As an IT professional, it can be difficult to keep up with the ever-changing needs of such a fast-paced industry. One area of the technology field that is growing exponentially is data. “As organizations increase their use of technology across the board, they continue to gather more and more data surrounding every aspect of their business,” says Bryant Vargas, a Director within The Execu|Search Group’s Information Technology division. “Once they have this data, they need specialists within the IT field who can analyze this information and provide valuable insights for the organization.”
As organizations get on board with data analysis, the demand for these skill sets has increased rapidly over the last few years. “2017 will be no exception,” says John Carey, a Senior Technical Recruiter within The Execu|Search Group’s Information Technology division. “Professionals who have a handle on data analysis will be in a good position in the job market as organizations continue to add more resources for that field.”
In particular, there are several technical skills that have seen immense growth in job demand in recent years, according to Forbes. “A big trend in these top technical skills is data processing, which should be incorporated into any IT professional’s skill set” says Bryant. For IT professionals looking to stay up-to-date on the data skills with the highest demand, John and Bryant recommend brushing up on these 4 skills to boost your marketability in 2017:
- Big Data: Large organizations are collecting more and more information every year, and these large sets of raw data can’t be analyzed by traditional processing tools. “Specialists who are trained to handle large amounts of information to generate valuable insights and identify patterns can greatly assist an organization looking to make data-driven decisions,” notes Bryant.
- Apache Hadoop: Hadoop is an open-source framework for a programming language. The software library allows for the distributed processing of large data sets across clusters of computers using simple programming models.
- Python or R: Of course, Hadoop is useless if you don’t know the coding languages necessary to sort through the data. “Both languages, Python and R, handle the data processing, visualization, and machine learning,” says John. “And they’re the most in-demand of their kind, so you’ll want to be sure that you’re fluent in one of the two.”
- Tableau: Once data and insights are compiled, Tableau allows you to arrange and visualize your findings to present to other departments. “By communicating what you’ve learned to other parts of the organization, your colleagues can then make informed decisions to increase their revenue and productivity,” explains Bryant.
Gaining exposure and experience with these elements of data processing is not always easy, and it will require consistent effort to stay up-to-date. “Take ownership of your skill set, and make it a priority to learn the current trends in technology and data processing,” recommends John. Depending on your skill level, use the following strategies to continue learning:
- Take a class: “For those at the beginner level looking to expand their skill set, you might consider taking a class to get the basics,” says Bryant. “There are several lower-cost options like General Assembly, where you can learn from other professionals in a formal classroom environment.”
- Utilize online resources: “If you don’t feel like you need a class, but maybe just need to brush up, there are plenty of online resources and tutorials to get you up to speed,” explains John. “Tools like coding academies or even simple YouTube tutorials can tell you what you need to know. Additionally, you can find online communities of professionals like you through social media groups or online forums in order to learn from one another.”
- Ask for a new project at work: “Many professionals may simply be a little rusty and require some practice,” notes Bryant. “If you are ready to take on a project but don’t have the tools available to you, sit down with your supervisor to ask for a new project in order to brush up. When you do so, be sure to show how this project will benefit the organization.”
- Take a look at job openings: “If you can’t seem to get exposure through your current position, you may want to consider looking at other opportunities,” says John. “While these skill sets are increasingly in-demand by many organizations, businesses may use these tools differently from one to the next. If you’re looking for a specific experience, chances are there is a company looking for you.”