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May 11 2014

Planning a late career shift to Analytics / Big data? Better be prepared!

I feel lucky to be part of the data revolution happening around us. Because of the attention and the focus on Analytics / Big Data, there are quite a few people considering a late career switch.

career_change_v3

I get quite a few queries asking my advice on this matter regularly. Here are a few samples (after removing names):

I am an equity analyst (finance background) and have 10+ years experience. I don’t have any background in IT. I have a background in chemical technology (BE) and MBA finance.

After all these years and entirely different background; how easy/difficult is to pursue fresh career in these areas – Analytics and Big data. Will there be opportunities for such diverse background on immediate and Long term basis.

Here is another one:

I have 6+ years of experience in IT consulting, none of them is related to Analytics. But I want to move into analytics. Is there a way to do that? Please advise. 

Yet another one:

I came across this site as a part of my quest to change my career track. I have 10 years of experience , out of which last 5 years is in institutional relationship management cum acquisition in banking sector. Prior to that I have 1.5 years sales experience in FMCG sales. I have done MBA(mktg) and B.E. Please guide me,
1. Would my existing profile be adaptable to career in business analytics?
2. How easy (or difficult) it would be to get job in business analytics?
3. Which course and from which institute would relatively assure me of a job immediately in analytics?
Thanks

Hence, I thought of expressing my thoughts for the benefit of a bigger audience. Also, through discussion with other people in this domain, I am hoping to pull in broader views on the subject.

Please note that rest of this article assumes that you are looking for a hands on core analytics role (where you analyze the data yourself) and not a supporting role (e.g. Pre-Sales for Analytics products, Business development for a consultancy)

A few facts you should consider:

  1. The rosy picture (recruiters running behind you) you thought, would be at least 3 – 5 years away. The first few years would be very arduous. More so, if you don’t need to be an Individual Contributor in your current role.
  2. Analytics / Big data is a knowledge intensive domain. You can do well only if you gain knowledge and work hard regularly.
  3. A lot of good companies believe in hiring smart people straight out of college and training them internally. These Organization would not think about hiring you.
  4. In an ideal world, there should be no bias against people with experience. They should be judged only on the knowledge and skills they possess and their willingness to learn / work. Sadly, this is not true. A career shift (especially late in career) is often looked suspiciously, until you have received outstanding recognition in your previous roles.

Would your work experience be considered?

The answer depends on the domain of your experience:

  1. Non technical experience will not count in your analytics jobs – the only benefit you might get is that the interviewer can expect you to be more mature with your thought process / decision.
  2. Technical experience (programming / SQL / server) gets counted, but will only be considered as equivalent of 1 – 2 years experience.
  3. Consulting / research would count more. May not be counted 100%, but healthy fraction would be considered.

How soon can you get a job?

Well, bake in any where between 3 months to a couple of years depending on your learning agility, problem solving skills, communication and presentation skills. If you are outstanding on these attributes, you should get a job as soon as you get some technical skills under your belt. An average person typically takes 6 – 12 months after gaining necessary technical skills. If you take any thing more than 12 months, you should try and re-assess what is going wrong.

P.S. This would vary from geography to geography. The above answer is applicable in markets where there is big un-fulfilled need of analysts.

OK, you have thought enough. You are absolutely sure that your life would not be complete without a shot at analytics. What next?

In case you are absolutely sure, here are the next steps:

Once you have followed these blogs / communities for a while (say at least a month after your course at Coursera), you can look out for certification courses to begin your journey.

My final advice:

If you are not in deep love with data and can not spend hours slicing and dicing data in front of a computer, analytics may not be your cup of tea.

Take this up only if you tick all the boxes below:

  • You are absolutely crazy about this industry. You can’t help but analyze any numbers you come across – I play with numbers on the number plate of any vehicle which passes me.
  • You have undergone a few courses on Coursera / eDX and have excelled at them. You have submitted all the assignments and have scored extremely well.
  • You have the perseverance and motivation to undergo 2 – 3 years of arduous work learning about a new knowledge intensive domain.
  • You are willing to spend a lot of time as Individual Contributor

Lastly, if you have family support in this move / decision, it will make the move less painful (or more enjoyable depending on the way you look at).

