Every time you send a text message, type a tweet, post a Facebook photo, click a link, or buy something online, you’re generating data. And considering there are more than 3 billion Internet users in the world (a quantity that’s tripled in the last 9 years) and 1.75 billion cell phone users, that’s a heck of a lot of data.
Fortunately, as data has multiplied, so has the ability to collect, organize, and analyze it. Data storage is cheaper than ever, processing power is more massive than ever, and tools are more accessible than ever to mine the zettabytes of available data for business intelligence. In recent years, data analysis has done everything from predict stock prices to prevent house fires.
All that data crunching requires an army of data masters. Translation: there’s never been a better time to pursue a career in data. The McKinsey Global Institute predicted that by 2018 the U.S. could face a shortage of 1.5 million people who know how to leverage data analysis to make effective decisions. Enter: you.
The first step on your path to professional data whiz? Taking stock of your three main career options: data analyst, data scientist, and data engineer.