Data collection worldwide is rising at an unprecedented rate. Alongside this massive growth is a need for talented professionals who can analyze the data and draw inferences from it. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), the collective sum of the world’s data could add up to 175 zettabytes by 2025. To put that in perspective, if you were to download all 175ZB using the largest hard drive available today, it would take 12.5 billion hard drives to complete the task.
The future of big data points to more digital growth, and almost every industry depends on how information is stored, processed, and applied. Data analysts and data scientists are leading the way toward future innovation, mining information from vast sets of data and turning it into actionable insights. An advanced degree such as an online master’s in business data analytics could prepare you to seek opportunities in this cutting-edge field.
What Is Big Data?
Big data refers to data sets too large or complex for traditional data-processing applications and is comprised of structured and unstructured data. Structured data is information that is easy to categorize and search. Often this is quantitative information, like revenue numbers or demographics. Unstructured data, on the other hand, isn’t as easy to organize. Consider video content, blog posts, written emails, and other sources of information that contain content that doesn’t fit neatly into a box. This is unstructured data. Both offer valuable insights, but only after they’re analyzed. Big data experts can use this information to improve on business decisions across industries, including healthcare, government, and finance. In addition, it’s used to predict market trends, understand customer behaviors, interpret the natural world, and much more.
IDC expects worldwide revenues from big data and business analytics (BDA) solutions to reach $260 billion in 2022. The future of big data could see organizations using BDA to combine analyses from the digital world to create real-world solutions.
Trends in the Future of Data Analytics
There are several industries making significant investments in big data analytics, including banking, retail, manufacturing, finance, healthcare, and government. Within these fields, data and business analysts leverage the latest in data analytics technologies to make more informed business recommendations, predict trends, and help increase profits.
The future looks bright for careers associated with big data. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) anticipates computer and information technology occupations to grow by about 13% as a whole between 2016 and 2026. Careers in this industry include database administrators, information security analysts, network and computer systems administrators, and several jobs that deal specifically with big data. There are certain trends shaping the future of data analytics across different industries. Some of these include:
Detecting Financial Fraud
In the past decade, the financial industry has seen advancements in technology that have influenced the way customers bank. From mobile banking to instant peer-to-peer money transfers through mobile apps, these innovations have created a profound impact on how consumers handle money. As a result, banks have invested in big data and analytics solutions. In fact, about 13% of the total money invested in big data solutions worldwide has come from banks, according to IDC.
Technological advancements have allowed the financial industry to incorporate big data analytics into its business model. While the future of big data includes improving the banking customer experience, one of the biggest motivations for big data solutions in the financial sector is fraud prevention. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, financial institutions not only lose billions of dollars annually from fraud, but could also lose their brand reputation from a severe security breach.
The BLS shows an anticipated 28% growth in information security analysis jobs across industries in the United States. Professionals in this role are typically hired to monitor systems for security breaches such as fraud. If these systems are not kept secure, information such as credit card numbers, loan information, Social Security numbers, tax information, and more could be stolen.
Big data, combined with smart technology in the form of artificial intelligence (AI) that is capable of machine learning, can detect patterns of fraud easier than ever before. Moreover, big data allows banks to track and analyze customer behavior, detecting suspicious or unusual activity at a faster rate. The financial industry relies on the skills of quantitative analysts to apply the most advanced analytical techniques to fight cyber crimes, including electronic fraud. Quantitative analysts combine math, finance, and computer skills to enhance financial firms’ models so they reduce risk, increase profits, and improve customer satisfaction.
Big Data in Government
Big data and analytics provide governments around the world with insights to improve the public sector, including public safety, healthcare, and citizen services. Furthermore, big data informs government about citizens’ needs so they can address them systematically. For example, during a natural disaster like a hurricane, government officials can use analytics to identify health issues, coordinate displaced citizens, and allocate resources.
Big data analytics allows governments to analyze information faster. This means they can boost the economy by applying insights to specific sectors. For example, it could be used to monitor city infrastructure, ensuring it’s kept updated and does not cost citizens more than necessary. Additionally, data helps government improve policies more efficiently. Data collected across different sectors, including healthcare, finance, and education, provides governments with insights needed to create policies that are sustainable, economically sound, and cover multiple sectors.
Healthcare Data to Provide Quality Care
The large amount of data collected from electronic health records (EHRs), medical imaging, pharmaceutical research, and patient portals all feed into the health industry’s growing reliance on digital data. For example, wearable devices like Fitbits collect patients’ biometric data and can help them manage health conditions such as diabetes.
Some health insurance providers are using data to reward patients for exercising regularly. Value-based care, in which facilities are paid based on patient outcomes, continues to grow in popularity. The effectiveness of value-based care relies on the data it uses to track patient information and the patient’s experience. One article by NEJM Catalyst notes that the proper use of big data can improve everything from diagnostics to research.
The future of data analytics for healthcare is also in problem-solving. Patient and financial data is not only regulated, but also often spread across many hospitals, administrative offices, and insurance companies. Data analysts need to reformat and “clean” the data to reduce errors and inaccuracies during analysis. IT staff need to work with physicians and administrators to build trust and show them how to organize their IT infrastructure to support big data analytics to offer an even higher quality of care.
The Future of Big Data Calls for Analysts
As the amount of big data continues to grow, so does the need for trained data analysts to dive in and extract insights. Big data analytics provides exciting opportunities for creating change in industries such as finance, government, and healthcare. Data analysts can help change lives by preventing fraud, allocating resources in a natural disaster, or improving the quality of healthcare. The classes offered through online computer science degree programs allow students to build vital expertise in cyber security, software development, and data science.
If building a career that can help to change lives through data analysis sounds enticing, consider an online computer science degree from Maryville University. Explore these robust online programs that provide you with the foundational knowledge you need to make an impact in the future of data analytics.