We are all familiar with the new technologies hype-cycle curve as described by GartnerGroup. The question now is where are we on this curve and what would be a good strategy for development in both personal career plan and business-wise.
So where are we?
Big data and advanced analytics related to it is virtually everywhere in the media. Many universities now advertise courses for it and job ads are abundant. Even people and business that are not that close to the advancements in IT and data science discuss possible benefits.The big data and analytic forums enjoy very high attendance and vendors come out with new and newer products and services. The parallels with the Business Intelligence hype we witnessed some years ago have formed my humble opinion that we are very close to the top.
Effects on an individual career?
It all depends on where a person is at the moment with her skills, the overall career goals and place on the career path of course but there are couple of common things to consider.
First one is the demand for analysts will be in a dip for some time as well as the offered salaries. There will be rise after some "dry" years but the demand will not rebound up to the current levels. Also, the market will be flooded with experts and "experts" that will drive down the value of these skills.
Second one is that some skills of top demand today would not be such an advantage in 3 to 5 years ahead. Here I include R and Python programing as well as some of the big-data storage-related skills. The trends is to lower the costs and make these more accessible: tools are made more user-friendly, easy to use as well as having more and more features to the point where a good analysis could be performed by a person with relatively low level of skills. All this with at lower and lower price of software and services.
What would be a good course of action then?
If you have detailed knowledge of all the magical spells and working skills to handle and and produce meaningful analytics from big data then lucky you - go out and cash on it, now is the time but hurry up and do not expect these skills to be a great advantage as they are now. If you are not in this group then maybe it is not a good idea to invest into a deep of knowledge for using the tools and hop on the current wave as by the time you are ready probably would be too late. Investing in understanding and working knowledge however is more than advisable as analytics on big data is here to stay. Despite the technology would become more transparent, good understanding guarantees proper and more effective use of it. I believe that real advantage in analytics comes from domain knowledge, the ability identify of problems and proper methods for solving then as well critical thinking, problem-solving and other soft skills.
Effects for businesses?
As we are on the top of the curve, there is some disillusionment ahead of us.
Let see the providers of big-data related services and products first. They should expect the dip in demand and more doubtful customers. This would mean better sale force, rethinking of their offers and more efforts for a sell. However, the time will be working for them as there will be more and more big-data success stories as investments that are made now will have increasing return in the years to come. More customers will come at the Slope of Enlightenment and the plateau of productivity - there will be some that do not even consider buying such services in the moment. Companies that consider developing these services should consider how to place the offer in their current portfolio and revise the expected returns.
Businesses that consider investing in this area could benefit from holding their plans for a while if it not a matter of survival or unacceptable dip in the bonuses for the top management. One reason is that the better products and services will emerge in the lower demand and another - the prices would probably go down. This does not mean that the developments in this industry should be left unchecked. Keeping an eye on it would make a better choice when the time comes.
I have been working on a strategy for development of big data and advanced analytical skills for a client and these are the thoughts I have on subject.You may agree or not but now you have something to think about and revise your strategies.