"Precision toolmakers need people with computer backgrounds to run their assembly lines," she says. "As cars get smarter, we need tech people who understand how to build and repair them. Hospitals need patient advocates who understand health care, the law, and database technology so they can help people maneuver through the system. Every industry will require smart technology people with subject-matter expertise who can create new devices and think through all ways they might be used. "
Here are five hybrid data-driven jobs born of the big data revolution -- and one in danger of being sidelined by the deluge, as yesterday's "superusers" transform into tomorrow's business-IT professionals.
Data mining: The physicist who became a data scientistJonathan Goldman's job is a textbook example of the changes big data has brought. The director of analytics and applications for Aster Data, a division of data warehousing giant Teradata Systems, Goldman holds a doctorate in physics. But after he joined LinkedIn in 2006, he became a data scientist.
At LinkedIn, Goldman was asked to take massive amounts of data collected by the business social network and turn it into products. The result: features such as People You Might Know, an algorithm that looks for non-obvious links between people and offers recommendations for making new connections.
At Aster, Goldman brings his data-crunching skills to a wider set of problems, such as isolating factors that can reduce customer churn for telecoms or optimizing the flow of information on a website.
"Websites used to capture only transaction data -- what was bought, who bought it, when it was shipped," he says. "Traditionally, click data was thrown away. But not anymore. The amount of data generated just by people clicking on a website is in the terabyte range. Working with lots of data can really change your business and enable you to do more and more."
Data scientists aren't just limited to social networks and data warehousing firms, says David Inbar, director of sales and marketing for Pervasive Software, a high-performance platform provider for data-intensive analytics.
"Industries most likely to hire a data scientist are those adopting big data technologies like Hadoop, and they're everywhere -- consumer packaged goods, retail, financial services, and any company dealing with Internet-scale data," he says. "Most organizations probably haven't realized just how big the big data wave is going to be and the extent to which it will bring conventional IT architecture to its knees."