P.S. The aim of this article is not to dissuade people wanting to join Analytics Industry. I know a lot of people, who made this switch in middle of their career and they have not been more happier in their career ever before! Their passion for analytics and numbers comes across even if you spend 5 minutes talking to them.

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79 comments

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  1. samir

    Nice job !!

  2. Tuhin Chattopadhyay

    Excellent article. A course on analytics from IIM/ ISB/ abroad could also enhance the probability of success.

    1. Datta

      Hey Tuhin,

      You pointed out an interesting thing, please have a look into this article if you missed it. :)

      http://www.analyticsvidhya.com/blog/2013/07/advanced-analytics-certifications/

  3. Dheeraj Chowdhary

    Hi Kunal,

    Very informative article but you missed mentioning some good courses on Coursera / eDX. Request to kindly mention the same in the article.

    Thanks,

    1. Kunal Jain

      Dheeraj,

      Have added them. Thanks for pointing this out.

      Regards,
      Kunal

  4. Mehdi

    Tnx for this useful article.

    I’m master student and really enthusiastic about this field of study. Could you please write some about new trends in data mining and machine learning and Ph.D opportunities in this fields?

    1. Kunal Jain

      Mehdi,

      Thanks for the idea. I will pen down my thoughts at some point in near future.

      In the meanwhile, if you have specific queries, feel free to ask.

      Thanks,
      Kunal

  5. Kriti Gupta

    Hi Kunal,

    Nice stuff!
    Analytics Vidhya is providing Summer Training on Business Analytics.
    Is there any training on web anaytics also?
    what are the career opportunities for a web analyst in India? Do Software Companies also recruit Digital Marketer,Web Analyst?

    Thanks.

    1. Kunal Jain

      Kriti,

      Thanks.

      Currently we are not offering web analytics course. You can check out the one by Market Motive. I personally think it is a great course.

      There are quite a few openings available in web analytics. You can visit our Jobs page for getting a flavor of it. Not sure which companies are you referring to as Software companies. Kindly elaborate so that I can be more helpful.

      REgards,
      Kunal

  6. Kriti Gupta

    Kunal,

    Thanks.

    Software Companies like IBM,Infosys,Cognizant etc. Do these companies also recruit web analyst or keep an eye open for digital marketers or web savvy?

    Web analysts are not in high demand this time but i think in the coming years everything would be digital.

    I visited your job page but all the recruiters demand experience. What if we need to start our career as a fresher?

    1. Kunal Jain

      Kriti,

      These software companies you mentioned are not the bulk recruiters for web analytics. However, cloud based startups, eCommerce companies and startups always look out for good web analyst / marketing people. You can also look for openings with Digital media agencies.

      The reason we have only experienced postings as of now is because that is the focus segment for us as of now. In coming months, we will add fresher jobs as well.

      Thanks,
      Kunal

  7. Fred R

    Don’t forget kaggle competitions. If you can participate in a few and have a couple of top 25% finishes under your belt you will have a great chance of attracting offers.

    1. Kunal Jain

      Fred,

      Good point! Kaggle competitions are a good way to knock the door when no one is hearing. However, you can only do so after you have earned Business Analytics skills. The article was addressed to people planning to start their journey.

      Regards,
      Kunal

  8. haarika

    I am 31, completed MBA. There are so many breaks in my education and career because of personal problems (in fact i have worked as a faculty for MBAs only for 4 months, thats my total career). I am good at analytic s, bad at marketing. So I have learned statistical analysis thoroughly. Recently I have also learned R language also. If I start applying for entry level jobs in R/ Data analysis, would any companies consider me seriously? Please advice.

    1. Kunal Jain

      Haarika,

      You should get consideration, as long as you are serious about the job.

      Thanks,
      Kunal

  9. ashok

    Dear admin.

    I’ve completed my M.Sc in Statistics with 84 % loyola college chennai. I would like to do one year course in Aanlytics to advance my career in Abroad .

    Could you please tell me the possibilities to do analytics related course that would fetch me job in abroad ?

    tahnk you
    ashok

    1. Kunal Jain

      If you are looking for a career abroad, best way is to do certification from abroad as well.

