Careers Perspectives – from the Bath careers service

Focus on your future with expert advice from your careers advisers

Topic: Labour Market Intelligence

Every company needs a Data Scientist...

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📥  Career Choice, Careers Fairs, Graduate Jobs, inspire, Labour Market Intelligence

What if there was one skill you could acquire that would help you secure a job in any industry?
That skill set is: Data Science.

 

In a report published by IBM this year, demand for Data Scientists will soar by 28% in 2020. Key take aways from the report were:

  • 59% of all Data Science and Analytics (DSA) job demand is in Finance and Insurance, Professional Services, and IT.
  • By 2020 the number of Data Science and Analytics job vacancies are projected to grow to approximately 2,720,000.
  • Machine learning, big data, and data science skills are the most challenging to recruit for.

Think of the sheer amount of data available to organisations and individuals today. As a result, we are no longer able to rely on humans to derive any meaningful insights. Instead we are relying on algorithms which has given birth to the term machine learning. The field of Data Science is bit of a moving target, with new jobs emerging daily - however below are the key roles you may wish to consider:

  • Data Scientist / Engineer: I think this is one of those all encompassing titles. Every organisation can potentially benefit from someone who can analyse past performance of their business to predict future opportunities. The 'Data Scientist' role is more generalist and could be the first step into this field of work. You will need to be confident with stats and have the ability to communicate complex information in an accessible way.
  • Business Intelligence (BI) Analyst: According to Microsoft, BI is all about simplifying data so that it can easily be used by  decision makers within a business. This is a technology driven position, with few entry level roles.
  • Machine Learning Specialist: Machine Learning is a method of teaching computers to make and improve behaviours and predictions based on use of data. As an individual you'll need excellent attention to detail and the ability to think creatively.
  • Data Visualisation Specialist: this is an industry neutral role enabling you to work in any sector or business. The primary job is to creatively and appropriately visualise and present complex data. You'll need strong programming skills and knowledge of databases. This is a highly creative role.
  • Business Analytics Specialist: a role requiring you to be business and tech savvy! This is more of a project management role where you work with technical teams to implement projects internally or for your clients.

So, inspired to find out more? Why not come along to our Careers Fair on 19-20 October, over 200 employers will be on campus. You can use this opportunity to learn about how they are approaching the big data conundrum and the opportunities available to you once you graduate.

 

 

Graduate skills in the world of the future

📥  Advice, Career Choice, Career Development, Careers Resources, inspire, Labour Market Intelligence, Sector Insight

Hardly a day goes by without a news report on robots either taking over our jobs or revolutionising our lives. I recently attended The World of Work Conference at Henley Business School where the message was loud and clear: THE ROBOTS ARE COMING and we all need to adapt and ready ourselves for this new world of work.

It is inevitable, technology gives birth new career paths and along the way some jobs disappear as machines can do them faster. According to the BBC, approximately 35% of current jobs in the UK are at risk. Nesta have put together a handy quiz which assesses the probability of a robot taking over your job. While Transport for London is embroiled in a row with Uber, driverless cars pose a threat to the whole industry (ok..I'm saying this for dramatic effect).

Truth is technological innovation has given birth to new industries. In May this year, the Tech Trends Report, now in its 10th year, provided a fascinating insight into emerging technologies that are on a growth trajectory. They identified 150 trends across a wide range of sectors from Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Bitcoin to Genomics. The one that caught my attention was the development of Invisibility Cloaks. Researchers at Queen Mary - University of London are experimenting with electromagnetic and audio waves, tiny lenses that bend light and reflective materials to hide objects in plain sight.

In a report by Microsoft 65% of school students in university today will take up jobs that don’t exist yet. So what does all this mean in practical terms? If you are embarking on your graduate career, I think it is important to stay focused on sectors and trends with potential for future growth. This awareness will make your career progression easier and potentially offer greater job security. In his book 'What to do when machines do everything' the message is clear - work on developing personal skills such as empathy and creativity (essentially the stuff robots aren't good at - yet). Below are the top 10 skills needed in 2020 (that's round the corner).

