- Work in a growing field of computing, with the potential to help solve major world issues
- You'll need to develop excellent maths, statistics, and programming skills
- This is a growing industry with lots of opportunities for those who develop specialist knowledge in this area
As technology has developed, the ability to store and manipulate large quantities of data has grown and this means that it can be used to gain a better understanding of things like user behaviour, trends over time, and the relationships between different variables. For example, internet searches could reveal the geographical spread of a disease.
- Work with large datasets
- Build computer models that help organisations understand problems
- Find solutions to them
- Create programmes that enable a dataset to be analyse
- Prepare the data
- Make sure it is 'clean' (making sure there are no inaccurate or duplicate data items)
- Run the programme to produce a set of results
Depending on your role, you might also be involved in analysing and presenting the results, or there might be others in your team who focus on this.
You could be employed as a big data engineer for a company in finance, marketing, or a government body/non-profit organisation.
You'll need excellent maths and computing skills - with a focus on statistics, the ability to work accurately and methodically, and problem-solving skills.
Most engineers in this field have a degree (and often a postgraduate degree like a Master's of PhD) in a related area like maths, physics, or computing, but there are also a growing number of specialist courses you can take which focus in on this area of computing, including online courses like those offered by providers like Udacity.
However, there are an increasing number of employers who are taking on new starters with or without a degree in a related field but who have the potential to develop the necessary skills through on the job training. Gaining some knowledge and experience of programming languages including Python will help you if you follow this route. There are plenty of courses available and/or online resources that can help you teach yourself.
You could also transition into this field if you have experience in the industry and have the necessary programming ability.
This is a growing field and there is strong demand for those with skills in this area.