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Demand for big data contractors sees 128% year-on-year increase

The number of job vacancies for people with big data skills has increased in the past year, with the demand for contractors in this area skyrocketing

The demand for contractors in the big data field has increased by 128% year-on-year, according to research by recruitment firm Experis.

The study found that firms in the UK are increasingly demanding big data contractors, and that demand for big data skills and professionals with these skills has increased by 78% over the past year.

Martin Ewings, director of specialist markets for Experis in the UK and Ireland, said this focus on big data skills could be due to a number of “regulatory hurdles” that come into effect this year, such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will make looking after people’s data even more important.

“The power of that information is highly prized by organisations and they are eager to acquire the right skills, without necessarily fully comprehending precisely which skills are needed,” he said. 

“For example, a data engineer or data architect might be more useful if the organisation has poor data infrastructures, instead of a data scientist to analyse the data.”

Not only are big data skills in high demand throughout the IT industry, but for a lot of data-led roles a higher level of qualifications is expected from applicants.

Amongst the most in demand skills for specified big data roles include skills in Amazon Web Services (AWS), Python, Hadoop, Spark, Cloudera, MongoDB, Hive, Tableau and Java.

Roles involving big data skills are advertised at a higher salary than some other technology roles, including jobs in cloud, IT security, mobile and web development, with the average big data salary coming in at £67,464, or a day rate of £504 for contractors.

But this level of salary has remained level over the past year, only growing by 0.1% in the first quarter of 2018 compared with the same time the previous year.

Most firms are now looking for candidates with a mix of soft skills and technical skills, and many roles require not only specific big data knowledge but also a wider knowledge of IT.

It has also been argued that the way that the UK’s computing curriculum is designed makes it difficult for pupils to move into more complex technical concepts such as data analysis.

Experis also found the number of big data roles advertised in London is on the decline, with only 74% of big data roles advertised in the first quarter of 2018 for roles in London, compared with 88% during the same period in 2016 and 85% during the same period in 2017.

Many believe that to increase the diversity of the technology industry, as well as recruit the skilled people firms need, organisations need to start looking outside of the “London bubble” by emphasising and supporting localised initiatives which aim to get more people interested in tech.

Read more about tech skills

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  • Amazon Web Services commits to equipping 100,000 people across Europe with cloud skills to help speed up adoption of off-premise technologies and services across the continent.

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