Working with Big Data

The main purpose of this article is to define “Big Data,” the ways it is used, the fields in which it is used, and the education and skills needed in order to work with it. What is Big Data? Big Data is a collection of datasets that cannot be analyzed with normal statistical methods. They are grouped into the two categories of structured and unstructured data. Structured data is large sets of numbers that can be organized and studied easily, while unstructured data is more abstract information, such as photos, reviews and videos. Unstructured data relies on keyword searches and other methods to be able to be usable. Fields in which Big Data is used: Big Data is used in the following fields: Business, Finance, Healthcare, E-Commerce, Government, Science, Social Networking and Telecommunications. In all of these fields, big data is used to either analyze consumer behavior in order to provide better services (business, e-commerce and telecommunications), or it is used to collect the massive amount of data that is produced in order to analyze it (science and healthcare), normally in a secondary location. Education and Personal Skills Within is study of Big Data, many skills are wanted or even necessary. These skills include but are not limited to mathematics, statistics, and computer science. Computer science is mostly considered necessary as it teaches logical thinking, and a background in programming which is entirely necessary as many big data studies need to be written from scratch as they differ so vastly between big datasets. When it comes to hiring, these skills are often focused on directly, but so is an engineering background as “they think a certain way [and] they know how to break down a problem. Though these skills are important and highly considered, some more specialized industries would rather have a person educated in their field and have them learn big data techniques while on the job; for example Fermilab, a facility that analyzes data from the Hadron Collider, would rather hire someone with a background in particle physics first. As with almost all fields, problem-solving, communication, and teamwork skills are highly valued, but in big data so is a healthy sense of curiosty. It is a new and growing field, and as technology and the world changes, the people involved must help big data change along with it.