The shift to Big Data

Businesses are starting to realize that the key to becoming competitive is knowing how to analyze all the data they have available. This means a shift in what skills are valuable to a company:

Then the third thing, which is the subtlest but perhaps the most important, is cultural change about how to use data. A lot of companies think they’re using data, and you often see bar charts and pie charts and numbers in management presentations. But, historically, that kind of data was used more to confirm and support decisions that had already been made, rather than to learn new things and to discover the right answer. The cultural change is for managers to be willing to say, “You know, that’s an interesting problem, an interesting question. Let’s set up an experiment to discover the answer.”

Want a degree that makes you marketable? Try sociology or psychology:

Having enough data to get a statistically significant result is not a problem. There’s plenty of data. So the skills often have more to do with sampling methodologies, designing experiments, and working these very, very large data sets without becoming overwhelmed. If you look inside companies, you also see a transformation in the functions that are using data.

We've definitely entered an era where the computer is just a tool; programmers are not the millionaires of the future, they are the blue-collar workers. The people who know how to make sense of the data are the ones who will define (and are already building) the next generation of wealth.

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