How to Become a Big Data Analyst

Big data analysis is a new and exciting field that blends marketing and IT knowledge. Those interested in big data analysis will find that the field encompasses many industries. While it does demand specialized knowledge, it’s also very flexible because it is still a relatively new career path.

What is a Big Data Analyst?

Big data is a quickly expanding field that requires the most current technological knowledge. Big data refers to the statistics that many companies acquire about such varied topics as demographics, employees, inventory maintenance or customer retention. Today, many companies collect more data than they can viably analyze. Big data analysis is a field that focuses on using tools to condense these extraordinarily large amounts of information into information that is clear, concise and actionable.

Graphics and charts are usually instrumental in synthesizing this knowledge into something that can be easily understood not just by statistics professionals but also by middle management and even lower level employees. While this field is still being developed, it is presently comprised of both marketers and IT professionals.

What Does a Big Data Analyst Do?

A big data analyst will usually work with certain software systems that aid them in the collection or consolidation of data. Some enterprise resource planning software systems already collect and visualize big data, but other companies will have multiple modules of program that need to be combined before the totality of their data can be viewed. Many of the most popular programs are on cloud architecture, and a big data analyst may be required to understand and troubleshoot this architecture.

Despite the technological requirements of a big data analyst, many of them are actually business professionals or marketing professionals. A truly successful analyst will usually have a blend of these two skills. Big data analysis demands that the professional not only be able to render the data in an appealing and understandable format, but also that they must understand the criteria by which the data is judged and which data is actually relevant to the company. As noted in the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Quarterly, a big data analyst might be called upon to look through large volumes of data to identify was to save customers money, or perhaps to identify customer trends.

How Do You Become a Big Data Analyst?

Since big data analysis is a relatively new field, there usually isn’t a specific career path for it. Those in big data analysis will often emerge into the field from a related field, such as statistical analysis, business management or IT systems analysis. A big data analyst will usually have a Bachelor’s Degree, but the degree may either been in a technologically related field or in a business related field. Big data analysts may become involved in the field through a specific company or as a subset of services offered by an IT firm.

Someone interested in becoming a big data analyst will have luck either applying to large corporations for their data analysis departments or through being hired with an IT firm. Developing a familiarity with common data analysis software systems, ERP systems and CRM systems is also an excellent step towards acquiring a professional position within the work. Those interested in government contracting may be excited to know that the White House is promoting some major big data analysis initiatives from within.

How Do You Advance as a Big Data Analyst?

A big data analyst can either advance within a company or move into other fields. Since it is a new field, there is not a specific path to promotion. Instead, increases in salary would be based on merit. Many analysts may be responsible for projects that are directly related to an increase in revenue for the company. In these situations, the analyst might find themselves acquiring larger projects and higher pay through prior successes.

Big data analysis has only been a growing industry since 2006 to 2007, and it only became a large topic in corporate structures in 2011. The salary expectations have not yet been set by the industry, and there is a lot of leeway in the actual responsibilities a big data analyst is expected to perform.

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