Why you should study Big Data

Companies have realised they need to hire data scientists, academic institutions are scrambling to put together data science programs, and publications are touting data science as a hot – even ‘‘sexy’’ – career choice. With new technologies and approaches appearing every week, it is virtually impossible to be an expert in everything. There is limited amount of time in the week, and many interesting subjects to learn more about. So why take the time to study Big Data? What are the reasons you should put Big Data and Data Science at the top of your priority list?

In this short post, we explain the 5 main reasons to study Big Data and discuss the value of Big Data for your organization and for you personally.

1. Data driven decisions provide a competitive advantage

Many studies have shown that data driven decision are more effective and more efficient than human-generated decisions. Big Data allows organisations to detect trends, and spot patterns that can be used for future benefit. It can help to detect which customers are likely to buy products, or help to optimise marketing campaigns by identifying which advertisement strategies have the highest return on investment. It is easy to see that organisations that ‘know’ more than their competitors, will outperform their peers in the long run.

One of the key business drivers behind Big Data is the ability to start data driven decision making. Data driven decision making refers to the practice of basing decisions on the analysis of data rather than purely on intuition. Instead of making a decision based on experience, the decision will be based on the best possible scenario. With data driven decision making, it is possible to know ‘sooner’ which products and services will successful, providing an opportunity to be first to market. Although many companies agree with this in theory, it is estimated that only 11% of organisations think they make significant better use of their data than their peers. Most organisations still have a long way to go.

2. Big Data provides a spring board for AI

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of the most desired areas of expertise in business today. What most people not realise, however, is that Big Data provides a ‘foundation’ for organisations that want to start AI projects. AI mostly builds on exactly the same techniques and processing capabilities that are required in Big Data organisations. Organisations that aspire to start using AI therefore greatly benefit from building a sound and structured Big Data environment first. After this has been set up, AI techniques such as cognitive analytics can be taken as next steps.

3. Big Data skills are in high demand

In line with the trends of Big Data in general, the request for skilled Big Data professionals is growing rapidly. At the moment, there is more demand than supply, which results in large increases in salaries and payment for people who have the required skill set. Major job opportunity platforms such as Indeed or LinkedIn, have been posting and increasing number of job postings looking for Data Analysts or data scientists. The demand for Big Data professionals with this particular skill set is on the rise while the supply remains low. This creates great job opportunities for individuals within this field.

As the demand steadily increases and the supply remains low, Big Data professionals are getting paid more and more. In India, as it stands today, data analytics professionals are paid on average 50% more than their counterparts in other IT based professions. This trend is evident across the globe as more and more companies realize just how important these professionals are to the organization.

4. Investments in Big Data keep growing

Many studies and surveys show that investments in Big Data keep growing, year over year. The International Data Corporation (IDC) that publishes the Worldwide Semiannual Big Data and Analytics Spending Guide indicates that Big Data-related hardware, software, and services are expected to maintain a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.9% through 2020 when revenues will be more than $210 billion. The increase in spending is a sign that Big Data is a trend that will continue in the next years, and that investing time to study Big Data is not just a short-term investment.

5. Studying Big Data will broaden your horizon

Last, and maybe most important, studying Big Data is a rewarding and (at times) fun investment of your time. The domain of Big Data and data analysis in general is full of puzzles to solve, and will greatly enhance your analytical skills and reasoning. The major domains of Big Data involve statistics and problem solving skills. Even if you don’t intend to make a career in Big Data, these skills are useful and highly practical on a day-to-day basis.

After you have been spending three to six months of studying Big Data, you will notice that you will start applying ‘Big Data’ techniques into your presentations or reports, because they provide a very solid basis for discussion and decision making.

Because in the end, data driven decisions will always outperform intuition based decision. So take one hour every day, and start studying the wonderful world of Big Data.