Over the next few weeks we are going to blog about careers in emerging industries such as Big Data, Synthetic Biology, Robotics and Regenerative Medicine. So stay tuned....!

 

Getting a graduate job or placement when you have a non-visible disability

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📥  Advice, Diversity, Labour Market Intelligence, Tips & Hints, Uncategorized

 

Applying for graduate jobs can be daunting, but when you have a disability, this can sometimes add to the stress of applying for graduate jobs. This blog aims to allay some fears and also encourage you with tips, advice and information on where you can find help and support to succeed in the graduate labour market.

Defining a non-visible disability

It’s probably a good idea at this point to define what we mean by a non-visible disability. These are basically disabilities which are not immediately apparent. They are also sometimes referred to as “invisible” or “hidden” disabilities. An interesting fact is that one in every two people has some kind of health condition -this may not necessarily equate to a disability under the Equality Act definition but it does mean that there are a lot of people living with things that are not immediately obvious to the eye.

Some of the non-visible disabilities that many of us have so to name a few:

ADHD, Dyspraxia, Deafness, Anxiety, Dyslexia, Chronic Fatigue/ME, Coeliac Disease, Narcolepsy, Repetitive Strain Injury, Tinnitus..

Its worth knowing at this point that there are therefore huge numbers of people working successfully in the workplace with non-visible disabilities.  For example, how many of you know which non-visible disability these well know people from the entertainment and political arena have?

George Clooney     George_Clooney-4_The_Men_Who_Stare_at_Goats_TIFF09_(cropped)

Lady Gaga

Lady-gaga-icon-thatgrapejuiceKylie   Kylie Minogue

381px-Theresa_May_MPTheresa May

Donald Trump                    Donald_Trump_September_3_2015

Daniel Radcliffe Daniel Radcliffe

(answers will be put up on our Careers Facebook Page in a few days time!)

So many people have a non-visible disability but they have successful careers. So how might they have done this?

Become an expert!

What’s important when applying for a job is that you become an “expert” on your disability. It’s important that you understand how your disability affects you and the adjustments you would need to work well in an organisation. So think about what would make your life easier. This may range from flexible working, working from home occasionally, specialist equipment, line management support – a preference for having clear goals and regular meetings to check progress are some of the things to think about.

The question an employer will always want to ask is “What is your disability and how will it affect your ability to do the job?”

Once you feel comfortable with the above and have thought about your needs, and the support you might ask for to succeed in the job, think then about your strengths.

Know Your Strengths

It’s so important to know what you can offer an employer, so spend some time thinking about your personal attributes and your knowledge and experience. For example, a person with dyslexia, has often learned to be very organised because short term memory can sometimes be an issue.

If you suffer from Chronic Fatigue/ME for example, again you may have worked out how to be extremely organised during your degree to meet deadlines and cope with tiredness. You may also have developed strong resilience and empathy skills as a result of your condition.

Think how you have achieved on your degree course and how this could be transferred to the workplace. Perhaps some of the techniques or tools you have used during your academic study would be easily transferable to the world of work. If you are finding it difficult to articulate your strengths, do come and speak to a Careers Adviser.

Finding Jobs

You may find it useful to target disability friendly employers. Look for particular accreditations such as Disability Confident employer or the Two Ticks. disability_confident_employer_roller

EmployAbility www.employ-ability.org.uk is a not-for-profit organisation that provides support and advice for students and graduates with disabilities. Employ-Ability also runs a wide range of internships and graduate recruitment programmes on behalf of many of the most prestigious and progressive blue-chip and public sector organisations.

When or if to tell an employer about your disability

“So how do I get a job and when, if, and how should I tell an employer about my disability?”
When to disclose has probably been the most popular query I have had this year as a Careers Adviser covering students with disabilities.

