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Specialists for smart data: nine theses

A study produced by accompanying research on smart data identifies the core competencies needed by IT specialists in the age of big data.

17 Feb. 2017

Turnover achieved with big data solutions is growing rapidly. By 2026, according to the Wikibon expert network, it will rise from 18 billion (2014) to over 92 billion US dollars. This is presenting the labor market with significant challenges: even today, say Bitkom figures, employers are seeking around 50,000 specialist workers in the ICT sector in Germany. What’s more, the job profiles are undergoing important changes as well.

"The demand for well-trained big data specialists shows that German companies attach great importance to data-based business models and are increasingly becoming data-driven companies," says Prof. Stefan Jähnichen, Head of Accompanying Research in the "Smart Data – Innovations from Data" technology program at FZI Research Center for Information Technology. "This creates a need for data scientists: specialist workers who understand how big data should be used," explains Jähnichen.

With its new short German study entitled "Fachkräfte für Smart Data: Neun Thesen zum Bedarf heute und morgen" (Specialists for Smart Data: Nine Theses on the Demand Today and Tomorrow), accompanying research on smart data aims to "contribute to the discussion on the competencies required in the fields of big data and smart data and thus help to gain a clearer picture of the requirements for the specialist workers of today and tomorrow," says Prof. Stefan Jähnichen. The short study has been prepared in collaboration with the Hasso Plattner Institute, Potsdam.

Here are the nine theses on the demand for specialists:

1. Logic and the ability to think abstractly are required more than purely technological know-how.
2. Mathematical skills are becoming more important.
3. Sectoral knowledge will become a core competency for smart data.
4. An interdisciplinary approach transforms big data into smart data.
5. Data protection expertise is a core competency.
6. Smart data requires data security competencies.
7. Ongoing education and training is decisive for the development and retention of qualified staff.
8. Corporate digital responsibility (CDR) is more than a passing trend.
9. Employers bear a special responsibility.

The "Smart data – Innovations from data" technology program is being presented at CeBIT 2017 in Hall 6 (Stand C40). Through this program the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) is currently funding 13 flagship projects that are developing innovative service providers and services, above all in the application fields of industry, mobility, energy, and health.

The program aims to promote widespread use of smart data. Small and medium-sized companies are intended as the main beneficiaries of easy manageability of intelligent big data technologies – especially in terms of data security and data quality. The ministry is providing funding for "Smart data – Innovations from data" worth around 30 million euros from 2014 to 2018. Participating companies and organizations are contributing a further 25 million euros.

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