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Finding a Career Path in Big Data & Business Intelligence

Training and development

Even the best of support engineers need to think their way into a next position. The move from supporting business intelligence (BI) to working as an analyst with big data or BI may be a smaller hop than some career jumps, but it still requires planning, and mapping out one's upcoming course of action. Today we make a few salient suggestions to Tio, a support engineer looking to grow his career in big data and BI.

Hello Mr. Tittel,

I am contacting you to kindly ask for your advise on my future career path in Business Intelligence. I was inspired to reach out to you from the post: Breaking into Business Intelligence and Data Analytics. Your advises to Pia were invaluable and I thought I can't lose anything by asking for the same.

Briefly, I am currently a Support Engineer at a major BI company and provide software support to major clients. BI is a new field for me; I started the job about a year ago. I love it so far and would like to continue my development in the area.

I hold a BS in Finance and Economics, and I am currently working on my MBA with emphasis in Information Systems and Technology. I would love to do BI consulting and develop projects for clients. I really enjoy the technical side of BI and would like to stick to it.

In your opinion, given my educational background and current experience, what would be the best career path? Could you suggest any certifications and training I need to focus on? I am still in the beginning of molding my future career plan specifics and your input will be invaluable.

Thank you so much in advance!

Best Regards,


Dear Tihomir:

I would suggest you look into big data and business intelligence certifications. I have written about some of these in my earlier blog post to Pia (take a look at items 4 and 5, as well as the link to the Microsoft BI cert in item 3). I'm currently working on a Best Big Data Certifications article too, so you'll be able to refer to that as soon as it is published (feel free to grab our RSS feed or weekly Newsletter so you don't miss the update).

In addition, you would benefit from a good working knowledge of statistics (a graduate level college course would be ideal), and you'll want to learn about something like Hadoop, NoSQL, or various other big data platforms. There are also excellent big data certifications from the SAS Institute, HP (Vertica), Cloudera, EMC, Oracle, Amazon, and IBM available as well. Any or all of these would be worth looking into.

With a combination of math skills, platform knowledge, and BI or big data certifications, you should become a pretty potent candidate for jobs in the field.

Best of luck in your preparation and studies!

Ed Tittel

Ed is a 30-year-plus veteran of the computing industry, who has worked as a programmer, a technical manager, a classroom instructor, a network consultant and a technical evangelist for companies that include Burroughs, Schlumberger, Novell, IBM/Tivoli and NetQoS. He has written and blogged for numerous publications, including Tom's Hardware, and is the author of over 140 computing books with a special emphasis on information security, Web markup languages and development tools, and Windows operating systems.