Disclosure to employers is complicated and a challenge, because you don't always know exactly what you'll be doing in that job, and whether your condition will be relevant. As many disabilities aren’t obvious to people, students may also find it tempting not to let a potential employer know in advance. However, there may be many benefits to disclosing and particularly early in the recruitment process. One recent graduate I met at a Careers Adviser’s training event in London last week said that he really hadn’t wanted anyone to know he had dyspraxia/dyslexia and when applying for the Civil Service Fast Stream, he chose not disclose the first time round and then failed on one of the final tests. The second time round he was advised to disclose, was given extra time and support and he was successful in his application. His biggest regret is not doing this earlier!

Firstly, if you are not sure, you can decide anytime whether to disclose or not. However, the important thing to bear in mind is that you will not come under the protection of the Equality Act 2010 until you do. For more information on this take a look at https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/equality-act-2010/what-equality-act

or Diversity Link information.

At the Psychometric Test, Application or Interview stage?

If you do decide to disclose think about when you might. You may decide if you have dyslexia or suffer with anxiety or ADHD, that it would be good to tell an employer of your disability prior to sitting any psychometric tests as you may need to ask for additional time and in some cases you may need to give the employer time to consider alternative tests in order to measure your capability to do the job. A key tip here is think about telling the employer sooner rather than later as preparation work would need to be done to best support you.

You may decide to disclose at the application stage as  companies may select you then on meeting the essential criteria required to do the job. You may decide that you would prefer to apply and then if shortlisted disclose then. It may be that you need some reasonable adjustments for the interview in order to compete successfully.

You may decide that actually, you will wait to see if you get a job offer and then speak to an employer about support you might need in the workplace.

Some graduates decide to wait and see and will start working before making a decision to disclose.

It’s really up to you and what you feel is the best time if at all. If you would like help on making this decision then please do book to see me – just email me - Melanie Wortham or careers@bath.ac.uk. If you are leaving Bath then we can do a Skype appointment.

Links to information and Advice

There are many non-profit organisations and charities who also offer advice and support. Some of these are:

EmployAbility (specialist organisation working with disabled students and graduates)
Disability Rights UK (includes a useful careers guide)
RADAR (disability rights organisation)
Leonard Cheshire Disability (the UK's leading charity supporting disabled people)
Great with disability
Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB)
Action on Hearing Loss (formerly Royal National Institute for Deaf People)
MENCAP (for people with learning disabilities)
MIND (for people with mental illness)
British Dyslexia Association
The Dyspraxia Foundation
Narcolepsy Association
Interview and Assessment Centre Preparation

Resources at the Careers Service

We have many resources in the Careers Service to support you.

Check out our website http://www.bath.ac.uk/students/careers/

See our selection of DVDs on preparing for interviews and assessment centres http://www.bath.ac.uk/students/careers/information-resources/catalogue.bho/index.html

Book a practice interview to help you prepare for those difficult question and alleviate some anxiety

Try out our video interview software Interview Stream

So my final thought for today is play to your strengths and take your time to prepare for the recruitment process, finding out exactly what is involved and how you can be a success in that job.

For further information and support do contact us by popping into our new facilities in the Virgil Building on Manvers St or sending us an email at careers@bath.ac.uk.

 

Melanie Wortham

Careers Adviser

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Graduate Fair Blog Series: Looking for work locally?

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📥  Advice, Careers Fairs, Careers Resources, Finding a Job, Graduate Jobs, Labour Market Intelligence, Tips & Hints

Bath3

This blog entry is a part of the Graduate Fair Blog Series introducing sectors and industries which will be present at the University of Bath Graduate Fair, Tuesday 25th April. Please go here for more information about the fair and the employers present.


So you are graduating soon and you want to stay in the local area, great! There may be many reasons for this, perhaps you are from here or have established family here? Perhaps you love the area so much you would like to stay (like I did 10 years ago)?  Whatever reason, Bath, Bristol and the rest of the South West are lovely places to live and work.

The disadvantages by looking in one region only

Be aware that looking in one region only may limit your job opportunities. In some towns and cities certain industries dominate, while others are under-represented. Limiting yourself geographically may not match with your particular career choices so you need to do your research. Ask yourself how long you are willing to commute? Bath and Bristol are commutable, but you may also want to consider towns like Cheltenham, Swindon and Reading or Newport in Wales. Work out how you will get to work, the costs and how far you are prepared to travel so you can look beyond the immediate locality.

