“Data is the New Science. Big Data holds the Answers” - Pat Gelsinger
When we talk about the Data Boom, it is simply not enough to refer to a process of generation of Data at an unimaginable rate. In this new trend, Data has a peculiar nature. This has helped it to earn the prefix ‘Big’ to it.
While we shall look at what exactly is Big Data, subsequently; it is important to understand that Big Data is not as simple as traditional Data. Consequently, the role of a Big Data Analyst too happens to be different from a traditional Data Analyst.
While Data Analysts deal with largely Structured Data; Big Data Analysts are responsible for handling Big Data which involves Unstructured Data, Semi-Structured as well as Raw Data.
Moreover, since “the world is one Big Data problem” (Andrew McAfee), it will only be expected from young aspiring professionals to search for answers to the question of How to become a Big Data Analyst.
Additionally, there are numerous aspiring data analysts who happen to lack formal experience or a conventional STEM degree. So what choice do they have to become a data analyst? Find answers here:
In this blog, we shall try to find answers to the question of how to become a Big Data Analyst. Simultaneously, we shall try to dig into the professional designation of a Big Data Analyst, in terms of Big Data Analyst Skills, Academic Background, Big Data Analyst Jobs available as well as look at what a Big Data Analyst does in their professional capacity.
What is Big Data and who is a Big Data Analyst?
Gartner defines Big Data as essentially “high-volume, high-velocity and high-variety information assets that demand cost-effective, innovative forms of information processing for enhanced insight and decision making”.
Over the years, a fourth property has also been attributed to Big Data and that being ‘veracity’. Veracity refers to poor quality unverified data, derived from uncertain and unauthorized sources.
Such data in itself might result in contradictory results and unreliable outcomes. Hence there is a need to leverage such unrefined Data making them suitable for big data analytics. This is the task of Big Data Analysts.
A Big Data Analyst is a professional who is responsible for extracting insights from large and complex data sets using advanced analytical (data analysis) and statistical techniques.
They are skilled in working with big data technologies and tools, such as Hadoop, Spark, and NoSQL databases, and are knowledgeable in programming languages like Python, R, and SQL.
Big Data Analysts are skilled data analysts who work with large data sets to identify patterns, trends, and correlations, and provide recommendations to businesses and organizations.
They play a critical role in helping companies make data-driven decisions, optimize business processes, and improve overall performance.
In understanding what a Big Data Analyst does, it is important to remember that the role of a Big Data Analyst comes quite close to that of Data Scientists.
Both professionals are responsible for the acquisition, cleaning, processing and analysis of Big Data.
Subsequently, they seek to comprehend the insights derived from the analysis of Data in order to transform them into actionable strategies for business decision-making.
Consequently, they are liable to report and visualize their findings through highly comprehensible forms of Data Visualization.
A Big Data Analyst is also a professional who is responsible for conducting competitive market analysis tasks for detecting prime industry trends.
Big Data Analyst Skills
Any answer to the question of how to become a Big Data Analyst cannot be adequately dealt without understanding the key competencies and expertise required in Big Data Analytics Jobs.
- Mathematical Skills
In order to analyze data, Big Data Analysts are required to have exceptional mathematical expertise, especially in the domains of Statistics, Multivariable Calculus, Hypothesis Testing, Linear Algebra, Time Series and Longitudinal Analysis, Probability Distribution, Bayesian Analysis and others.
- Data Warehousing
Under the premise of Big Data Analyst roles, it will be important for you to understand how data is stored and how to access it.
Competency in working with relational as well as non-relational databases is a must. This includes proficiency in HDFS, Cassandra, Oracle, MangoDB, DB2, MySQL and NoSQL, CouchDB, HBase and so on.
- Programming Languages
Coding Skills are an important requirement for Big Data Analysts. Proficiency in Programming Languages, at least in some of the most important ones, like Java, R and Python is crucial.
Additionally, as data professionals, if you strive to learn certain other languages as well, like C++, Ruby, Julia, Scala, MATLAB, SPSS , it will only add to your competitive edge.
- Understanding of Computation Frameworks
As a Big Data Analyst, it will be important for you to have an in-depth understanding of Computation Frameworks such as Hadoop, Apache Spark, Apache Storm, Apache Samza and Apache Flink. These frameworks help in providing for smooth processing of Big Data.
- Industry Experience and Business Acumen
As you seek to understand how to become a Big Data Analyst, you should remember that you should broaden your focus.
You cannot proceed with Data Analysis process within a particular industry, unless you possess a thorough understanding of the industry itself.
An in-depth understanding of the domain helps one to refine the questions being asked, as well as conduct meaningful research.
In fact, any attempt at utilizing the Data insights for transforming business for the better, cannot be successful without a thorough understanding of the business world.
- Data Visualization Skills
As a Big Data Analyst, who is shouldered with the responsibility of analysing huge volumes of Data; your findings and conclusions will make no sense, unless you are able to present them in the most comprehensible and aesthetically pleasing manner. This entails the need to be proficient in different Data Visualization tools.
Tableau and Power BI happen to be two of the prominent Data Visualization tools in the market. If you wish to know more about which one will be a better choice, do read our blog on Power BI vs. Tableau: A Detailed Analysis.
- Communication Skills
The answer to the question of what a Big Data Analyst does, will be incomplete without taking into account the professional role of a Big Data Analyst in communicating findings and in maintaining liaison with other departments and stakeholders.
This entails the need to possess excellent written and verbal communication skills. This shall help you in being understandable as well as approachable.