Salary Survey PLUS: Portrait of the Big Data professional
Posted on
August 7, 2017

This feature first appeared in the Summer 2017 issue of Certification Magazine. Click here to get your own print or digital copy.

What do Big Data professionals tend to have in common with each other?

In the litany of lessons learned from singing animals — which is an impressive canon when you think about it — Baloo the Bear of Disney's The Jungle Book offers sound advice when he warbles, "Look for the bare necessities," and encourages the feral child Mowgli to "forget about your worries and your strife."

Could it be that we all perhaps go through life a little too preoccupied with bad things that might happen, and therefore less appreciative of things as they are? Or maybe it's the singing bears who just don't live in, or appreciate, the world as it is. Whether or not it's advisable, we've developed a habit of asking IT professionals to rate the level of their concern regarding familiar workplace challenges.

For most Big Data professionals, it would seem, concerns about employment are what really moves the needle. A bit more than half of all survey respondents are either concerned (33 percent) or very concerned (19.6 percent) about compensation and benefits, while 40 percent are either concerned (19.6 percent) or very concerned (19.6 percent) about job security, and 42 percent are either concerned (22.3 percent) or very concerned (19.6 percent) about the availability of jobs generally.

After that, it's employer support for certification that really keeps Big Data professionals up at night: A considerable 44 percent of those surveyed are either concerned (25.9 percent) or very concerned (17.8 percent) about the intersection of work and certification.

The importance of recertification and maintaining skills also weighs on the minds of Big Data professionals, with 52 percent of those surveyed either concerned (34.8 percent) or very concerned (16.9 percent) about not letting the perpetually turning hamster wheel of reeducation spin out of control.

Most of the certified Big Data professionals who responded to the survey are men (85.8 percent), but double-digit representation (14.2 percent) for women is always an encouraging sign in the male-dominated IT realm. There's a fair amount of youth among those surveyed, with 6 percent between the ages of 19 and 24, while 30 percent are between the ages of 25 and 34. Roughly 22 percent are between the ages of 35 and 44, with 28 percent between ages of 45 and 54.

In terms of educational attainment, some form of college is the overwhelming norm, as 80 percent of those surveyed climbed the ladder far enough to hold either a bachelor's degree (40.7 percent) or master's degree (39.8 percent), while an additional 7 percent (a somewhat unusually high number) have doctorates.

Many of our surveys indicate little to no unemployment in various IT fields, which is certainly the case with Big Data. A whopping 95.7 percent of those surveyed are employed fulltime, with an additional 2.6 percent taking on part-time hours. That leaves fewer than 2 percent who are currently without work.

Among those who are employed full-time, 37.9 percent have a standard 40-hour work week, while 44 percent work between 41 and 50 hours per week. Roughly 9 percent have the short end of the stick, working more than 50 hours per week, while a lucky 7 percent clock in for between 31 and 39 hours.


Big Data and big enterprise often go hand-in-hand, so it's no surprise that quite a few survey respondents are employed at large firms and organizations. Roughly 52 percent of those surveyed have more than 10,000 coworkers, while an additional 30 percent work at firms where the total headcount falls between 5,001 and 10,000 (20 percent), or between 1,001 and 5,000 (9.6 percent).

The rest are scattered across the mid-size and small business spectrum. Of particular note may be the fact that almost no one is his or her own boss — just 1 percent of those surveyed are self-employed.

Per the norm, we also asked survey respondents to sound off about a range of topics not directly connected — not connected at all, really — to Big Data. That's how we know, for example, that roughly half of all Big Data professionals think their workstation needs at least two monitors in order for them to most effectively do their job. Keep an eye on to find out how others responded, as well as glean additional insight on other survey matters both wacky and weighty.

TABLE TALK : Where do Big Data professionals work, and how high up are there on the corporate ladder?

About the Author

Certification Magazine was launched in 1999 and remained in print until mid-2008. Publication was restarted on a quarterly basis in February 2014. Subscribe to CertMag here.

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