As a global community, we are creating and sharing more information than ever before. And, most of that activity is happening "in the cloud," which is hosted on millions of servers in datacenters located anywhere from the Columbia River Gorge, to the Nevada desert, to the most remote areas of China.
As the reality of managing that level of data sets in, the demand for employees with a unique combination of analytics and IT management expertise is on the rise. With our newest event, CloudOpen , taking place this coming summer, we wanted to learn more about this demand and the areas we should address at this event and as part of our ongoing Linux training  program. So, we got in touch with Dice.com's  Managing Director Alice Hill. Her responses were very useful and we thought we'd share them with you, the community.
Linux.com: We've been reading a lot about an increasing demand for professionals with big data expertise. What's your take on the primary drivers behind this trend?
Hill: Every company wants more intelligence – more insights into customer behavior, emerging trends, cost structures, etc. Many firms have the data, but it’s unused, unstructured and isn’t easily digestible by managers to make decisions. If companies can develop this asset, it will give them an edge in the market and potentially influence customer behaviors.
Linux.com: What kinds of expertise are employers looking for related to big data?
Hill: Data architects, analytics professionals and data scientists are high on the list right now. Employers are requesting experience with machine learning, statistics, and natural language processing. Big data takes that foundation and marries that know-how to newer technologies like Hadoop and NoSQL  and other open-source tools/technologies.
Linux.com: You recently reported that demand for Linux talent hit an all-time high on the Dice.com boards. Do you see any parallels with the demand for big data talent?
Hill: About one-third of the “big data” jobs on Dice also request Linux expertise. The employment demand for Linux expertise is much more widespread and it’s really a core skill for technology professionals today.
Linux.com: We've heard that a big data expert is likely someone with a hybrid of expertise, including business and technical acumen. How are employers dealing with this challenge?
Hill: That’s true and we see more and more job postings on Dice.com that note an MBA is a plus. However, it’s not just the technology departments’ responsibility to gain business acumen. The line of business leaders need to have a willingness to dig into the technologies and ask questions when they don’t fully comprehend the back-end of getting the insights everyone wants.
For newer technologists, whether focused on big data or other areas, you should be able to “story board” what the business needs, contribute to the story, understand the financial analysis and deliver it in a way that is easily understood by any audience. This is where we should spend time teaching our less experienced colleagues.
Linux.com: What advice do you have for professionals seeking a career in the area of big data?
Hill: Focus on working with internet companies with consumer audiences – ecommerce, gaming, etc. Those firms have enormous data streams matched by a serious craving to use the data. Ultimately, though don’t fit your career into a trend – you should do what you are best at for real satisfaction.
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