One hurdle is a talent and skills gap. The United States alone, McKinsey projects, will need 140,000 to 190,000 more people with “deep analytical” skills, typically experts in statistical methods and data-analysis technologies.
McKinsey says the nation will also need 1.5 million more data-literate managers, whether retrained or hired. The report points to the need for a sweeping change in business to adapt a new way of managing and making decisions that relies more on data analysis. Managers, according to the McKinsey researchers, must grasp the principles of data analytics and be able to ask the right questions.
I’ve said it before, but if digging into data is your idea of fun, there’s a whole mess of excitement and adventure headed your way. There are lots of opportunities already out there in marketing, journalism, tech, the Web, government, and pretty much everywhere you look. And more importantly, there are lots of opportunities that you can make for yourself. This is a great time for data heads.