The challenges of big data projects aren't limited to dealing with the structure of the data; the first challenge you face is determining the structure of the data team. Deciding the goal of your data projects is key to making sure you staff the team with the right skills to accomplish your purpose. Here are seven tips to help you staff and structure your data team.
Hire based on needs, not skills.
There's lots of buzz around Hadoop, but not all big data projects need Hadoop skills. Don't let keywords dictate your hiring; focus on the problem you need to solve and hire the specific skills required.
Big data projects are new and the technology is still changing rapidly. You shouldn't expect the structure you put in place now to work for you next year. Anticipate rethinking your data team's structure frequently to keep up with changes in the industry and changes in your own organization.
Bring in multiple skill sets.
Data projects require technical skills for loading and managing the data as well as analytical skills to develop insights from the data. You should plan to hire engineers as well as analysts to make sure people can focus on the tasks they're most suited for.
Start with good data.
It's difficult to find value in messy, dirty data. You should expect data projects will need to spend time manipulating and cleaning data before the analysis begins, so take the time and staff needed for that task into consideration as you plan your team. It's likely you'll need more time and people to work on the data cleaning aspects than the analysis.
Use consultants wisely.
You may want to use consultants if it takes too long to find permanent employees with the skills you need, but you'll need to get the skills in-house eventually. If you have trouble finding the skills you need, consider training your existing staff. Consultants can help guide your team as they learn and transfer expertise.
Because big data is such a hot topic now, many candidates with limited experience are putting big data skills and projects on their resumes. Ask probing interview questions to find out the reality behind the experience they claim.
Hang on to your employees.
Because the data job market is so hot, you have to work to retain the skilled big data employees already on board. Make sure they don't get bored; offer them interesting challenges to solve, and pay market rates to keep them content.
If you want to make more money in your technology career, think about switching to a technical area that's in demand. The competition for talented employees forces companies to raise salaries to win over new employees and to keep them on board once they're hired. Here are eight technical fields that are seeing salary bumps this year.
Wireless network engineer
Company networks make use of wireless technology to let their staff work remotely; they rely on wireless network engineers to oversee their wireless LAN. Salaries for this position can range up to more than $150,000. You'll need at least a bachelor's degree in computer engineering or computer science. Certification in wireless networking is useful.
Big data engineer
The demand for big data skills, like Hadoop, is higher than ever as more companies start big data projects to make sense of the structured data in their databases and the unstructured data in other sources like online forums. Big data skills lead to big paychecks, as much as $183,500.
Like big data engineers, data scientists work on big data projects. While the engineers focus on the tasks of loading and managing the data, the data scientists perform statistical analyses to find insight in the data. Salaries for this job go over $150,000.
Mobile applications developer
Everyone has a smartphone in their pocket these days and the phones are used for much more than phone calls. Besides consumer applications, companies are building mobile versions of their corporate applications so employees can work from off-site. The mobile application developers who create these applications can earn more than $175,000.
Content strategists help companies figure out what online content is needed to support business objectives. They may determine content plans and design the user experience as well as make sure content management technology works within the corporate technical environment. Salaries range up to $109,000.
A page of solid text is boring; today's websites and mobile applications need to be dynamic and interactive. Multimedia designers combine multiple kinds of media to make websites, kiosks, and other applications compelling for end users. With good graphics skills, you'll draw a salary of up to $91,000.
User experience (UX) specialist
Deciding how users will interact with websites and applications is the job of the user experience specialist. They combine graphics skills, technical skills, and an understanding of user psychology to define the user experience. Salaries can reach $132,500.
User interface (UI) developer
Once the UX specialist defines the user experience, the UI developer does the work to implement it and build it into the application. Salaries are similar to those for UX specialists, topping out around $132,000.