      Thanks,
      Kunal

  10. Sharan

    Hi Kunal,

    @Coursera there is not much courses for Analytics, or i am looking at wrong side.

    Pls suggest.

    Regards,
    Sharan.

    1. Kunal Jain

      Sharan,

      Coursera has wealth of different relevant courses. Start by searching for the Data Science specialization.

      Thanks,
      Kunal

  11. Mike

    Kunal, thanks for the interesting article. I had to laugh when I read your mentions of Coursera/edX courses. That (plus some other things) is exactly what I have been doing on the side for the last year to gain deeper technical and mathematical expertise of Data Analytics.

    Incidentally, I highly recommend The Analytics Edge. It works mostly with the R language but is very hands on and covers a lot of different scenarios, including a Kaggle competition specifically for the course. The course just finished but the archived version remains open and available on edX.

    Question: Maybe I am being slow today, but what do you mean by “Individual Contributor”?

    By the way, other good learning sources along the lines of Coursera, edX, etc. are Udacity, which includes an Intro to Data Science course, as well as Stanford Uni’s OpenEdx ( https://class.stanford.edu ) which has two archived but excellent Statistics courses.

    1. Kunal Jain

      Mike,

      Thanks for the comment and suggestions on the additional sources. I have seen the course on Udacity. Interestingly, they are focusing on delivering the experience on Python (as opposed to R, which is used in most of these courses). Will check out the courses with Stanford.

      I guess that is the beauty of MOOC platforms. They can cater to different audience at the same time. Even I have spent a considerable time on these platforms over the last year.

      With regards to “Individual Contributor”, I was referring to a person working on a few projects hands-on (vs. guiding / mentoring or leading team members). Some of the people, I have interacted with are Senior in their current roles / hierarchy. They have not worked on projects hands on for some months (if not years). Getting back to hands on role might not be easy for them.

      Regards,
      Kunal

  12. Tom Plunkett

    While this article shares some good advice on how to pick up skills and how some people might view career changes, I disagree with several of the conclusions.

    “1.The rosy picture (recruiters running behind you) you thought, would be at least 3 – 5 years away. The first few years would be very arduous. More so, if you don’t need to be an Individual Contributor in your current role.”

    Not necessarily. A lot depends on what aspects you focus on. There are easy paths and harder paths. This is sort of recognized above when the author admits that his advice doesn’t apply to analytics jobs related to business development, consulting, etc.

    “3.A lot of good companies believe in hiring smart people straight out of college and training them internally. These Organization would not think about hiring you.”

    Most organizations build teams. Teams will have people with different skill sets and different backgrounds.

    “4.In an ideal world, there should be no bias against people with experience. They should be judged only on the knowledge and skills they possess and their willingness to learn / work. Sadly, this is not true. A career shift (especially late in career) is often looked suspiciously, until you have received outstanding recognition in your previous roles.”

    The key is to understand how your previous job is just like your next job, no matter how different they are. Be prepared to explain how they are similar in interviews. Furthermore, be prepared to find work experience in the field you want however you can (volunteering for a non-profit, public speaking at industry events, write articles and books on the topic, etc.). Become the expert you want to become regardless of whether someone is offering you a lot of pay for it (money can always come later).

    “You are willing to spend a lot of time as Individual Contributor.”

    It has been my experience that people who have prior work experience in a different field are much more likely to be promoted above the individual contributor level than people who have only been analysts. Breadth of experience counts more, and people will value the general management skills.

    1. Kunal Jain

      Thanks for bringing out these points, Tom. This article is aimed towards the entire population considering the career shift. There is no such thing in this article, which can be treated as a “rule”. All of these are guidelines basis my interaction with people seeking out change.
      1. As I said, none of this is a rule. Smarter / More adaptive people will come up the learning curve faster. You mentioned rightly, that there could be easier paths available by focusing on common aspects with your current role. However, if you are truly seeking a change in work profile, these are the time lines people should keep in mind.

      3. I think building teams and recruiting strategy in Organizations are 2 different teams. These Organizations I talked about, recruit people in Junior roles and then put them along with people experienced in the company. They also hire back a lot of people, who go out and gain experience in other domain / Organizations. But these Organizations don’t believe in lateral hiring. Having siad that, this is a preference. With shortage of talent, it might be a matter of time, before they need to hire laterally.

