EDC Publishes First Profile of Skills Needed by Big-Data-Enabled Professionals

Photo of Ruth Krumhansl

EDC’s Oceans of Data Institute (ODI) has published a detailed profile of the skills and knowledge needed to be successful as a big data specialist in a wide variety of fields. As more and more industries seek to leverage big data and create thousands of new jobs, the profile marks an important step forward in preparing students for the skills and competencies they will need to join this expanding workforce. (Read ODI's Executive Summary about the need for big-data-enabled specialists.)

Developed by a panel of education, science, and big data experts with facilitation support from EDC's Joyce Malyn-Smith and Joe Ippolito--who have worked with industry leaders to develop profiles of skills and competencies needed by a variety of STEM professionals--the profile has been endorsed by over 100 big data professionals representing over 15 industry sectors. It offers a big picture view of the essential skills (such as analytical and critical thinking, problem solving, application of statistical methods, and knowledge of algorithms) that big data-enabled professionals in all industries need to solve diverse challenges, from search engine analytics to medical informatics.

“This is a first-of-its kind effort to articulate at this level of detail what big data specialists actually do, and to identify the specific skill sets needed for a career using big data,” said EDC’s Ruth Krumhansl (pictured above left), director of ODI. “The market for specialists is growing as big data analytics becomes a necessary feature in an increasing number of fields.”

The release of the profile represents an important milestone for ODI, which seeks to help educate professionals equipped to manipulate, analyze, and unlock the potential of big data. The profile was developed primarily to identify the central skills for a career in big data and to inform decisions by businesses, community colleges, universities, and K–12 schools about curriculum, trainings, and courses to best equip students and the future U.S. workforce.

Last updated: January 2015