Employers in the Bath area

Bath is not a big city so it is limited in terms of which sectors/industries are located here. The biggest employers in Bath are in the education and health sectors, i.e. the two Universities and the NHS. A wealth of software development firms base themselves in Bath and several internationally recognised architectural and engineering consultancies are found in Bath (source: Bath and North East Somerset Council). See our graduate jobs leaflet for more details on companies and organisations in Bath.

Major Industries in the South West

The major specialisms/growth areas in the SW:

  • Advanced Engineering which includes Aerospace (Bristol), Automotive (Swindon), measuring instruments and medical devices (Gloucestershire)
  • Biomedical and Healthcare (Bristol/Bath and Exeter/Plymouth)
  • Creative Industries (Bristol, Gloucestershire and Plymouth areas)
  • Environmental Technologies
  • Food and Drink (Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Dorset)
  • Information Communication Technology (Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Bristol, Devon)
  • Leisure and Tourism
  • Marine (Devon, Cornwall and Dorset)

Source: www.gradsouthwest.com which includes more details about these sectors.


Gradsouthwest will be at the graduate fair, do go and ask them any question you may have about staying in the South West! In addition, CIMPA, Decision Analysis Services, Sword Apak and Rise Technical Recruitment have roles in Bristol and London and Country Mortgages has roles in Bath!  Research these employers and the roles they can offer in our Graduate Fair programme.


How to find local work as a graduate?

First, you should make a list of employers that you are interested in.

Find out what employers exist in the area that are in the sectors or industries you would like to work in. Our Find a Graduate job leaflet has some great tips for you:

  • Monitor local job adverts – senior posts will still alert you to potential employers
  • Ask local people which companies they know
  • Tap into local networks of relevant professional bodies or looking for local business groups
  • Look for news items, articles and annual reports in local newspapers and business magazines for potential job growth, e.g. new factories/offices, new product/service launches, organisations relocating, takeovers etc.
  • Keep your eyes open for businesses of interest
  • Building local contacts from your own recreational activities.

You can also find A-Z lists of employers that have been in contact with us on our website.

What are the typical job websites?

You are able to search for local jobs in MyFuture, but be aware that there will be many more jobs available that are not advertised on MyFuture. Bath Chronicle advertises jobs in the Bath area, Bristol Evening Post in the Bristol area. Duport business confidence reports details business performance trends in the city. There are many more local job sites for you to try, please go here for a comprehensive list.

Contacting employers speculatively

As you know, most jobs are not advertised! Therefore, you should be flexible and creative in your approach to employers. Can you apply speculatively? Use LinkedIn in your job search? Get ideas from friends and other contacts? Our Find a Graduate Job leaflet gives you an insight in to different strategies in job hunting.

What else is there to say but the best of luck in your search and maybe I will see you for lunch in Bath or Bristol soon!

good-luck-1200588_960_720

 

Researching employers using library databases

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📥  Careers Resources, Commercial Awareness, Labour Market Intelligence, Sector Insight, Tips & Hints, Uncategorized

Researching employers using library databases

I recently went along to a careers skills session delivered by Management Librarian Helen Rhodes. The aim of the session was to look at some useful tools to help students find business and industry information through several useful databases which are found through the library website. Even though I had some basic knowledge about the databases before, I was surprised about the extensive and detailed information you could find on employers, including developments and issues, competitors, tweet mentions and news, but also covering sector and industry information, country profiles and lifestyle analyses. At the end you can usually print out a detailed summary as a PDF report! The information you find can absolutely give you an advantage in that graduate interview and your commercial awareness will increase immensely, which is exactly the skill employers say graduates lack the most!

So here is a summary of some useful databases, what they can do and where you can find them. Be aware that there are many different usages of each database and I am just covering a few examples below.

