Everyone is talking big data and analytics at the moment, but how does your organisation get involved and benefit?
I think its fair to say some of the skills for big data are similar to those for analysing traditional data – an individual would need a statistics background, to be capable of understanding mathematical modelling, and be competent using software packages such as R or IBM SPSS. But, in addition, individuals might need parallel computing skills – to think and write in parallel code.
They’ll also need to understand and know how to extract value from unstructured data with its different formats and sources of information. For example, familiarity with natural language processing will help when seeking to extract meaning from large collections of text documents.
Acquiring these skills is becoming easier, academic courses are now available for individuals to learn new big data skills. UK universities such as University College London, University of Warwick and Sheffield Hallam are beginning to run MSc courses. Imperial College London and KPMG also partnered recently to establish the KPMG Centre for Advanced Business Analytics aiming to train 800 PhD students.
For businesses, it’s possible that they may already employ people with existing traditional data analytics skills that can be skilled-up further. If the big data project is simply a challenge of scale, i.e. a lot more data, its possible existing team members could manage the workload with help. If the project requires a novel mix of skills then organisations will need to look at recruitment of individuals or multiple people.