Any big data initiative is a major investment in time and resources, although the insights gained have tremendous value. There are many moving parts to any big data initiative, too many to master, which is why there is a growing market for big data consulting. Very few organizations have the expertise to manage all aspects of a big data project. That’s why more businesses are relying on big data consulting experts to ensure big data success.
Big data is a multi-billion dollar industry and as IDC forecasts, the market for big data technology and services will grow at a CAGR of 26.4 percent to become a $41.5 billion market by 2018 – that’s six times the growth rate of the IT market. Much of that growth is in demand for big data consulting services.
Big data consulting can be invaluable at each step in a big data initiative. From developing the initial big data strategy to final analytics, there is a need for hardware and software expertise, data scientists, programmers, analysts, architects, and a host of other consulting roles.
Depending on your expertise, your big data consulting contribution can have an impact at different points in the big data lifecycle. Here’s one way to look at the top big data consulting opportunities:
Big data project management – Big data is still a relatively new field so few experts understand the end-to-end process. Since there are a number of interrelated components to any big data project, someone needs to assume the managerial role to make sure the individual components are meshing smoothly. According to a new study by Wanted Analytics, demand for Information Technology Project Managers increased 123.6 percent in the last year. The ability to oversee a big data project from end to end is clearly a growth market and puts you in a position to orchestrate the entire project.
Big data solutions architect – The enterprise architect is now expanding his or her role into that of big data solutions architect. The big data solutions architect is a highly technical role that serves as the go-between business management and the technical team. His or her role is to help redefine the business problem or use case in terms that can be addressed by big data analytics. He or she also is responsible for assembling the hardware or software resources needed for the project, including data storage, virtualization, cloud services, massively parallel computing, etc. The big data solutions architect also should have a working understanding of Hadoop, SQL, and big data programming and data security.
Cloud architect – To reduce costs and shorten time to delivery, many big data projects rely heavily on cloud computing and storage. Instead of upgrading the data center and added more storage at substantial cost and delay, big data infrastructures are looking to the cloud for immediate, extensible resources. Cloud architects are responsible for managing these services, either as a purely hosted extension of the enterprise or a hybrid solution. In many industries where security falls under regulatory scrutiny, users are storing sensitive data on premise so cloud architects also have to be experts in managing a hybrid storage infrastructure.
Programmers – Big data programmers are always in demand. Hadoop is still the framework of choice for big data projects and Hadoop programmers are always needed. Python is also emerging as a big data programming language and demand for Python programmers is up 96.9 percent for big data projects in the last year.
Big data analytics – Big data scientists are still in short supply and will continue to be a scarce commodity for some time to come. Big data consultants with expertise to not only understand big data analysis but also present the results in a business context are in high demand. Big data analysts must be able to both manipulate the data and present the results in a context that creates insight and value for the organization. That requires a unique combination of technological skills and business acumen.
Vertical market experts – The whole purpose of big data is to reveal new patterns that will yield insights valuable to business. The more you know about the nature of the business, the better your insights. Vertical market experts can help shape big data use cases, identify data sources, spot market trends, and lend unique insight to a big data project. For example, retail is one sector that is seeing a huge benefit from big data. A retail market expert with expertise in merchandising, stocking, and supply chain will be able to see unique patterns because of his or her expertise.
These are just six of the big data consulting opportunities available. There is any number of ways to provide value to a big data project, depending on your area of expertise.