Data analytics jobs have been well paid and in high demand for some time.
The “IT Skills and Certifications Pay Index” by Foote Partners shows that such skills often merit a pay premium, and the average salary of these specialists has been steadily rising. Among the high-paying areas currently are risk analytics, big data analytics, data science, prescriptive analytics, predictive analytics, modeling, Apache Hadoop, and business analytics.
But data analytics is a broad term. It encompasses business intelligence (BI) and visualization as well as the application of analytics to other functions, such as IT and cybersecurity.
Here are some of the five top trends in data analytics jobs:
See more: The Data Analytics Job Market
1. Basic Skills are Not Enough
Experience or certification in a specific programming language or analytics discipline used to be a passport to good jobs. It will still gain people some positions, but they need more if they hope to move up the pay scale.
“For analytics professionals, listing proficiency in SAS, Python, or R may get someone past the initial HR screening, but that’s about it,” said Sean O’Brien, SVP of education at SAS.
Data analytics candidates need experience, certification, and other human skills to succeed in today’s market.
It used to be enough to crunch some numbers and then tell the business an outcome or prediction using regular language.
These days, executives demand more. A top trend for data analytics jobs is the increasing importance of communication skills and storytelling. The rise of chief data officers and chief analytics officers is the clearest indication that analytics has moved from the backroom to the boardroom, and more often, it’s data experts that are setting strategy.
“The ability to make analytics outputs relatable to stakeholders across the business will set them apart,” said O’Brien with SAS.
“It’s not enough to be able to clean, integrate, and analyze huge amounts of data. Analytics pros have to understand how data and analytics directly support business goals and be able to communicate the story the data is telling. They need to be able to not just present trends and reports but communicate their meaning.”
3. Cybersecurity and Storage Analytics
Cybersecurity trends apply to data analytics in two ways: Analysts need to be aware of and possess some security skills if they are to keep their platforms and models secure. But perhaps even more importantly, analytics jobs are becoming available in greater frequency in security. Analysts are needed who can unlock the vast troves of data available in system logs, alerts, and organizational data to find the potential incursions and isolate threats.
“Flexibly and securely viewing trusted data in context through shared applications across an industry ecosystem also enables process and governance improvement,” said Jeffrey Hojlo, an analyst at IDC.
Storage, too, has transitioned into the analytics arena. Storage administrators are spending less time managing storage devices and more time managing data. This entails being more strategic about data mobility, data management, data services, and delivering the foundation for generating value from unstructured data.
“Storage administrators must leverage analytics about files, such as types of files, access times, owners, and other attributes,” said Randy Hopkins, VP of global systems engineering and enablement at Komprise.
“This knowledge will allow them to manage data throughout its life cycle from creation to deletion and in a way that looks across storage and clouds to deliver the best bang for the buck as well as the best performance for distinct workflows and departmental needs.”
See more: Top Data Analytics Certifications
4. Risk Analytics
Risk is a hot area across the business world. And it is up to risk management and risk analysts to identify, analyze, and accept or mitigate any uncertainty that may exist in business or investment decisions.
A variety of tactics are used to determine risk. For example, a common tool is known as standard deviation, which is a statistical measure where data is plotted around a central tendency. Management can then see how much risk might be involved and how to minimize that risk.
Those skilled in modern risk analytics are now in greater demand, as the risk management field transitions from manual or traditional methods. Accordingly, risk analytics and risk assessment jobs rose by 5.3% in value over a six-month period, according to surveys by Foote Partners. This form of business intelligence exploits structured and unstructured data as a way to model scenarios and outcomes and provide insight into potential fraud, market risk, credit risk, financial risk, supply chain risk, and other areas of risk.
5. Big Data Analytics
As a sign that there was definite substance to the hype around big data, Foote Partners notes that big data analytics jobs continue to be in demand. They have risen in value by 13.3% over a six-month period.
Big data analytics sits at the crossroads of many BI and analytics disciplines. Traditionally, analysts would attack small subsets of structured data and then present their findings. Gradually, larger data sets were added as compute and memory resources became more available.
Today, analytics needs to be applied not just to structured but to unstructured data. Big data analysts, then, can use advanced analytics techniques on huge data sets that include structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data from many sources. Their insights fuels faster decision making, make it possible to create more accurate models, and offer prediction of future trends with a higher degree of accuracy.