December 12, 2014

What Skills Are Needed by the Big Data Specialist?

WALTHAM, MA | EDC’s Oceans of Data Institute (ODI) announced today the availability of a detailed profile of the skills and knowledge needed to be successful as a big data specialist in a wide variety of fields. As more and more industries seek to leverage big data and create thousands of new jobs, the profile marks an important step forward in preparing students for the skills they will need to join this expanding workforce. 

Developed by a panel of education, science, and big data experts and endorsed by more than 100 big data professionals, the profile cuts across industries to identify the skills used by big data-enabled specialists to solve diverse challenges, from search engine analytics to medical informatics. The profile points to the essential skills such as analytical and critical thinking, problem solving, application of statistical methods, and knowledge of algorithms.

“This is a first-of-its kind effort to articulate at this level of detail what big data specialists actually do, and to identify the specific skill sets needed for a career using big data,” said EDC’s Ruth Krumhansl, director of ODI. “The market for specialists is growing as big data analytics becomes a necessary feature in an increasing number of fields.”

The profile was drafted by representatives of technology companies, government agencies, and universities using a formal evaluation process known as DACUM. The results were then reviewed and validated by big data professionals representing more than 15 industry sectors, from criminal justice to marketing to the sciences.

The release of the profile represents an important milestone for ODI, which seeks to help educate professionals equipped to manipulate, analyze, and unlock the potential of big data. The profile was developed primarily to identify the central skills for a career in big data and to inform decisions by businesses, community colleges, universities, and K–12 schools about curriculum, trainings, and courses to best equip students and the future U.S. workforce.

Read the full profile or learn more about the panel of experts.

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