How to Switch Careers to Big Data from Software Eng

How to Switch Careers to Big Data from Software Eng

Did you hear? Your skill sets are in high demand! Employers across the globe are seeking to hire professionals with software engineering qualifications to meet and exceed the needs of Data Science, AI and Analytics projects.

1. 6 Career benefits of transitioning your career to Big Data from Software Engineering

Adding data science & analytics qualifications to your existing software engineering skill set will make you one of the most sought after professionals of the 21st century.

Here are 6 career benefits of switching to Big Data from Software Engineering:

  1. Skills Shortage – the global data science and AI skills shortage will give you the opportunity to become an in-demand professional with a sought after skill set and a data-driven mindset, which are skills desired by big data employers everywhere.
  2. Career Acceleration – by revitalising your resume with data science and analytics skills, you are also revitalising your job prospects. Once you become a certified big data professional with software development skills, you will be employable globally across different industry sectors. You will have constant opportunities to achieve your current career goals, set new ones, and achieve them too.
  3. Big Data = Big Rewards – software engineers across Asia Pacific currently earn between $49k-$75k across their careers. A career in the big data industry will see you earning between $70k $99k+ in Singapore (Averaging AUD$70–$99k). The average Software Engineer earns AU$91k in Australia, compared to a Data Scientist earning AU$126k (an increase of 18% from 2017). As the demand for data science professionals continues to increase globally, the accompanying salaries of these jobs are also set to increase, which means your earning potential as a big data professional is exponential.
  4. Opportunities to Lead & Learn – once you complete your training, working as a data scientist will give you the technical abilities and professional opportunities to effectively utilise data science, AI and analytics tools to solve business problems with data-centric solutions. Your skill set will also give you more opportunities to lead teams, work collaboratively with different individuals, and the aptitude to confidently present your evidence-based findings to clients. 
  5. Industry Fluidity – jobs within the big data industry are still emerging and evolving, but the demand for data science professionals across different industry sectors is here now. The advancement of technology has provided businesses with data based insights they did not previously have access to, and has helped them realise the importance of this information and how it can dramatically effect their business decisions. So, you will have the freedom to choose job opportunities and work on diverse projects for businesses in industry sectors that actually interest you, as the career scope for your skills is on the rise.   
  6. Recognition & Job Satisfaction – your data science, AI and analytics qualifications will make you a key player, influencer and decision maker in any team, regardless of the industry you work for or your official big data job title. This is because your skills are in-demand and are not easy for everyone to acquire. You will receive industry recognition for being able to provide high-value business solutions, and you will feel more satisfied with your day-to-day because you will be essential to every project.  

2. The skills you already have as a software developer and the skills you will need to learn to become a data scientist

As a software engineer, you are already equipped with skills that are not only relevant to a big data career, but skills that will make it easier for you to acquire and accelerate your career in data science, artificial intelligence and analytics.

The skills you currently have that are relevant to a big data career:

  • You can code and have the aptitude to learn new processes on the job!
  • You know how to communicate with clients and work within a team to achieve targets!
  • You enjoy solving problems / finding logical & creative solutions that meet client needs!
  • You understand the importance of consumer research and continued product analysis!
  • You are experienced with the development life cycle, so you know how to plan, create, test, implement, re-evaluate, and improve business products and technology!
  • You are determined to have a fulfilling career, where your input directly impacts and improves business products!
  • You are able to manage your time and meet project deadlines!

These are the additional skills you will need to learn to become a certified big data professional:

  • You will need to become trained in statistics and machine learning technologies – so you can understand numerical data sets, and perform statistical analyses to extract relevant insights that will directly impact business decisions and outcomes.
  • You will need to learn how to use automation techniques & predictive data analytics – so you can make sense of large data sets, and predict patterns and trends from structured and unstructured data.
  • You will need to learn how to use data modelling & digital visualisation tools/techniques – so you can provide data-driven business insights to clients by collecting, collating, extracting and accurately presenting quantitative, qualitative, and experimental data.
  • You will need to become familiar with additional programming languages – R, Python, SQL, Hadoop, Spark

3. How is the career path and job description for a data scientist different from a software engineer?

The growing global need for data science, AI and analytics professionals means the future of big data professionals is not yet set in stone. This is because the nature of big data jobs is constantly changing based on the data-driven needs of businesses and technological advancements across industry sectors, and so, the future of a data science professional is guaranteed to be expansive, lucrative, and demanding. This means more career opportunities, job security and income for you.

