Some aspects of technology seem to change every month. If you work as a data scientist or engineer, the tools you use don’t change quite so quickly, but can shift every few years. Bentley University commissioned a study to find which business skills are growing in demand. By looking at millions of job listings posted on more than 40,000 online job sites, jobs analytics firm Burning Glass determined which skills saw the biggest increases in demand when comparing 2011 to 2015.
In this post we’re revealing the top ten technical skills. They’re ranked by how often they appeared in job descriptions. The categories in parenthesis show the type of job where the increases took place.
Technical Skills With The Biggest Increases In Demand:
1. Big Data (Information Technology): 3,977%
2. Node.js (Design): 2,493%
3. Tableau (Research and Analysis): 1,581%
4. NoSQL (Information Technology): 1,002%
5. Apache Hadoop (Information Technology): 704%
6. HTML5 (Information Technology): 612%
7. Python (Research and Analysis): 456%
8. Oracle (Sales): 382%
9. JSON (Information Technology): 318%
10. Salesforce CRM (Sales): 292%
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Big data expertise saw the largest increase in demand. Big data has become a buzzword with a hazy meaning—there’s no standard definition for how much data justifies the term “big data.” But companies looking for big data skills generally need to organize and interpret a quantity of information so large that it can’t be handled by traditional data processing tools. As an example, think about the number of tweets, likes and retweets that happen every day. If you’d like to analyze patterns on Twitter that emerge over time, you’re likely working with big data.
Tableau is a data visualization tool that saw the third-largest surge in demand. Tableau lets you create advanced charts and graphs, like this, and requires no coding.
NoSQL saw the fourth-biggest bump in demand. It’s a database technology that enables storing and analyzing large amounts of data. MySQL and Oracle databases are older and more traditional tools, and they’re designed to run on a single machine, says David Oury, data science development director at Bentley University who teaches classes in data mining and machine learning. “NoSQL is designed to run on as many machines as you throw at it. As you add a machine, you add more storage and processing power.” The explosion of data over the past decade has created a growing need for more powerful databases like NoSQL.
Python saw the seventh-largest increase, and Oury says it’s one of the most important programming languages to learn. It’s a general-purpose language that handles data processing, visualization and machine learning. It’s simpler than older, high-powered languages like Java.
What makes it simpler? Java was built to be very precise and efficient, according to Oury. Python is less precise, but lets you accomplish high-level tasks more quickly. Building a program in Python might take 30 minutes instead of the three hours it would take to do in Java, so Python lets you build a product more quickly. Then you can test that product, launch it, see how users react and make high-level changes faster, instead of spending hours building the foundation of something you’re going to revamp anyway. This concept of launching a product quickly to see how users react is the basis for the bestselling startup handbook written by Eric Ries, The Lean Startup.
For anyone interested in exploring a more technical job in a field like data science, Oury recommends learning either Python or the statistical programming language R. R didn’t make the list of the top skills showing the biggest increases in demand, but it’s a popular, powerful language that Oury thinks is easier to learn.
After choosing either Python or R, search for a data set you think is interesting. You can Google for some information, like crime data, or go to Kaggle.com to find sample data sets. Using Python or R, try to analyze the data, and set a goal for what you want to accomplish. “Find people to work with,” Oury adds. Some universities like Bentley have labs where you can learn and experiment, or if you’re not in school, consider attending events organized on Meetup.com to find people pursuing the same goals.
Follow me on Twitter @JeffKauflin or email me at jkauflin[at]forbes[dot]com.
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