      4. Completely agree. In interviews you should focus on the parallels, but that does not change the inherent bias I was talking about.

      On Individual Contributor, I think that a person needs to spend that time, before he could be promoted up the ladder. Until and unless you spend time slicing, dicing and wrangling data, you will not appreciate the effort and skills required to be a data scientist. Once a person has spent that time, they typically move up the ladder faster due to breadth of experience.

      Thanks for making the discussion more meaningful. Really appreciated!

      Regards,
      Kunal

  13. Chaitra

    Hello Kunal,

    Thanks for the interesting article. I have Experience of about 13+ years and have in-depth knowledge on software testing and managerial skills. Have also worked as mainframe developer. Now unemployed for 2 years and have not received any calls from any company for my experience (10+ yrs) but found some on Big data. Will my change to new technology help me in getting a job? Will my earlier experience help me? I am planning to switch over to Big data technology… so planning to join some course related to Big data. Will this help me? Please advice.

    1. Kunal Jain

      Chaitra,

      Big data is definitely hot field right now, but people require experience in most of the postings. Your past experience might help, but not to a great extent.

      In order to do Big data course, you should first understand the fundamentals of Analytics.

      Regards,
      Kunal

  14. Parindsheel singh

    Hi Kunal
    You are doing a fabulous job of spreading knowledge on data analytics.
    I was wondering if you can start special section on cv writing for career shifting people.
    Because i strongly feel that there is not much guidance on cv writing for career shifting people.
    It would be really great if i can get some guidance on this topic
    regards

    1. Kunal Jain

      Parindsheel.

      I already have a lot of initiatives on my plate right now. At this stage, my time is better utilized for guiding people on career rather than CV writing.

      Having said that, we are getting more active in the job alerts and this content becomes a logical extension. Hence, it is only a matter of time, before we start this.

      Thanks,
      Kunal

  15. Kuntal

    Hi Kunal,
    I am working in Data Warehousing industry as an SAP Business Objects and Oracle PL-SQL developer for last 6 years. I want to shift in hard core Data Analytics and I am more keen on the research or developers role rather than managerial role. What do you think about this switch? Will my whole of the experience get counted.
    And which of the course you would suggest out of your top 4 selection as ISB,IIM-C,IIT-Bombay and IIT-Delhi ?

    1. Kunal Jain

      Kuntal,

      ISB is the best course. Your entire work ex will not be counted as it is not relevant. If I was hiring, I would have considered you as 1 – 1.5 years of work ex.

      Regards,
      Kunal

  16. Sanjib Patra

    Hi Kunal.

    I am working in Data warehousing platform primarily as an ETL analyst for last 8 years. I do experience on the tools and databases like Informatica, Oracle, Teradata, Business Object .I planning to move to the data analytic space . I do currently reside in CT,USA . I have come across various certification courses from different universities here, but got confused, which one to choose. Need your suggestion on that . Can you please help me here .

    Thanks
    Sanjib

    1. Kunal Jain

      Sanjib,

      You can check out details of various courses on kdnuggets.com

      I am not an expert at courses being run in the US, but if you provide me with details of 1 or 2 courses, I can provide my views after looking at the content.

      Regards,
      Kunal

  17. Vikas

    Hi Kunal, I am having 15+ years of experience in Software Development, with most of the projects in Banking Domain.
    Recently I have shifted into Consulting, and fortunately am working on Big Data Project, as a Banking SME.
    Looking at the opportunities lies in Data Analytics, I would like to gain more knowledge in this space, and keep myself equipped for the future opportunities.
    Having gone thru various courses offered by the premium institutes, I shortlisted following three:

    1. IIM Lucknow
    2. IIM Kolkatta
    3. Great Lakes Institute.

    If fees is not a constraint as such,
    Which one would you suggest from reputation / knowledge / practical hands on perspective ?

    Your earliest response is much appreciated.

    Regards,

    Vikas

    1. Kunal Jain

      Between the three, I would go for Great Lakes. Remaining two have higher focus on theoratical concepts and have limited classroom interactions.

      If fee is not a constraint, why not keep ISB in the mix?

