For the first time since career site Dice has been asking hiring managers about their priorities for the year ahead, data analysts and analytical talent are among the most coveted tech professionals.
In Dice’s January report, “data analysts/analytics” was listed as No. 4 overall by more than 1,000 surveyed hiring managers and recruiters asked to identify the talent or skill-set they consider the most important in 2013.
Analytics talent ranked behind only three specific types of application developers: Java/J2EE (No. 1), mobile (No. 2) and .NET (No. 3).
As Dice notes in its report, big data and analytical talent “didn’t even make the top 10 list last year.”
“It was surprising that data analysts jumped so far up the list, but not that these professionals are a high-priority hire for employers,” says Alice Hill, managing director of Dice.com. “Tech enthusiasts think big data is already old hat. But companies have to plan and budget for new hires, which means there’s more lag time seeing a hot skill translate into a hot new, in-demand position.”
A number of technology hiring professionals and consultants over the past year have noted the rising demand for big data and analytics professionals, as well as the expected shortage of talent to fill these positions over the next few years.
More than half of the hiring managers surveyed by Dice exclusively for Data Informed last month said they expected demand for data analytics professionals to increase this year compared to 2012. Small wonder, given the growth in job postings for big data and analytics positions on Dice alone.
“Big data jobs on Dice have more than tripled in growth” year over year, Hill says, “a trend we saw with mobile and cloud computing when they came on the tech radar.”
Still, this is the first time hiring managers have placed data analytics jobs near the top of their list of priorities in Dice’s annual survey. Here are the five biggest tech-job priorities from the January 2012 Dice survey:
1. Java/J2EE Developer
2. Software Developers/Engineers
3. Mobile Developers
4. .NET Developers
5. Project Managers
Hill advises tech professionals looking to take advantage of the demand for analytics talent to educate themselves, either through “formal university training to certifications to toying at home while chatting with fellow tech professionals in online forums.”
“An employed tech pro can ask to be placed on a project that is data intensive,” she says. “It’s one way to acquire the skill if a position isn’t available at your company and show your firm your knack for analytics.”
For those tech pros between jobs, “noting how your past work tied to the business goals of the company can highlight your ability to strategize,” Hill says. “Being unemployed is anything but downtime. This is an opportunity to sharpen or acquire new skills by taking classes related to data analytics or volunteering at a local small business that needs help managing large amounts of data.”