What are the job opportunities / roles available in the area of Big Data?
The roles are very fluid. Just a few year ago everything was about capturing, storing and processing data. Now this is largely a solved problem, and these functions will be automated and outsourced to generalized products. The growth is in data analysis and machine learning. I expect a rise of domain specific roles, like “marketing data scientist,” “UI/UX data scientist,” “sales data scientist,” etc.
What advice would you give to someone going into a Big Data position for the first-time?
Don’t get caught up with one technology, keep looking out for new things. Surprisingly, don’t concentrate on technology at all! Look for business value, try to be useful for the company.
What are the skills and knowledge expected of an Big Data professional
It is a very challenging job as you need to know many things. A traditional list includes programming skills, statistical inference, Big Data platforms, machine learning techniques, plus data visualizations and communication with business people.
But if you really want to challenge yourself, I would replace communication skills with the ability to preach Big Data, the ability to persuade people in your organization. In fact, the biggest risk for Big Data is to become a silo that only responds to requests for aggregated reports. You are aggregating all the value out! If you want to overcome it, you will need to be an evangelist of “decision-making with Big Data.”