What color is your Big Data parachute?

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Salaries are on the rise for IT professionals, increasing anywhere from 3% to 7%, according to the latest surveys. For big data professionals, however, the news on compensation is even better. In a DICE study, IT pros adept at big data-related languages, databases and skills (like R, NoSQL, MapReduce and Hadoop) are getting premium pay, accounting for nine of the top 10 paying jobs.

This finding is borne out by Burtch Works, whose study in April found big data professionals earned $90,000 in median base pay and even more ($145,000) if they were managers. Data scientists (defined by BurtchWorks as professionals who also work with unstructured data) were paid even more, with individual contributors earning $120,000 in median base pay and managers claiming $160,000.

With such a promising outlook, the question that many in IT must be asking is how they can prosper from the surging interest in big data and analytics. Are jobs in big data and data science just for people with advanced degrees in math and statistics? Is there a way to move into a big data role from, say, an Oracle administrator position or Java developer?

The answer to both of those questions, is “maybe.” Here are five considerations when trying to answer those questions for yourself.

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