How to secure a job in Big Data


Rahim Hussein from Simul-Fortes, Big Data job recruitment specialists, provides some insight for those looking to secure a great Big Data job.

Big Data is big news. Every day it is estimated that we produce 2.5 quintillion bytes of information. Big Data specialists are tasked with the capture, analysis, and interpretation of this data in order to help organisations reach their goals. From retail to healthcare every sector wants to make the most of Big Data.

Gartner predict that Big Data will create 4.4 million jobs globally by 2015. However, as a jobs market it is very immature, which is a challenge for those looking to hire people for Big Data jobs and also those looking to secure a great Big Data job as it is relatively untested.

So if you are considering a career as a Data Scientists or Data Analysts, these are things that you can do in order to secure a job in this growing field:

Education counts

Typically Big Data jobs require at least an MSc, but most employers want a PhD. When selecting your course, make sure you research what universities are currently offering, as many are developing new courses to meet the Big Data market.

Courses offered include:
MSc in Machine Learning at UCL,
MSc in Advanced Computing – Machine Learning, Data Mining and High Performance Computing at Bristol
MSc Web Science and Big Data Analytics from UCL
MSc in Data Science & Management at Imperial College

Keep your skills current

The Big Data world is evolving rapidly. Obviously, candidates with current technical skills will appeal to employers more than those with less experience. If you have gaps in your skills, invest time in increasing your knowledge.

The good news is that there are many free courses available that will enable you to increase your skills base including:
http://bigdatauniversity.com/
https://www.coursera.org/course/algo
https://www.coursera.org/course/bigdata

Skill requirements can include NoSQL databases, Hadoop and related technologies and MapReduce and its implementation on differing software platforms. Big Data roles also need a good knowledge of mathematical languages like R, Functional and OOP languages such as Erlang and Java and scripting languages like Python.

Be curious

Employers often mention their desire to employ somebody who is curious about data. Big Data isn’t “just” about crunching numbers, but about using your curiosity to find out what Big Data can deliver for the organisation. You will need good examples of where curiosity has delivered results, either in work or in your studies.
As Duncan Ross, Director of Data Sciences at Teradata has said to us about the ideal Big Data candidate:

“The first and most important trait is curiosity. Insane curiosity. In many walks of life evolution selects against the kind of person who decides to find out what happens “if I push that button”. Data Science selects for it.”
Develop your network

The Big Data world is already well connected, so ensure that you are part of that by following the relevant people on social media, connecting through LinkedIn and attending networking/learning opportunities. Sometimes employers do not exactly know what sort of Big Data job they are looking to fill; a chance meeting at a networking event could result in a great opportunity!
Horizon scan

As the market for Big Data jobs grows, you need to keep aware of what employers are looking for. Download job descriptions of jobs you are interested in and those you might be interested in the future to help you spot trends in technology and skill requirements.

Good luck!

Organisations are starting to realise that Big Data requires specialist skills. There are great opportunities for those with great data and analytical skills – good luck in your search.

About Simul-Fortes:
Simul-Fortes is a recruitment consultancy that specialises solely in candidates from leading Universities with a Technical or Mathematical background – typically Oxbridge, UCL, Imperial and other top global universities. We recruit from graduate level through to senior roles.

Essentially, we find the best candidates with either technical or mathematical backgrounds and from this pool of excellence are able to fill any Technical or Analytical role. We specialise in Big Data roles like Data Scientists.

Contact details: 
r.hussein@simul-fortes.com

@SimulFortes - http://simul-fortes.com/

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  • Alex Kashko

    I liked this article. It was very clear. I am in the process of trying to change from a Java developer to a Data Scientist. This is in a way a regression to my PhD studies in Theoretical Physics, Masters in mathematics and my early career analysing telemetry data. An added complication is that I have been a contractor for 12 years. Still with luck I may end up working at CERN analysing their data and on a decent salary.

    It would have been nice to have had a few words for career changers rather than those at the start of their career.