Big Data: 5 Signs of a Successful Data Scientist

5 Signs of a Successful Data Scientist

In 2012, the amount of data forecasted to be created and stored will be a stunning 3.6 zetabytes. Based on the fact that last year’s amount of 1.8 zetabytes and that this amount will double per year, 2012 is set to be the year of Big Data. Unfortunately, the number of Big Data Analysts is still very small. Even with many professional outfits like EMC coming out with Big Data scientist certification courses, these often don’t provide enough of a background for those potential Big Data scientists or analysts looking to make big money in a field of large demand but low supply. Even more unfortunate is that big lumbering educational institutes are just not moving fast enough to churn out the right kind of Big Data Analysts.

If you are someone looking for a successful Big Data Analyst or looking to get into Big Data then these are 5 signs to look for:

  • Have a Masters or PhD
  • Know their math
  • Can program
  • Can communicate effectively
  • Are masters-of-none

Bigger Certs for Bigger Data

Generally, most Masters or PhD holders are familiar with the bigger picture. They are more inquisitive, more curious about finding the pattern amongst the chaos, which is a key factor for a Big Data analyst in finding the value from the swarms of Big Data. A Bachelor degree holder or even a Diploma holder may be able to do this but that would be more a case of talent and aptitude than nurture and experience.

Stats, stats and more stats

If you can predict the future with statistics, then your future in Big Data is very bright. Knowledge and experience in algorithms and probability with data matrices are key indicators that the person with these skills will be able to handle the massive amount of data that Big Data datasets have.

Know your tools

The main tools required to sift through Big Data datasets are mainly linked to programming. This means you know how Hadoop is implemented and can query anything from SQL fluently, fluidly and fast. Having experience in C++ is a good primer but the real winners will have worked on large datasets on their own utilizing the latest techniques and technologies.

Losing nothing in translation

Finding the correct numbers at the bottom line is now no longer enough to be the rock star Big Data analyst. You have to be able to communicate with the people who are going to work with it the most and do so effectively. Most of the time, this means a general knowledge of business along with some good public speaking skills. The rock stars will be able to boil down the Big Data soup to its most basic numbers and explain it in the most idiot-proof way possible without hurting anyone’s feelings.

Everything is related

Contrary to what most people think, specialists do not make very good Big Data Analysts. This is because data can come in from any given field yet still have some relevance to the greater whole. So rather than have a master specialist, you’re going to need a master-of-none while still being a jack-of-all-trades.

Equal opportunities

While most Big Data analysts point towards those with Computer Science backgrounds as being the most likely candidates, Business Intelligence students can still make a career as a Big Data Analyst. However, bear in mind that the amount of subjects to brush up on are a lot more for the BI student. The Computer Science student needs only to brush up on his or her statistical math skills but the BI student will have to learn this and how to program. BI students are more likely to communicate better though so this is one area that Computer Science students could focus a bit more on.

By Muz Ismial

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