How to Close the Big Data Skills Gap by Training Your IT Staff

Education | Sectors   |   
Published October 4, 2013   |   
Thor Olavsrud

It’s difficult to talk about big data without also discussing the big data skills gap in nearly the same breath. But is it as bad as it seems?

According to a recent CompTIA survey of 500 U.S. business and IT executives, 50 percent of firms that are ahead of the curve in leveraging data, and 71 percent of firms that are average or lagging in leveraging data, feel that their staff are moderately or significantly deficient in data management and analysis skills.

These firms see real costs associated with a failure to come to grips with their data, from wasted time that could be spent on other areas of their business to internal confusion over priorities, lost sales, lack of agility and more.

Forecasters paint a seemingly dire portrait of a skills shortfall that will only get worse over time. The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that by 2018, there will be a shortage of 1.7 million workers with big data skills in the U.S. alone—140,000 to 190,000 workers with deep technical and analytical expertise and 1.5 million managers and analysts with the skills to work with big data outputs.

But Tim Herbert, vice president of research and market intelligence at CompTIA and author of its second annual Big Data Insights and Opportunities study, says the situation may not be as drastic as you think.

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