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10 Big Data Career Killers
Data scientists are in high demand. The Big Data market will grow anywhere from 20 percent to 40 percent annually through 2017, depending on the market forecast you trust most. But even an industry boom doesn't guarantee job security. Here are 10 missteps that can stop your Big Data career in its tracks.Note: Special thanks to Jack Welch, executive chairman of Jack Welch Management Institute at Strayer University. Taking poetic and editorial license, we adjusted his "10 Career-Killing Pitfalls" list to focus on the Big Data market.Image: iStock
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1. Misfiring On Performance and Values
Global 2000, midsize and even small companies worldwide promote Big Data case studies that show big victories and rapid ROI (return on investment). All the hype could tempt you to make big promises within your own company -- only to under-deliver on deadline. Instead of thinking really big, find a data project that can deliver a small, quantifiable victory really fast.Image: iStock
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2. Resistance To Change
You were ahead of the curve when the Big Data wave started. But maybe most of your data experience involves traditional, internal IT systems. As the cloud and mobile waves continue to gain momentum, you'll need to embrace new ideas about how to gather, manage and analyze data.Image: iStock
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3. Being a Problem Identifier vs Problem Solver
It's easy to point out challenges in today's IT and business organizations. They're everywhere. But the highest-value data scientists examine problems from multiple angles -- and then come armed to meetings with potential solutions.Image: iStock
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4. Impressing Your Boss -- But Not Your Peers
When you solve complex riddles, you share the answers in private emails with your boss. And you often send your big ideas after-hours... to show that you're crunching the data around the clock. But you failed to loop in your peers. In fact, you forgot to credit data scientists from other groups who -- piece by piece -- contributed to your "groundbreaking" work.Image: iStock
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5. Looking Up Instead of Focusing on the Present
We all want clear career paths with lots of upward mobility. But as you glance to the sky for that next big promotion, are you overlooking key tasks, responsibilities and business needs in the here and now?Image: iStock
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6. Running for Office
You and your peers each have access to the same tools and the same data. But for some reason, your opinions about the data are always a little stronger, always a little louder than the other voices in the room. It's fine to promote why your conclusions are just a bit different than those around you. But don't alienate the room along the way. Image: iStock
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7. Self Importance
This builds on our previous point (6. Running for Office). You've gone beyond running for office. At this point, you're so rigid, so humorless in your ways that peers begin to wonder why you became a data scientist in the first place.Image: iStock
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8. No Courage
In an earlier point (2. Resistance to Change), we warned that some data scientists are already becoming creatures of habit. On the flip side, sometimes you will absolutely need the courage and conviction to push back against the system -- especially when business and IT leaders begin to push for faster, bigger results that your team simply isn't staffed to deliver.Image: iStock
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9. No Succession Plan
Want to become your company's next Chief Data Officer? You can't rise to that post until you have a succession plan for your own position.Image: iStock
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10. Complacency
You were part of your company's first data scientist team. You strung together some key victories -- gathering data from structured and unstructured systems, making sense of it all, then delivering some quantifiable ROI. But somewhere along the line, you became complacent. Your certifications aren't up to date. You aren't even familiar with the latest SaaS and mobile data streams that your company could be analyzing. You are, alas, a data slacker.Image: iStock
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Thanks to Jack Welch
Special thanks to Jack Welch, executive chairman of Jack Welch Management Institute at Strayer University. Taking poetic and editorial license, we adjusted his "10 Career-Killing Pitfalls" list to focus on the Big Data market.Image: iStock