Interestingly, the main differences between a software engineer and a data scientist role are actually also the reasons why combining these skill sets makes for a powerfully skilled big data professional:

  • Software Engineer – you are more connected to product development and how users feel, you aim to use your skills to make the end product better using technology.
  • Data Scientist – you are more connected to the data side of things. You are more concerned with how statistical and experimental data actually effects business processes and the product. Data-driven insight and machine learning technology can optimise and improve businesses and products using analytics, automation and artificial intelligence.

These differences also double up as reasons why switching to big data from software engineering is an interconnected and strategic career move.

For example, as a software engineer right now – regardless of the company you’re working for, your career prospects will likely be looking like this:

  • Junior Developer
  • Senior Developer
  • Lead Developer/Architect
  • Developer/Product/ Project Manager
  • Senior Leadership Role

If this career path seems a little stationary, it is. Yes, as a software developer you have a valuable set of skills to offer in the realms of web development, mobile apps, desktop software, video games and backend systems, but your career progression is limited to existing industry parameters.

Instead, your future career path could look like this and continue to evolve:

Your Future Big Data Job Titles:

  • Data Scientist
  • AI Consultant
  • Analyst
  • Machine Learning Engineer
  • Data Science Manager
  • Senior Director
  • Senior Data Analyst
  • Segment Leader
  • Chief Data Scientist
  • Chief Information Officer  

Your Future Big Data Job Prospects: You could end up working on a range of different projects, locally or globally within big companies/SMEs/start-ups, in diverse industry sectors such as medicine, healthcare, fashion, finance, marketing, business, transportation and more, and all you need to do is get certified.

By combining your software engineering qualifications with big data training – you will be able to provide employers with a “one employee solution” to their software development, data science, artificial intelligence, and analytics related problems. You will possess the skills to become their most valuable hire.

4. Tactics for a mid-career switch from software engineering to Big Data

What if I told you, there was an industry that could help you beat the mid-career slump, and didn’t limit your career progression or your professional potential? In fact, what if I told you, that industry is currently looking to hire individuals with a data science and analytics skillset from a software engineering background?

If you are looking to learn new skills, be challenged and trained for today’s ever changing data-driven business landscape, valued as an in-demand professional with special skills, and compensated generously for your sought after qualifications: switching to big data from software engineering could be your next big career move, you just haven’t made yet!

Here are our 5 tactics for staying motivated during a mid-career switch to big data:

  • Remember why you wanted to switch careers (Different challenges? Better salary? New collaboration opportunities? etc.) – this will help keep you motivated during your educational training / job search process.
  • Set yourself projects to complete using your new big data skills + your software engineering skills – this will allow you to see your new abilities in action and simultaneously build your portfolio and credibility as a big data professional.
  • Don’t let your age stand in your way – you are not too old to change careers, in fact, your previous experience and industry expertise will help you navigate your new big data role with ease and maturity.
  • Keep your eye on the prize when gaining unpaid industry experience – internships and unpaid projects will show initiative and determination to work hard on your resume, and will also allow you to practice your skills.
  • Keep looking ahead and growing your network – everyone you meet on this transitional career change could potentially be a collaboration / job opportunity waiting to happen, keep in touch with your new big data contacts, previous colleagues, and be open to cross-industry networking.

5. How do I get my first big data job and who is hiring / where do I apply?

So, you’re on board with upskilling your software engineering qualifications with data science, AI and analytics skills, but how exactly will you get your first big data job?

These steps are the best pathways to land your first job in the big data industry:

  • Enrol and complete an industry level Data Science, Artificial Intelligence or Analytics course – once you’ve completed your training and become certified, you will be equipped with practical and technical knowledge of analytical processes / techniques necessary for a successful career in the big data industry.
  • Build and demonstrate your new skills to future employers by gaining industry experience – you should aim to gain work experience via internships, completing self-initiated data-driven projects, compiling your professional portfolio, working as a freelancer / consultant on a project basis, to increase the hands-on experience on your resume.
  • Attend Local Networking Events for different Industry Sectors – you should aim to attend networking events to meet fellow industry professionals and industry leaders / recruiters – these individuals could become your future collaborators, employers or clients.
  • Apply to advertised positions on company websites, via email, and various online jobs sites – due to the global skills shortage, there will be many industry sectors looking to hire professionals just like you. You will have opportunities to apply for jobs within: Healthcare, Medicine, Robotics, Manufacturing, Business, Fashion, Marketing, Telecommunications, Government – just to name a few. 

Software engineering qualifications combined with data science and analytics training are in high-demand in the big data jobs market. If you make the decision to start a career transition to big data from software engineering, you will instantly be improving your career prospects, increasing your earning potential, and entering an industry that is seeking professionals with your exact resume.

Find out more about how you can switch careers to big data from software engineering by upskilling your qualifications with the Institute of Data: Part-time and Full-time programs are available now.

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