All of these databases and more can be found on our library website.

hoover

Hoovers is a database of 84 million companies and industries. It offers financial and executive details plus a description of activities and competitors of public, private, and government-run enterprises.  By using the search engine on top of the page you search by companies, people and also industries. For example, a quick search for “wind power generation” under industries gave me detailed information about the top companies within the industry, the business challenges and key insights into industry facts and developments. You can also search industries by location. A great tool!

marketline

Marketline has 31000 detailed company profiles, SWOT analyses and industry reports with PESTLE analyses. This is another very useful database, which is useful for researching companies but also for researching a specific industry or sector. For example a search for chocolate confectionary under industry gave me detailed industry reports from all around the world regarding the chocolate confectionary industry!  A detailed pdf report including graphs and tables was available within seconds as well.

passport

Passport also has many company profiles and industry reports, however with passport you can get detailed reports across 80 countries including country reports, market share information and consumer trends and lifestyle analysis. If you are thinking of applying to work in another country, Passport is an invaluable tool for you.

nexis

Nexis provides access to the latest business news and data. It features profiles of 46 million global companies and 3 million UK companies. It includes UK national newspapers and trade press, plus hundreds of newspapers and magazines published worldwide.  A great resource before that very important interview!


Helen Rhodes offers regular workshops on how to use these databases effectively, both through Faculty and through Careers. Have a look at MyFuture in the new year for workshops and talks arranged in the Spring term.

The Careers Service has an excellent help guide on researching employers:

http://www.bath.ac.uk/students/careers/docs/research.pdf

 

 

Play games and score a graduate job!

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📥  Advice, Applications, Graduate Jobs, Labour Market Intelligence, Tips & Hints

I have a confession to make... I have got to level 409 on Candy Crush and have three stars in all the levels! Whilst this fact will never make it to the top of my CV, I have recently learnt that gamification psychometrics is coming and in a big way! I know what you're thinking (the thought crossed my mind too) - why won't employers leave us alone in our safe gaming heaven away from the realities of the world?

I guess one way of looking at this is that, the reliance on verbal and numerical reasoning can be a cause for anxiety for many candidates. Where as gaming can create a relaxed and informal approach to selection and employers have the opportunity to tease out those all important transferable skills such as resilience and creativity.

Gaming in the selection process isnt a 'thing'! A number of graduate recruiters are harnessing these tools. For example, KPMG in Australia started testing out their own game on applicants for internships and at PwC they’re using gamification in recruitment at their Hungary branch. This trend isn't limited to professional services firms, in the UK organisations such as Unilever are using gaming as part of their psychometric assessment and have partnered with Pymetrics.  I actually gave the pymetrics games a go and found it really interesting. Once I completed the games, I was sent a personal traits profile which I believe could be useful in helping you clarify your future direction. Companies such as Siemens use gaming to simulate and bring to life specific jobs; Plantville offers applicants the experience of working as a plant manager. Players are faced with the challenge of maintaining the operation of their plant while trying to improve the productivity, efficiency, sustainability and overall health of their facility. Google has been organising a Google Code Jam software-writing competition for 12 years as a way to find fresh, new talent to work for the company.

So does this mean that my level 409 in Candy Crush makes me some sort of exemplary and highly sought after candidate? Sadly not... Employers who use gaming are looking at uncovering specific behaviours and strengths. Arctic Shore, who are leading in this field have developed three games designed to uncover distinct strengths:

  • Firefly Freedom - assesses innovative behaviour
  • Cosmic Cadet – tests for intelligence and resilience
  • Yellow Hook Reef – Tests General Mental Ability

You can download these from the Apple Store and Google Play. Have a go and let us know what you think of this trend in graduate recruitment.

 

How LinkedIn can help you find employers

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📥  Labour Market Intelligence, Sector Insight, Social Media, Tips & Hints

LinkedIn-left-behind

We are going to shamelessly link to the University of Leeds Careers Centre Blog as they have done an excellent job, through three blog posts, in writing about how you can use LinkedIn to find relevant employers. Thank you Team Leeds!

