The Value of Big Data Skills and Certifications

Big data has been an IT buzzword for years, but what does it really mean? The simplest definition is perhaps that it encompasses the concepts and practices related to dealing with information at vast scale. Think of what it is like to manage a database of insurance information or a collection of electronic health records: The scope of such tasks requires expertise with combing through large data sets, as well as familiarity with specific technical tools such as Apache Hadoop and Amazon Web Services.

Learning about big data is not just useful for gaining new insights into existing information; it is also a smart career choice. A survey from CareerBuilder and Emsi found that in the nine months prior to November 2016, there was an average of 2,900 unique job postings for data scientists active on job boards each month. Major firms such as Facebook, Microsoft, KPMG, GE, State Farm and Walmart have emerged as leading hirers of big data specialists, and positions have become abundant in metro areas from Washington D.C. to San Francisco. Six-figure salaries are common in this field.

What big data certifications can improve your credentials for potential employers? Let's review a few of the top ones:

1. CompTIA Linux+

Linux is the common thread in numerous big data platforms, including Red Hat, Hortonworks and SAP HANA, so it pays to be knowledgeable of the Linux kernel and the various operating systems based on it. The CompTIA Linux+ certification - attainable by anyone, although it is a particularly good route for holders of the A+ and Network+ certifications - provides solid grounding in Linux installation, configuration and troubleshooting.

"Red Hat is an important piece in the big data puzzle."

2. Red Hat

One of the many aforementioned Linux-based OSes, Red Hat is an important piece in the big data puzzle for many organizations. There are Red Hat plugins available for Hadoop, along with dedicated contributions to open source projects such as OpenStack and OpenShift. Many Red Hat courses and certifications are also available.

One of the most popular options is the Red Hat Certified System Administrator distinction, which provides extensive background in command line environments, directories documentation associated with Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Other distinctions include the Red Hat Certified Engineer (for performing various technical tasks such as establishing kernel runtime parameters) and the Red Hat Certified Virtualization Administrator (for creating the data center clusters, pools and templates in a virtualized environment).

Linux - represented by the Tux the penguin mascot seen here - is an important building block of big data platforms.

3. Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert: Business Intelligence

This particular certification is set to be retired at the end of March 2017, but the skills it covers are still relevant to big data and are relevant in many other Microsoft realms. Learning about SQL Server trains IT workers to implement data models and reports so that they can glean insights from data sets.

A SQL Server certification is a prerequisite for obtaining an MCSE: Business Intelligence distinction. That more basic certification covers how to query SQL Server implementations, administer SQL databases and set up data warehouses using SQL Server.

Earn your big data certifications today

Big data is a promising field for IT professionals. You can get a head start on a new, better paying job by learning the basic and advanced features of Linux, Red Hat and Microsoft SQL Server. Find a New Horizons Learning Group center near you to begin your journey.

Mar 2017

By: Kayla Tellers