      Kunal

  18. Ashok

    Hello,

    My daughter is looking for a career in analytics. She has done +2 in physics, chem, maths and biology. Now joined for B.Sc. Maths, Statistics & Computer science combination, is it a right decision, which course she join after B. Sc. Please suggest. Thanks

    1. Kunal Jain

      Ashok,

      They are definitely the right subjects. Which institute is she doing B.Sc. from? I would say that you should ask her to spend some time dedicatedly on the learning ecosystem of Coursera / eDX / Udacity. That will give her a lot of exposure outside of the theoratical knowledge.

      She can pick up masters / specialization basis her interest later.

      Regards,
      Kunal

  19. Ashok

    Kunal,

    Thanks for that. She is doing B.Sc. from Christ University Bangalore. Is M. Sc. in Maths or Statistics more useful for Analytics jobs.

    1. Kunal Jain

      What are you comparing them against?

  20. Sagar

    Hi Kunal,

    I have 6 yrs of work ex in market research/corporate strategy roles, and am conisdering getting into the analytics world. My experience has been in the automotive sector. However, I am more interested in knowing how to use analytics for functions such as marketing, market entry planning etc., rather than becoming a data scientist. In that regard, I would look to be in a brand manager, marketing manager role in a data incentive industry such as FMCG retail, car sales, etc. Would you suggest that I take 1 yr course by any of the following institutes:

    1> Great Lakes
    2> ISB
    3> IIMs

    Thanks in advance,
    Sagar

    1. Kunal Jain

      Sagar,

      My recommendation would be in following order – ISB, Great Lakes and then IIMs

      Regards,
      Kunal

  21. Shiva

    Hi Kunal,

    I am M. Sc. Chemistry and working as Scientist in a R&D with 4.5 years of exp.
    I am very much interested in Business Analytics but having 0 exp. and knowledge in the same.
    I am good in Mathematics as Maths and Physics were my principle subjects in B.Sc.
    Now, if I want to switch to BA then what would be the correct route for me? And which courses and expertise I have to do.
    I am 28. If I start applying for entry level jobs in R/ Data analysis or BA would any companies consider me seriously? Please advise me the stepwise approach for the same and all possible concerns and angles regarding the same. Also what would be the entry level salary if so.
    Please advise.

    Best Regards,
    Shiva.

    1. Kunal Jain

      Shiva,

      Best route would be to do a few certifications along with the practices mentioned in the article. You should be able to good entry into BA post initial certification.

      Entry salary varies between 5L – 12L depending on your skills and role.

      Kunal

  22. Jay

    Hi Kunal,

    Had a good read at your article above and also the comments following. Very helpful indeed.

    I could use some expert advice myself. I’m a BE graduate from Bangalore in 2009. I didnt take a job in IT following that. I did set up an Advertising firm a year and a half after that, it didnt turn out very well. (Lack of experience and guidance in the field).
    However after that i set up a business in my home town, a franchise of a very well known 2 wheeler company. I’ve been running this business successfully for the past 2.5 years. I have now passed on the business to my sibling and wish to get into the corporate world. (Most will think i’m out of my head but i have my reasons.)

    Anyways I’ve done a little research on Big Data Analytics and it’s something i wish to pursue further. Firstly given my background, is this the step in right direction for me? Also i expect to move to States in a few years, after having built up the platform here(education and work ex) .
    I’m good with numbers and have a creative edge. How would you guide me on this.

    Kindly Advise.

    1. Kunal Jain

      Jay,

      That sounds like a lot of experience and plan. Given that you have already passed on your business to your sibling, I would suggest that you take up an intense short duration course. There are several courses on Udemy, which can be of help.

      Once you have gained some experience, you might find it easy to move to the US

      Regards,
      Kunal

  23. Arun

    Hi Kunal,

    No one would be more appropriate than you to address my concern.

    I’m a Physics M.Sc. from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur, India, and graduated on 2008.
    Since 2008, I have been working in Scientific research field. In the mean time I have obtained my Doctorate degree in Nanotechnology last year, and presently I’m 29 + years old.
    I’m so far experienced with Matlab, Fotran, and beginners’ level Java programming.

    it’s the end of last year when I finished a paper (already published in reputed international journal) using Matlab, I re-realized my intrinsic inclination towards math and stats, and my happy hours in front of computers, though that paper is not related to analytics.

    also In recent time, I have been realising the importance of working areas like Business analytics. And having a reasonably good background on Statistics and mathematics, and by realising the huge potential of this field for future job market, I consider myself giving a try to switch my career direction towards analytics.