"Whether you’re looking for experience, placements or a graduate job, it can sometimes be hard to identify potential relevant employers.  This is particularly so if you’re looking outside of the large multi-national organisations. Opportunities with other types of employers, or in other sectors, may not be as widely advertised, and many people actually find jobs and experience by pro-actively approaching employers of interest on a speculative basis. In this 3-part mini series, we’ll show you 3 easy ways you can leverage LinkedIn to identify potential employers of interest."

3 ways LinkedIn can help you find relevant employers: Part 1 - outlines how the advanced people search function can help you identify potential employers.

3 ways LinkedIn can help you find relevant employers: Part 2 - outlines how you can use the company search feature to identify employers by location and sector.

3 ways LinkedIn can help you find potential employers: Part 3 - shows how you can use two features of LinkedIn to help you find similar organisations to those you have already discovered.

 

 

The futures bright, the futures green!

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📥  Advice, inspire, Labour Market Intelligence

This week representatives from 195 countries are attending the Paris Climate Summit along with 138 leaders including US president Barack Obama, China’s Xi Jinping, India’s prime minister Narendra Modi and the UK’s David Cameron. The objective of the summit is for all nations to reach a new global deal on cutting carbon emissions beyond 2020 (when current commitments on greenhouse gas emissions run out). World leaders will also agree on financing to help poorer countries cope with climate change. Scientists have warned that if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, we will pass the threshold beyond which global warming becomes catastrophic and irreversible.  Whatever the outcome, the long-term decisions that governments and business take because of the deal in Paris will have a far reaching impact from which power plants provide our energy, to what food we eat.

 

1_Paris 2015

 

Whatever your view about Climate Change, there's no denying, the Green Economy is growing and potentially presents some of the most dynamic career opportunities. Yet my gut feeling is that many students are simply not aware of the wide range of roles available. Another important factor to consider is the evolving and rapidly changing nature of the sector which means; new jobs are being created daily with new skills sought by employers that you may not have considered.

Where do you start? According to the UK governments 'Skills for a Green Economy' report, growth can be expected in the following areas:

  1. Low carbon and renewable energy: There are significant employment opportunities. For example, the offshore wind supply chain will
    need up to 70,000 more workers by 2020, from planning and development professionals through engineers and technicians to legal and financial specialists and admin and IT staff.
  2. Low carbon vehicles: the recent Volkswagen car emission scandal brought home the need for innovation in the automotive industry. Specialist skills are needed to develop and design advanced new materials and components and to maintain new vehicles. Management skills will be needed to oversee and embed these developments and to improve overall efficiency and sustainability. There is also a need for specialist skill sets in, for example, alternative fuels distribution; and hybrid/electric vehicles.
  3. Sustainable and secure food: last night I was watching Country File where a European trial to feed pigs and chicken maggots instead of soya was featured. The programme emphasized the need to find additional sources of protein for animal feed, which  is driven by the increasing global population and the rising demand for meat.
  4. Sustainable building & construction: new government regulations expected to come into effect in 2016 will require all new homes built in the country to be zero carbon. The same regulation is due to apply to all new non-domestic buildings – including offices – by 2019. New skills are needed for: environmental legislation targets; ecosystem services design and management; designing and managing multifunctional spaces; land use planning and
    development planning; carbon and water footprinting etc.

That's not all, we can expect to see a increase opportunities for staff with 'light green' skills such as HR and recruitment specialists, lecturers, finance and marketing professionals. To get you started, explore the careers resources on the University of Oxford's website which covers Energy and Environment. You can also access the Environment 2012 directory, which you can use to research organisations in the UK and globally. For inspiration, do consider reading National Geographic's 11 of the fastest growing green jobs. 

 

Careers Service - on-demand lectures

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📥  Careers Resources, Labour Market Intelligence, Tips & Hints

Often during our Development programme, we are running multiple sessions at the same time. And that inevitably leads to students telling us 'I would love to go to both, but can't - is there any way I could have the slides for session x?'

Well, we aim to please - and now we have gone one better. We have experimented with the lecture capture system and have recorded a couple of sessions for your convenience.

So, if you are an international student wanting to get a little more familiar with the UK job market, have a listen to our session on 'Understanding the UK job market for international students'.

