In a Good IT Job Market, Strong Demand for Analytics Skills Cited in Five Cities

by   |   August 14, 2012 11:58 am   |   1 Comments

San Francisco is the top city for data analysts and other big data jobs, according to Modis. Photo by idleformat via Flickr.

San Francisco is the top city for big data jobs, according to Modis. Photo by idleformat via Flickr.

While the U.S. jobless rate stands at 8.3 percent, barely changed in recent months, the IT job market—and the segment for analytics professionals in particular—strike a much more upbeat chord in two new reports.

The overall IT unemployment rate was 3.1 percent in June and July, down from the 4.9 percent it reached in February, according to a monthly analysis of government statistics by the online jobs board

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And the demand for analytics professionals is so robust that it prompted researchers at the jobs placement and IT staffing firm Modis to issue a report on the top five cities to land four types of “big data jobs”—data scientist,  data analyst, business intelligence, and data modeling professionals. Based on information collected at the company’s 60 offices in the U.S. and Canada, the researchers identified San Francisco, McLean, Va., Boston, St. Louis and Toronto to be the top cities to find these jobs today.

Modis declined to provide specific figures for what their placement managers see in these markets, explaining its hot spots are informed by the hundreds of job placements each week informed the rankings. Highlights from the report show that each city hosts an economic cluster dominated by one or two data-intensive industries, such as health care, financial services and government:

San Francisco: heavy analytics users in retail, insurance, health care and e-commerce industries drive the city’s No. 1 ranking, Modis said: “Those types of companies run large analytics on their customers in how they use their services and products; as a result they need to hire individuals who can dissect the data in numerous ways.”

McLean, Va.:  The Washington, D.C., beltway area, where McLean sits, hosts many commercial and government data centers that require talent to support their high data volumes, Modis said. That the federal government is the world’s largest IT consumer creates demand for systems integrators and IT contractors in the region. “There is a natural demand for IT talent across the board, but database and data management positions are a sizable piece of that market,” Modis said.

Boston: The city is a hub for banking and life sciences industries, both which deal with large amounts of detailed, complex data sets that require analysis and distillation through reports, spreadsheets and dashboards, Modis said. Companies here “have massive amounts of data and information that must be sliced and diced to impact their business, target audiences, product offerings, marketing, Internet presence, and social media.”

St. Louis: The home of the Gateway Arch also hosts a number of health care companies, universities, pharmaceutical and medical research firms that require analytics talent, Modis said.

Toronto: Canada’s largest city hosts a financial sector that relies in business intelligence to manage risks, and to analyze operating costs and customer spending habits.  These companies are spurring demand for critical BI professionals whose work can have a major impact on the bottom line, Modis said.

Selected Job Descriptions and Salaries
In its “2012 Salary Guide for IT Professionals,” Modis offers insights into the job descriptions it sees and pay ranges. Below are excerpts relevant to the jobs mentioned in the top five cities for big data jobs including business data analyst, data modeling analyst and business intelligence specialist. Modis said it did not include a data scientist description in the 2012 report because it is still considered a niche job. The company expects there to be more listings for data scientists in 2013.

Business Intelligence Specialist
Average salary: $108,500
Job description highlights:

  • Responsible for leading the strategic design and maintenance of business intelligence applications.
  • Ensures that the use of business intelligence applications enhances business decision making.
  • Requires a bachelor’s degree in area of specialty and five years of experience.


Data Modeling Analyst
Average salary: $95,600
Job description highlights:

  • Develops data models to meet the needs of the organization’s information systems.
  • Manages the flow of information between departments through the use of relational databases.
  • Maintains data integrity by working to eliminate redundancy.
  • May require a bachelor’s degree in a related area and at least five years of experience.


Business Data Analyst
Average salary range (depending on level): $56,100 to $87,200
Job description highlights (for analysts with more than four years of experience):

  • Interprets results using a variety of techniques, ranging from simple data aggregation via statistical analysis to complex data mining independently.
  • Designs, develops, implements and maintains business solutions.
  • Works with main clients and project and business leaders to identify analytical requirements.
  • Requires a bachelor’s degree in area of specialty and four to six years of experience.

Overlap with IT Job Market
The report focuses on a Bureau of Labor Statistics category called “computer systems design and related services,” and identifies the top 10 metro areas for IT jobs. New York City leads the list, followed by Washington D.C./Baltimore, Silicon Valley, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, Dallas, Atlanta, Seattle and Philadelphia.

The states of California, Virginia, Texas, New York and Florida are the largest employers of technology professionals, employing more than 650,000 people, including 15,500 jobs added so far in 2012. Researchers at said the fastest growing states to date in 2012 are: Maryland, up 5.9 percent, followed by Massachusetts (5.5 percent), Texas (4.4 percent), New York (4.3 percent), Minnesota (4.2 percent), Oregon (3.8 percent), Georgia (3.7 percent), Utah (3.6 percent), and Connecticut and Pennsylvania, each up 3 percent.

Michael Goldberg is editor of Data Informed. Email him at

One Comment

  1. JimKing
    Posted August 15, 2012 at 2:59 am | Permalink

    After reading this article, i would like to investgate for other countries strong demand for analytics skills in asian, europe. I think it is fun and meanningful.

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