Data Analytics, Data Science, Big Data. These are not just buzzwords, but catalysts in growing businesses.
Social networking has become an important part of our lives, where an increasing number of users shop, post messages, tweet and surf.
Their online activity logs contain huge information. Similar is the case with sensor-based monitoring, satellite-based observations and Sensex-based logs.
All these generate data at a high rate and extracting information from these logs is not an easy task. Those who can do so are called data scientists or business analysts.
They possess sound knowledge of mathematics, statistics and computer science.
These data scientists not only analyse existing data, but can also predict and forecast. The biggest challenge lies not in analysing existing data, but pre-processing or data cleaning.
Sometimes, the data available at disposal may not be authentic, so catching the correct characteristics of it is quite challenging.
To become a data scientist, aspirants need to have expertise in data science and analytics-related tools such as R, SAS, Python, SPSS, etc, along with a sound understanding of statistics.
One should have knowledge of machine learning and predictive modelling. Most sources in today’s web-dominated era generate unstructured data, which may contain many imperfections such as inconsistent string formatting, missing values, wrongly spelt words, etc.
There is a huge dearth and thus demand of data scientists. Keeping this demand in view, the top engineering universities have come up with specialised programmes to create such professionals.
Even the government has identified this need and has started increasing the awareness among academia through the Department of Science & Technology, which recently sponsored faculty development programmes on Big Data Analytics across India.
Recently there was a report that data scientists earn more than chartered accountants and engineers. Clearly, the field of Data Analytics has huge potential.
By choosing the right university where a student can learn the right set of skills, one find good opportunities in this field.
Written by: Nihar Ranjan Roy
The author is assistant professor, School of Engineering, GD Goenka University, Gurgaon