Big data, big rewards

My 3,000 word feature on big data is now online at New Zealand Management’s website.

I wrote the story for a non-technical business audience. If you are a big data geek you probably won’t like it. If you’re technical, but work in a different area it might be a useful background read. I recommend business readers buy the printed magazine, that much text is often heavy going on-screen.

When I wrote the story I asked interviewees if there is a real need for big data in a small country like New Zealand. The question hangs a little on how you define big data, some people see it as dealing with databases that are too large and complex for conventional database management software and tools. Others regard it more as a state-of-mind and a collection of concepts.

Either way, there are real big data projects in New Zealand – they mainly involve collecting location data from mobile phones or social media messages, you are being watched. Away from the gargantuan projects, there are plenty of New Zealand companies using big data techniques.

One conclusion from researching the story is that there is a huge demand for people with analytical skills coupled with business savvy to interpret big data. I’m probably a little too long in the tooth to handle this work now – but science graduates like me who are looking for a change of direction should consider retraining for analytical jobs.