IT and management divide could hit UK's Big Data future, survey shows

News James Stirling Dec 3, 2012
Big data word cloud
Big data word cloud

Delegates at big data conference decry lack of skills among workforce and lack of understanding among business leaders

Big Data in the UK is in a precarious position facing a skills crunch, according to research carried out by real time analytics company Acunu.

The organisation surveyed members of Europe’s largest analytics community, Big Data London, and found that 77.9 per cent of respondents believe there is a shortage of big data specialists in the UK.

A further 70 percent said they believe there is a knowledge gap between skilled big data workers and business decision makers. When asked how the gap manifested itself, 66 percent said the problem was “underutilisation of big data”, while another 66 percent said “having unrealistic expectations for Big Data.”

However, when it comes to a lack of skills, the majority of respondents did not believe that formal training was necessarily the answer to the problem. When it comes to keeping up to date with the latest big data skills, 80 per cent said that on the job learning was the best method, while 72 percent said self-teaching was the answer.

In response to the findings, Acunu warned the results are a sign the UK may not be ready to seize big data opportunities in the coming year.

Manu Marchal, director of Acunu and organiser of Big Data London said: “It’s easy to look at a skills shortage and blame a lack of training on traditional educational routes, but when you’re on the cutting edge of technology, you have to be teaching yourself most of the time.”

Hadoop remains the most sought after big data skill (82 percent), while knowledge of NoSQL databases Cassandra and Mongo also came high up the list.

Real time analytics was also highlighted as a desirable and important skill, at 62 per cent, which Acunu claims is a suggestion of a shift in priorities.

“Hadoop is becoming mainstream and it’s no surprise skills in the area are sought after, but it’s clear that the next wave is real time analytics, operational analytics, low latency analytics,” Marchal said.