Looking for That Big Data Guru

Big Data analytics has been positioned by many technologists and marketing leaders as the ultimate empowering tool for designing the most successful business marketing strategies. According to a search of transcripts of more than 5,000 companies by FactSet, the term’s use has increased 43 percent during conference calls and investor presentations since 2012. Many executives and board members are implementing big data tools and creating teams to collect as much data surrounding their customers, potential customers and competitor information. These needs have opened up a wave of requests to talent recruiters to find the best and brightest big data engineers.

It is a different beast designing a strategy for finding the right people to work within your big data projects versus a general software engineering role. We have identified a list of the common programming languages associated with these tasks, along with a list of database management tools and statistical skills. To be honest, the quickest list to make covers the technical skills. The harder list to create concerns the business attributes a data scientist needs to explain what the data is telling the decision makers.

In my opinion, your data engineers need to be as much strategically minded about marketing, sales and product design as they are experts with data programming and team management. To effectively decipher the data, the engineer needs to quickly understand what information is valuable and meaningful and what isn’t. The best data scientist will have the ability to translate the information into a language the marketing, sales and decision making executives understand.

Decision makers will also need to adjust how they view the data scientist’s role in their strategic organization. No longer left alone in the software engineering department, the data scientist needs to be invited to the table to discuss the competitive market, industry trends and customer needs. The scientist needs to be comfortable speaking to groups of decision makers and influencers. It isn’t acceptable to have weak communication skills. Hiring managers may also consider software engineers with business or product marketing experience. Many of our clients are still fine tuning their list of needs.

We will continue for many years to see a need for big data engineers that are strong in their programming and analytics skills along with being able to communicate to executives how the results affect the bottom line. They are the story tellers and require the skill of sharing the data story to the company.

Jim Barnes is an Axiom recruiter who has spent a decade in the product marketing and PR realm for several technology companies. He welcomes your comments and feedback.

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