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Posted January 8, 2015 by Reece Akhtar
Over the last few years we have witnessed the popular rise of Big Data. That is, organizations of all sizes and agendas are now looking to use large datasets to guide their strategies. Using data to grow and improve organizations makes complete sense as digital technology has permeated every corner of our society. The sheer size and quality of these new data sources has enabled us to build large statistical models that can predict and understand some of the greatest challenges facing mankind (i.e. climate change, the economy & democracy). Yet the question remains, what makes a good data analyst?
The ability to understand and manipulate Big Data in a way that can produce both meaningful and actionable insights for leaders is something that is not widely understood, nor discussed. It is well established what personality characteristics are predictive of success at work, but given the relative novelty of Big Data, do leaders know what skills and characteristics to look for when hiring a new data analyst, aside from technical knowledge and experience? Setting up data warehouses and systems is an expensive and costly process, therefore organizations must ensure that they are recruiting and developing the right talent. If the success of Big Data is equally dependent on technical and psychological factors, what then makes a good data analyst?
It should now be evident that organizations looking to adopt Big Data into their operations and strategies need to take a minute to stop and think about what the job requires and whether they have the right talent. Unfortunately, the only stories you hear about Big Data are successful ones — you rarely hear about the large amount of resources invested into data warehousing that bring little to no value due to incompetent staff. The time has now come for leaders to stop thinking of Big Data as just a technical problem, and start to also view it as a people problem.
The key to any success is down to talent, personality and expertise, and that remains true for Big Data.
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