Tackle big opportunities for a successful big data career

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This article was contributed by Caroline Dooby, Field CTO and Cyber ​​Security Lead at Claudera.

Digital transformation, big data analytics, the rise of AI and the tremendous demand for cyber security skills make this a great time to stay in tech. In a way, this year the opportunity for anyone looking to move into a tech career or data carrier feels the same as it did more than 30 years ago.

In those early days, the potential for the computer revolution was clear, and while no one really knew how fast computers would dominate, there were tremendous career opportunities.

Today, we are living in a time of tremendous change. The impact of the epidemic on digital transformation has been well documented. Overwhelmingly, both businesses and consumers have embraced technology as the infrastructure for every interaction in our lives.

From a data career perspective, 2022 looks much like the mid-1980s. With all the technological advancement and social disruption comes tremendous opportunity. Cloud, Big Data and AI technologies are already reshaping businesses, and with the ever-increasing cyber security risks, no one can say for sure what the future holds. But I promise you: big data will be in great demand, and data career opportunities will be plentiful.

How can you take advantage of these opportunities?

Be open to change, be adaptable

I started college with the goal of becoming a doctor and was studying medicine at Brown University. Computing was new at the time. There was no Internet, and people began to rely on email only for business and educational communication. No one has ever talked about cyber security.

Programming in those days was frustrating. You had to do most of your programming on paper because you had to wait for a limited time on slow computers. But something new was just fun. I left the more traditional path to a medical career and interns in a startup working on a hypertext system that has become the foundation of the Internet.

The most important thing from those early years is that technology is changing so fast that you don’t know where you will end up when you start your career. To be successful, you need to build base skills that can be applied in a variety of areas throughout your career. Basic skill sets such as problem solving, logical thinking, troubleshooting, investigation and design are widely relevant for many different job roles and industries.

You need to be flexible and adaptable, open to new possibilities and constantly learn new things.

Be a problem solver, be persistent and succeed in a data career

It is just as important to be open to change once you have established a career in a particular field, especially in technology. If you don’t like change, don’t go for tech. However, it is important not to confuse being open to change by looking to avoid the challenge.

You need to learn from the challenges, no matter what the situation. From the pressure of responding to provocative calls in tech support, to suddenly managing a large team in a large company, to do everything yourself in the startup you launch – to get rid of trash, to deal with offending customers, to develop a business plan, etc. – The key to successfully tackling a new challenge is persistence. Whatever problem you solve, and every obstacle you overcome, becomes an unforgettable lesson.

Learn to be a leader

Moving on to HortonWorks, and eventually following the merger of companies at Claudera, I was once again challenged to learn and adapt. Leadership should always be a learning process – when you turn to that senior leadership, you become responsible for new people with different mindsets and backgrounds, new processes and new strategic goals.

With more experience comes more responsibility to learn. To build skills that may be specific to your education, background, or personality, you need to move beyond what you already have.

The three biggest things that have helped me succeed so far are:

  • Support technology experience with excellent communication and presentation skills. It is not enough to master the technical aspects of your job. As a leader, you should be able to communicate effectively with your peers and your teams, both orally and in writing. You need to be able to present your ideas clearly and argue logically for them. You should be able to explain to your staff what you want to do and how to do it if necessary. Most importantly, you should be able to listen. Effective communication is always two-way.
  • Learn about business issues. As a business leader, your decisions are no longer entirely technical. They must consider the business issues your organization faces, from finance to human resources to sales and support issues. Then embrace everything you can about how the business works and what the business needs, whether it’s through courses or certification programs or through interactions with your peers.
  • Understand how to use all organizational levers to accomplish things. Just like learning about business problems, it is important to learn how a large organization works. If you want to achieve something (say, create a new product), or if you want to change something (for example, how your organization reaches diversity), you need to understand all the mechanisms that enable change. Who makes the decisions? Who controls the money? Who controls the data? What are the legal, compliance and governance issues?

No matter what stage you are at in your data career, and no matter the level of experience with your background and technology, big data careers offer many opportunities in the short and long term. The important thing is not to be afraid of the challenges ahead. Expand your skills, embrace new experiences and be ready to go.

Caroline Dooby is the Field CTO and Cyber ​​Security Lead at Claudera.

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