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Emerging big data market offers wealth of new job openings

Big data has brought about a big revolution in the business world, but it's unclear whether today's tech companies and their job recruiters will be able to keep up.

The growing field of information technology requires a great deal of tech talent to guide it along. As companies expand their operations and dedicate more resources to gathering and analyzing information about consumers, they need people to fill many positions. They're looking for technicians to store their information and ensure data quality, and philosophers to interpret what it all means.

Many companies are finding it difficult to fill all of their open positions. The changing face of IT means a glut of new opportunities, but not enough people have the education backgrounds or the professional credentials to take them.

The Chicago Tribune recently reported that companies everywhere are feeling the adverse effects of the current skills gap. Adam McElhinney, head of business analytics at financial services firm Enova, says that the evolution of IT has made it more difficult for his company to fill open jobs.

"There's a shortage of talent that we're looking to address," McElhinney told the newspaper. "Over the past five years, there has been a convergence of data analysis and computer science. Big data requires proficiency at both. Five years ago, that was not the case."

Linda Burtch, founder of executive recruitment firm Burtch Works, has a similar problem. She wants to hire more data analysts as well, but she told the Tribune she was feeling the effects of the shortage.

"There aren't enough of them. Period. End of story," Burtch said. "The demand for quantitative professionals has grown so across industries that there aren't enough kids coming out of school studying math and statistics."

Education and skills training will likely evolve over time to meet the changing needs of IT, but IT is likely to keep moving as well. The workforce must do whatever it can to keep up.

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