couple of paragraphs down: “What no one has are enough people to figure out the valuable patterns that lie inside the data.” As Big Data becomes a hot news topic, the demand for skilled analysts is growing exponentially. That’s good news for new grads in the field and those who have some experience and are ready to move up.

But it’s a troubling fact for clients looking to meet their growing needs for quantitative specialists with
top candidates. It’s not a field for the faint of heart. Curricula in strong programs are rigorous and intellectually challenging for students. A quantitative mind will give you the leg up, and, as is true in many areas nowadays, a confidence in your computer skills will help you succeed.

A commitment to pursue an advanced degree in analytics is also important. A Master’s degree is often required for most jobs in businesses, and sometimes a PhD is preferred. There are excellent programs offering Master’s degrees, and as the visibility of this field grows, there have been a number of new programs emerging, such as:

• North Carolina State has offered a 10-month
Advanced Analytics program since 2006
• Northwestern
recently announced a new Masters of Science in Analytics
• The College of Computing and Informatics at the University of North Carolina is another young program

It’s important to note that the number of graduates from programs such as these doesn’t begin to meet even the current need, and many of our upcoming elementary and secondary students aren’t getting the
strong math foundation they need to compete.

The law of supply and demand will kick in eventually. What can you do in the meantime? Stay tuned here and we’ll keep you up-to-date on what’s happening. If you are a hiring authority, make short- and long-term plans for your hiring needs so you aren’t scrambling to fill positions in a tight, competitive market. And for our candidates, keep up your skills. Become and remain the best of the best. And as always, call us with questions.

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