Along with the demand for big data, better data, and the need for greater insight into company operations comes the need for analytic professionals who can effectively leverage this data to maximize business benefits. But it's not always easy to find and hire these types of people. Within the past few years, we've seen titles such as BI Analyst, Data Analyst, Data Scientist, and Big Data Engineer emerge in job listings as companies seek out much-needed expertise to wrangle their growing amounts of information. As a matter of fact, McKinsey and Company's often-quoted 2011 report on big data predicted that by 2018, the US alone faces a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 people with deep analytical skills as well as 1.5 million managers and analysts to analyze big data and make decisions based on their findings. The bright side of this situation is that job seekers with analytic talent and business acumen have a tremendous opportunity to make a positive impact for business teams. BI is a growing field that shows no signs of slowing down, so let's take a closer look at what makes it attractive to job seekers as well as students deciding what course of study to pursue.
High demand for analysts
Survey findings and research analysts report that there is a national demand for people with specialized data analysis skills. No one (including me) is going to say that it's easy to get any kind of job in the US right now since we're still recovering from the recession, but data analyst jobs are by some accounts easier to come by since there's such a high demand. But there's a caveat: while many companies see the value of big data management to extract meaningful insight and to support better decision-making, the execution of this practice remains a significant challenge for many.
Here are two reasons why:
- Traditional BI and data analysis tools typically report on historical data, explaining what has happened in the business. With this type of analysis, business managers can only see what they should have or could have done to make things better. However, modern BI tools incorporate predictive analytics and are forward-looking, providing "what-if" analyses to anticipate future outcomes. These tools require a particular kind of analyst – one with the expertise to ask the right questions and present results in ways that make sense to decision-makers. If you're this kind of analyst, you'll be in demand whether you're a recent grad or a long-time analyst.
- The sheer volume of data that companies generate on a daily basis has grown significantly in the past few years. More than ever before, analysts need to filter the noise and extract the data that matters. Academic courses in analytics are relatively new and appear to be a reactive approach to the demand for data analytics. This can put students at a disadvantage.
Because professionals with BI analytic talent are in high demand, their expertise is highly valued throughout the organization and they are compensated handsomely. Salary.com reports the national average for a typical entry-level business data analyst to be $56,051. That's with almost half of reported analysts having 1 year of experience or less.
In 2011, Forbes listed analytic and technology workers as having one of the top 10 best entry-level jobs, adding that "because these workers are in demand, they are more likely to receive higher pay and better benefits." And what's more – these skills often lend themselves to career advancement and upward mobility.
At arcplan, we're not hiring data analysts but we do have job openings for Solutions Architects. If you have an analytical mind, a background in object-oriented programming, and a high standard for excellence when it comes to meeting customers' BI needs, we'd love to hear from you.
Contact us to learn more about these opportunities for career growth in our rewarding work environment.