One of the most rapidly growing areas in information technology is big data. Big data can be defined as massive batches of data that can be captured and analyzed to identify patterns or predict trends, and nearly every growing space in the technology world - including the Internet of Things, cloud computing, data center virtualization and cybersecurity - will in some way be affected by it.
Likewise, a diverse array of businesses, as they continue to use technology that allows for rapid and vast acquisitions of data, will rely heavily on the potential benefits of big data. Contact center and customer support industries can evaluate customer service trends. Marketing firms can assess data regarding which advertisement campaigns led to the greatest number of conversions. Restaurant chains can locate and analyze the vast amount of feedback as it is generated across the Internet. Transportation services can identify trends in usage during certain times of the week. Retailers can make predictions about how well certain products will sell with store layout changes. The use cases for big data are nearly as endless as the amount of existing big data.
Big data's big future
Many industries are already implementing big data strategies that help convert massive amounts of information into actionable insight. However, these efforts are drizzles compared with the imminent big data storm. Globally, the big data and technology services market is forecast to reach a value of $48.6 billion by 2019, according to new research by the IDC. This represents a projected compound annual growth rate of 23 percent between 2014 and 2019, as all big data tributary markets are expected to see big gains. Infrastructure, which includes data center and security architecture, will see a CAGR of nearly 22 percent; Data management, analytics and capture - which all fall under the umbrella of the software market for big data - will experience a 26 percent CAGR; and services, which entails IT support for components of the aforementioned sub-markets, will witness a 22 percent CAGR.
In keeping with big data's reputation for being useful in some capacity to every business sector, IDC predicts that the main driver of growth will be the prolific adoption of big data strategies across the gamut of industries.
The data storm has already begun
The IDC's projections are staggering, albeit not entirely shocking. Big data has already begun to see applications in a bevy of industries. In fact, a recent survey by SAP has revealed financial firms are currently assessing the role of big data in future business endeavors. Fewer than half of all respondents said they felt well-equipped to extract meaningful insights from data. That said, 79 percent of respondents said they need to acquire or create advanced analytics capabilities to keep up with the cascades of information being generated in a digital world. Furthermore, 84 percent believe that the ability to quickly transform data into actionable insight will have a bearing on the success of their companies.
What this means for IT workers
Companies won't be the only beneficiaries of the big data boom; information technology professionals with DB2 certification will be walking into a new realm of opportunity. Data engineers and data scientists are expected to see starting salary gains of nearly 9 percent in 2016, according to a report from Robert Half Technology and The Creative Group. Like IDC's research, these projections are based on the belief that an increasing number of industries will benefit from big data analysis.
In the years following 2016, demand for professionals who have DB2 certification or SQL certification is likely to spike. Likewise, VCP certification will become a more valuable credential as data center consolidation and virtualization become priorities, both of which will be essential to the development of improved big data infrastructure.
Ultimately, big data will play an important role in most industries, and will somehow impact nearly every corner of information technology. With multiple studies corroborating this fact, now might be the ideal moment to start earning credentials to become a big data specialist. The more IT professionals know about big data analytics, the better prepared they will be for new and exciting career opportunities that may lie in wait just around the bend.
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