    But so far I’m not experienced with analytics. but i know i love data, i love solving puzzles related to data, and most of the time i can crack them.

    Do you think that if I obtain few relevant certificates (I’ll follow your suggestion), then I’ll be considered as a suitable candidate for analytics jobs?

    I’m ready to work hard and learn whatever is possible, I’ll like to invest at least another 6-7 months to learn in parallel to my present job ( research fellow, dept of physics), and then i’ll apply for job.

    DO YOU think already 30 years + (by the time i’ll apply) is a kind of disadvantage for me?

    Will my phd get a positive consideration, though it’s not analytics based, rather it’s experimental nanotech.

    Please advise,

    Thanks in advance,

    Best regards,
    Arun

    1. Kunal Jain

      Arun,

      Here is some good news! You are very well placed to build a career in analytics.

      A lot of companies are looking out for people with Ph.Ds in various fields, because of the ability to research and build new algorithms. If I was in your place, I would quickly learn subject knowledge on analytics and machine learning, apply to jobs specifically meant for these kind of jobs and give my career a flying start.

      I think it is a matter of couple of years before you are at par with any experienced person in the domain – as long as you are determined to pick up a steep learning curve.

      Regards,
      Kunal

      1. Arun

        Thanks a lot Kunal, I do really appreciate your comment.

  24. Arindam

    Hi kunal,

    I am economics graduate and mba marketing. After that i have. Around 3 yrs experience in banking in mortage based credit. After which i have around 3 yrs of experiene in cognizant in business operations where i need to do lot of data analysis using excel and sql. I have also completed my base sas global certification recently. Also have knowledge of statistical concepts.
    Is it possible for me to move internally to analytics vertical/look for analytics job outside?

    1. Kunal Jain

      Yes of course! Moving internally should be preferred because you would have comfort of existing Organization.

      Regards,
      Kunal

  25. Mridu

    Hi Kunal,

    I am planning to shift my career to Analytics with focus on Big Data and Social Media Analaytics. I did my Bsc in Life Sciences and then MBA marketing. Did not study Maths/ Stats after 12th. Currently working for 3 years in Account(Client) Management role. Can you please suggest how can i shift my career to Analytics and please name some reputed institutes which would provide me online certified courses.

    Regards
    Mridu

    1. Kunal Jain

      Mridu,

      You can look at these articles to start with:

      1. Advanced analytics certifications

      2. How to start a career in analytics?

      You can also look at certifications from institutes like Jigsaw.

      Regards,
      Kunal

    2. Kunal Jain

      Mridu,

      The techniqies mentioned in the article are your best bets

      Regards,
      Kunal

      1. Mridu

        Thanks Kunal !

  26. Ajeet

    Hi Kunal

    I have 18+ years of experience in Sales in varied industry like , Industrial Product, Projects, IT, SW. Now I want to pursue career in Business Analytics domain that too as consultant. I am 43, do you think it would be right move? I am pursuing certification program at IIM.

    Thanks
    Ajeet

    1. Kunal Jain

      Ajeet,

      It might be difficult to get opportunities as a consultant just on the basis of theoretical knowledge. You should spend some time in industry (may be working for a consultancy) before you get a meaningful opportunity.

      If you can get that opportunity from your network (as the course does not provide placement support), you can start as a consultant.

      Regards,
      Kunal

  27. Ajeet

    I am joining IIML+Kelly certification program starting next month. Whats your take on this program, though I have seen some of your comments up in the chain. My intent for joining the course is to get some hands-on session in analytics, learn the subject & utilize my experience to evolve as consultant. How do you do see the future shaping up in terms of Job/free lancing opportunity in India & abroad? I am quite excited with opportunity Big Data could offer as it has to be integral part of Strategy for an organisation.

