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Tech Companies Drilling for Talent in the ‘Oil Fields’ of Big Data

  • Data is the new ‘oil’ and companies are looking at technology specialists to help them reap commercial benefits
  • Interest in data scientist and devops engineer roles increase by 428 per cent (data scientist) and 986 per cent (devops engineer) in the past five years
  • ‘Education and training’ skills ranked third most important for data scientists ahead of ‘complex problem solving’ and ‘deductive reasoning’

Specialist technology talent is in greater demand than ever as technology reaches into every aspect of the economy, according to the Reed Technology State of Skills research.

For its State of Skills interactive tool on stateofskills.reedglobal.com, Reed Technology analysed 10 years of data from Google and O*NET to find out more about the changing roles, skillsets and software driving the sector. It found that specialist roles and skills are essential to successful businesses and workers in this sector.

The research charted a rapid rise in interest over the past five years for roles such as devops engineer (986 per cent) and data scientist (428 per cent). This rise in specialist roles has seen interest in more general roles such as web developer fall – a 52 per cent drop from October 2008 to July 2018. 

Problem solving skills were found to be paramount, with ‘deductive reasoning’ (solving problems with general rules) and ‘critical thinking’ (using logic and reasoning to identify the best way to approach a problem) ranked as the most valued skills.

Interestingly, within one of the fastest growing roles – data scientist – an aptitude for ‘education and training’ is ranked most important behind ‘complex problem solving’ and ‘deductive reasoning’. This is likely due to the need to explain and inform others about what they do.

Aside from this, project manager – for which ‘customer and personal service’ is the most important skillset with ‘active listening’ (retaining information and asking appropriate, constructive questions) also integral – is another role within the sector that prioritises communication skills.

Andrew Gardner, director at Reed Technology, says: “By its nature the technology sector is constantly evolving and as such employer requirements and candidate aspirations have to be kept under constant review. Companies want talent that keeps them ahead of the game and many are turning to niche specialists to achieve this. Candidates are always searching for the role that makes them indispensable for the next decade – as such, specialist roles are the way to go.” 

Tech professionals homing in on favoured tools

The State of Skills research conducted also investigated the tools favoured by technology professionals. The change of emphasis more towards tools that help to analyse and visualise is apparent, with data scientist interest in Power Bi showing continued growth with 600 per cent between October 2015 and July 2018.

For many of the roles in the technology sector there is high search interest for newer tools. This demonstrates the technology workers’ constant search for the best technology, so businesses need to keep up to date, evidenced by interest in AWS by develops engineers spiking by 2000 per cent in ten years between October 2008 and July 2018.

Andrew Gardner continues: “The constant evolution of tools to support technology workers means that keeping up to date with these tools is essential to giving employees the best chance of excelling in their role.  Data collection, visualisation, storage and interrogation will only increase in importance as digitalisation gathers pace.

“Data is now viewed by companies as the new ‘oil’, and businesses want to be able to harvest the benefits it can deliver.  Organisations will be on the hunt for technology specialists who can translate data into commercial gain.”

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