Also, for any of you interested in further study, our session on 'Postgraduate study - is it for you?' is also available.

You will get the slides and the audio, and as with any lecture that is captured you can skip to the bit that interests you or listen to the whole session. The sessions can be viewed on or off campus - just use your Computing Services login if you are prompted for one.

We would love to know what you think of this service - if you find it useful, we can arrange for more of our talks to be captured next semester. And if you have recommendations for sessions you'd particularly like recorded, do email us at careers@bath.ac.uk. Of course, workshops such as the international students series or the assessment centre workshops don't work but any of the hour-long ones can in theory be recorded - all we need is notice (to arrange recording!)

 

Does 'Big Data' present big opportunity?

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📥  Advice, inspire, Labour Market Intelligence

I caught a really interesting programme a few weeks back on Radio 4's PM about the Chinese governments plans to give every citizen a 'social credit score' by the year 2020. In fact this seemingly ambitious goal is very much on track with groundwork by Ant Financial, a subsidiary of the Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba, which has created a system which assigns users a score out of 950 based on their credit history and social media presence. Whatever your view of this development, the truth is that every day we are generating a tidal wave of data, from scanning your card at the supermarket, posting on social media sites to streaming a movie....… the list is endless, and it is this huge amount of data is making projects such as China's social credit score a possibility. Cue the buzzword 'Big Data'; which according to IBM is extremely large data sets that may be analysed computationally to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behavior and interactions.

So, how big is big data? Scratch the surface and the figures are quite astonishing. A study in 2013 by research group IDC predicted the digital universe will reach 40 zettabytes in size – that’s 45 trillion gigabytes – by 2020. That’s a 50-fold growth in just one decade.  So, essentially big data is concerned with the collection, analysis and interpretation of data from this huge, multi-dimensional numeric world. Yet, according to IDC, less than one per cent of the world’s data is currently being analysed.

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Big data underpins every major sector; from investment banking to healthcare to education. In fact according to the LSE Careers Service, the majority of big data jobs are found in the finance, marketing, banking/investment banking, retail and games industries. Big names in big data include IBM, SAS, Dunnhumby, Google, Amazon, SAP, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Accenture, British Airways, Sopra Group, Barclays, Amadeus Software, Aviva, Base 3 Systems Ltd, Capital One, CSP, Department for Work and Pensions, Nationwide Building Society, Office for National Statistics and HM Revenue & Customs, RWE nPower, HSBC, The Home Office… plus many, many more!

So what does this mean if you are a current student or graduate? Well, we can expect to see a rise in 'Data Scientist' jobs for a start. In fact, McKinsey is forecasting that the US will face a shortage of up to 190,000 data scientists by 2018. The evolution of the Internet of Things (IoT) will also play an interesting part in the employment needs of big data employees as more specific personal data is produced (especially linked to human behavior, advertising and purchasing). Therefore we can assume the boom in big data jobs will not just be limited to engineering, technology and maths. According to Computer World, big data employers aren't simply looking for technical skills or academic degrees.  Rather, they seem to be after soft skills such as: a curious mind, the ability to communicate with non-technical people, a persistent, even stubborn - character and a strong creative bent.

Whilst we don't quite know the full extent of job opportunities that will arise as a result of big data,  you can take control of managing career by striving to gain relevant skills and by staying plugged into market developments.  How do you do this?

  1. Self-awareness: yes, that old chestnut! It is important to seek feedback from others and proactively identify opportunities for personal growth. This can be by attending a coding course, doing a MOOC or learning a language. You can take advantage of extra-curricular activities on campus to develop the soft skills employers value.
  2. Exploring & creating opportunities: it is important to shift from 'looking for advertised' opportunities to a mindset where you create, investigate and seize opportunities. This means networking - attending employer events, talking to alumni and going to talks that may be outside of your field of study.
  3. Being flexible: This is about having the flexibility to apply your skills into new contexts especially in light of a rapidly changing labour market.

Check in on tomorrow when we will blog about the career opportunities this presents!