Data and Analytics Still Pay a Premium Salary


(Image: AnandKZ/Pixabay)

(Image: AnandKZ/Pixabay)

One line in the script probably is better remembered today than the movie as a whole, even though 1967's The Graduate made Dustin Hoffman a star while the film recorded an Oscar win and a boatload of award nominations.

That scene is where Benjamin gets secret career advice from a family friend: "One word, plastics." Of course, the better advice would have been to not mess around with Mrs. Robinson/Anne Bancroft.

Plastics are old hat now. What friends have been whispering to grads for the past few years has been "big data" and "data science." This year, they'd better add in "or DevOps," at least in some parts of the US.

The 2017 salary figures are in, and data and DevOps skills are helping plenty of IT pros boost their paychecks. Staffing firm Randstad Technologies released its 2017 Salary Survey, and the research shows core data skills -- data warehousing, business intelligence, and Hadoop experience -- at or near the top of the tech pay scale in a number of metropolitan areas.

In looking through the report I consciously avoided the tech-intensive centers like Silicon Valley and Boston/Cambridge, as well as the high-cost centers like New York. Let's be honest, the tech centers are in permanent bidding wars, and companies in Manhattan have to pay extra when buying a cheeseburger requires a mortgage.

So, I examined average salary breakdowns for areas such as Fort Lauderdale, Bloomington, Ill., Hartford, Conn., Denver, and Phoenix, cities more typical of mainstream USA. I also ignored the entry-level salaries because lots of companies want to actually see what you can do on the job before the raises kick in. Picky, aren't they?

[Read the rest of Jim Connolly's pay day skills analysis on InformationWeek.]

James M. Connolly, Editor of All Analytics

Jim Connolly is a versatile and experienced technology journalist who has reported on IT trends for more than two decades. As editor of All Analytics he writes about the move to big data analytics and data-driven decision making. Over the years he has covered enterprise computing, the PC revolution, client/server, the evolution of the Internet, the rise of web-based business, and IT management. He has covered breaking industry news and has led teams focused on product reviews and technology trends. Throughout his tech journalism career, he has concentrated on serving the information needs of IT decision-makers in large organizations and has worked with those managers to help them learn from their peers and share their experiences in implementing leading-edge technologies through publications including Computerworld. Jim also has helped to launch a technology-focused startup, as one of the founding editors at TechTarget, and has served as editor of an established news organization focused on technology startups and the Boston-area venture capital sector at MassHighTech. A former crime reporter for the Boston Herald, he majored in journalism at Northeastern University.

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Re: The future is bright
  • 3/6/2017 2:51:58 PM
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The Graduate was probably the first big film I could identity with as I too was a recent graduate at the time, but although I certainly heard the "plastics" recommend, I didn't pay much attention to that advice until decades later realized that might have been a good one at the time. Now, data is the word, but I wonder if the younger crowd will ignore that one as I did back in the day? Or conversely, it may become such a hot topic that there will be an abundant source of expertise in a few years?

Re: Salary incentive
  • 3/3/2017 11:18:59 AM
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@Michelle. I think the that use of analytics by people outside the analytics profession often will be hidden from them. If a machine is heading for a malfunction, the network only has to tell the line manager that Board XYZ is running hot or that it is past a key maintenance date. That manager doesn't need to know all the metrics behind the alert.

Or, if I have a dashboard that tells me that customer activity is slowing down in a particular area I don't need to analyze the hard numbers. What I will want to do is ask a natural language question to get at the why behind the result.

If the well-paid analytics pros do their job right they will involve me in the decisions on which metrics are important and then hide the sausage making from me until they deliver results that I know I can trust.

Re: The future is bright
  • 3/3/2017 11:06:43 AM
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"Maybe the analytical thinking is what will feed people who lose their jobs to machines but we better start teaching them some fundamentals now."

But make it a "hands on" lesson that is relevant to their roles. I suspect that too many organizations are still "teaching" analytics by mandate: The just accept it approach.

Re: The future is bright
  • 3/2/2017 8:36:03 AM
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@SethBreedlove, I'd say anything above a supervisory position may require some analytics in the future but honestly, I see many people in positions where it's just do the work, don't think about what you're doing.  Maybe the analytical thinking is what will feed people who lose their jobs to machines but we better start teaching them some fundamentals now.    

Re: Salary incentive
  • 3/1/2017 5:12:49 PM
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Data scientists are well paid because it requires an unusual combination of skills. Not everyone is able to look at some data, clean it up and tease out the explanation.

As more and more jobs require an element of analytics, there need to be ways to include larger numbers of people in the group that can do this work.

IMHO improved data visualization will lower the bar, so that peolpe who aren't as good with numbers and charts can 'see' what to do. 

Re: Salary incentive
  • 2/28/2017 11:58:20 PM
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Analytics will become more natural simply because of increased usage.

Re: Salary incentive
  • 2/28/2017 11:44:34 PM
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Which will be a very interesting future for us all. I couldn't imagine a touch screen device in every pocket, nor can I imagine a future where everyone uses analytics at work.

Re: Salary incentive
  • 2/28/2017 10:57:06 PM
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@louis I think an early start in analytical thinking could certianly pave the way for kids who might not be interested otherwise. 

Re: The future is bright
  • 2/28/2017 10:55:23 PM
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@Seth I've often thought the same. So many platforms offer analytical usage data. It only seems natural for the people using the system to be the kind that actually understand the data. 

Re: Salary incentive
  • 2/28/2017 10:51:21 PM
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@impactnow   Couldn't agree more. I think future generations will not have this problem of adoption, as you say, (Analytics) will be something required to understand and use in their daily lives.

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