7 tips for finding big data talent


SAS has long believed that demand for people with analytics skills will continue to grow - especially given the big data challenges ahead. In fact, we love the way that Google's Chief Economist Hal Varian talks about this explosion in growth:  statisticians will be sexiest job of the next decade.  This week, InformationWeek released the InformationWeek 2012 State of IT Staffing Survey which not only backs these assertions but also confirms our belief that this hot commodity is and will continue to be scarce.

InformationWeek surveyed practitioners, vendors, and educators and found that "40 percent of 108 respondents to [the] InformationWeek 2012 State of IT Staffing Survey who cited big data and analytics as one of the top two areas of staffing increase over the next year say personnel will increase by 11 percent or more during the next two years. And 18 percent say they'll increase staffing by more than 30 percent."

Doug Henschen, the Executive Editor of InformationWeek, shared seven tips for finding analytic talent:

  1. Find and train existing talent in skills and industry expertise to expand your capabilities. Check out training opportunities including online courses, conferences, webinars and vendor certifications.
  2. Offer tuition-assistance programs, or pay and rank incentives, to encourage those who want to retain - 65 percent of respondents say they have implemented programs like these.
  3. Use your internal talent more efficiently. "Dow Chemical, for one, has successfully reassigned many of its PhD-caliber employees from R&D to work with business units on operational challenges such as optimizing supply chains, logistics, purchasing, and pricing."
  4. Move your organization –  or open a satellite office – to locations where there are large populations of analytic talent.
  5. Snatch up graduates.  "Degree programs in the big-data-oriented discipline of machine learning" are offered at Carnegie Mellon, California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo and the University of California at Berkeley." (I've also heard many presentations and comments from existing SAS users who say that you can look outside these programs for real talent: look for graduates who are strong in mathematics and science. You can train the analytic skills.)
  6. Steal experienced talent from other companies. To inspire this experienced talent to make the move, survey respondents say that you must provide a challenging environment where innovation is encouraged and training, top notch colleagues and the latest in technology are available.
  7. Keep an open mind. Today's analytics geniuses make not look and act the same as the current entrenched experts.
Read the entire article for more insight into how you can find talent to fit the new era of big data.

Do you have more tips for finding and keeping talent? What would you expect a company to offer to encourage you to jump ship - is salary more important or environment?

Tags big data

About Author

Waynette Tubbs

Editor, Marketing Editorial

+Waynette Tubbs is the Editor of the Risk Management Knowledge Exchange at SAS, Managing Editor of sascom Magazine and Editor of the SAS Tech Report. Tubbs has developed a comprehensive portfolio of strategic business and marketing communications during her career spanning 15 years of magazine, marketing and agency work.

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