Looking for a career change but don’t feel prepared to transition to something new? Big data might be a way to use your existing skills in a burgeoning field called business intelligence.

“Whether you have the ability to compile and analyze data or the communication skills to translate it to decision makers, embracing Big Data can fast-track your career,” advises Select Group on its blog. Select Group is a financial services staffing company.

But first a quick primer on what “big data” is if you’re not familiar with the term. Let’s use this definition from About.com: “The term big data is a catchall phrase that is used to refer to three aspects of the same phenomenon: 1) the vast amount of continually streaming digital information that characterizes much of modern day life; 2) the exponential increases in massive data storage capacity, and 3) the data processing power required to aggregate, analyze, manage, and interpret large volumes of digital information.”

Numbers 1 and 3 are what you want to concern yourself with (unless you’re looking for an IT job related to maintaining big data storage systems). They are the backbone of a much needed position companies are clamoring for: business intelligence analyst.

As Select Group reports, “Analysts can average near six figure salaries or more. So whether your degree is in statistics, business or liberal arts, you can leverage big data to find challenging positions or develop your career.” That’s the secret to moving into this new field; take existing skills and adapt them to your new career.

“Big Data roles are going unfilled because of the difficulty in finding candidates with a blend of analytic, statistic and business skills. And because of the new and changing nature of this field, finding experienced talent is near impossible,” says Select Group. “Departments such as marketing, human resources, legal and finance will all need to prepare for the changes that Big Data brings. And with the promise of improved bottom lines, increased productivity and reduced costs, businesses are eager to add data-savvy professionals to the team.”

In other words, you can learn how to massage the data. Any computer can do that, frankly. What the computer can’t do (at least not yet) is interpret the data with any kind of acuity. That’s why backgrounds in marketing, human resources, law and finance are so valuable for the field of business analysis.

But the transition will take some work in terms of education. That can be both expensive and time consuming. You might want to consult this list of free business analyst training sites. What they can do is provide a basic primer to see if you’re interested and able to make the transition to this field.

The same site, BusinessAnalystsLearning.com, then offers a list of tips on providers that offer paid training to become a business analyst. Is it necessary to get an advanced degree at this point? Probably not but you will need to demonstrate some education or advanced training to prove your skill set.

Just to further test your appetite to become a business analyst, Laura Bradenberg, in her blog at BridgingtheGap.com, offers 42 reasons to consider becoming a business analyst. Among the personality traits she says are good for considering it as a career are:

-A bit of a know-it-all;

-A bit like Columbo;

-A bit of a preservationist;

-A bit like a “people whisperer;”

-A bit like a 2-year-old; and

-A bit difficult or obstinate.

It would seem like the last two traits are one in the same, but Bradenburg explains why they are not. She also offers a free step-by-step business analyst career planning course when you are ready to make the plunge.

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