If you’re in the market for a career change or still in school and thinking about your future, consider the growing economy around Big Data and Data Science. It’s not just for computer programmers, mathematicians and statisticians — though that’s a strong factor — but also for business strategists, graphic designers and many more. In fact, Big Data will affect many aspects of our lives and Data Science will require new ways of thinking about all the information that we collect.

What Is Big Data, Anyway?

If you thought that the amount of data coming from the Mars Rover was a lot, well you ain’t seen nothing yet. The sources of data are also expanding — sometimes from unexpected sources:

  • Open Data — budgetary and socio-economic (cities, states/ provinces, countries), environmental data (land, oceans, weather, astronomy), law enforcement, sports data.
  • Social networks — which includes both public and private data.
  • Internet of Things (IoE) — which includes physical or environmental sensors (sometimes attached to creatures including bees and cows), home automation, and other devices — along with all other devices that are Internet-connected.
  • Personal data — which includes private and anonymized public healthcare info, personal lifelogs and to-do lists in the cloud, etc.
  • Other user-generated content (UGC), such as video uploads
  • Commerce transactions — both online and in-person private and anonymized public data.

This is merely a short list of sources from which the world will collect data.

Are we ready for the massive amounts of data in our future? In Nov 2013, the U.S. White House informed colleges that the country needs more Data Scientists because of the beyond-astronomical amount of data that the United States and the rest of the world will be collecting on a daily basis in the near future — and the need to manage all that data.