  28. vikas

    Hey,
    I am working as sap business intelligence and sap hana consultant with MNC.i have 2 years of exp . I was looking for a change into hardcore analytics. Please advice whether to stick with sap hana or to dive into analytics. I work as data hana data modeller along with few sap analytics tools like sap bo, sap lumira.

  29. vikas

    Hey,
    I am working as sap business intelligence and sap hana consultant with MNC.i have 2 years of exp . I was looking for a change into hardcore analytics. Please advice whether to stick with sap hana or to dive into analytics. I work as data hana data modeller along with few sap analytics tools like sap bo, sap lumira.
    Really in dilemma

  30. Deepu

    Hi Kunal,

    Thank you for the wonderful post. It will be great if you can help me in the below regard.

    Right now I am working as a data management engineer in Tech Mahindra for an aero client. Work includes mainly with MS Access database, SQL, VBA & Excel. I could see that there is a great potential for data analytics & data scientists in the coming future. Having a keen interest in mathematics from school days, I would like to switch to this field.

    As an initial step I am refreshing my statistical knowledge and enrolled for a Data Scientist course from Jigsaw Academy. The course includes mainly statistics, R programming, Bigdata (Hadoop) fundamentals. Should I go for a SAS course also on top of this which they offer ?
    Also you mentioned about some courses in eDx etc. When should I go for those courses ? Is it after completing my existing Data Scientist course or parallel ?

    Also, I don’t have much idea of how to switch my career into this field. How can I connect my existing experience (6.5 years in in data management) into this stream. Will you please guide me in this.

    Sorry for a chain of questions.

    Thank you
    Deepu

  31. Rahul

    I have had a first experience with this. It was very difficult to even get an interview call. Most of the HRs never believed that I want to switch my career. It was difficult to go pass the recruitment team. Somehow reached the hiring manager and it seems I was committing a crime and had to confess that I really wanted to begin a new career. At last luck struck and I got an opportunity to work with a small consultancy which was in Mumbai as an intern. Trust me working in Mumbai as a consultant and on an intern package and especially if you are not from Mumbai, is the last thing you would wish in your life. It was very tough and finally I got weak and gave in. Though I was doing good at my internship but it is really tough to survive in these big cities. Most of the jobs in India are at Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi and Pune. As a fresher the chances to get a job are only in Mumbai where there are most of the corporate offices.
    So if anyone really wants to make a switch at a later age, think thousand times, not only analytic but any field. It is really tough to get an interview call also.

  32. ATUL

    Hii Kunal,

    This article, like all others, was really helpful. I did ask you this earlier too, but am awaiting a reply.

    I am a Marine Engineer, and have primary knowledge about Statistics and Operational Research through my curriculum, but have no office experience,literally. I have been sailing on tankers for few years, but now am unable to continue due to health issues.I couldn’t get a marine related shore job in India, with my current experience.

    I was good at computers and maths, and hence have taken up Actuarial exams from IAI, but that being a lengthy process, and the fact that I have been jobless for the past 2 years, want to take up a job related to Data Analytics.I am already preparing for SAS Base level certification.

    I would like to know whether you approve of my approach, or would rather want me to pursue those Certificate Programmes

    Best Regards,
    ATUL

    P.S. I know the message might look messed up, but I am totally out of sorts, and hence any advice would be highly appreciable

    1. Kunal Jain

      Your approach is right, but you need to aim to certificed predictive modeling from SAS.

      Certification programmes can accelerate your learning, depending on how comfortable you are with self-learning.

      Regards,
      Kunal

  33. Anil

    Hi

    This is Anil kumar we want to learn qlikview how is career and how is future which is the best qlikview or tableau please suggest me and which tool job have more general shift timings for india. Please suggest me .Please reply to [email protected]

  34. Madan Mohan

    Hi Kunal,

    This is madan, i have told 7+ years of experience in IT industry. My core experience is in quality, information security, six sigma and project mangement. I have done my masters in quality mangement. Is it a right decision to switch my career at this point of time. Which is the relevant course for me in Bid Data. Also pls let me know the name of good institute which offere course in Big Data.

    Regards, Madan

    1. Kunal Jain

      Madan,

      What is the reason for looking for a shift? As far as I know, information security is also an evolving and related field.

      Jigsaw has started a course recently – you can see the review here. Alternately, you can check out Edureka or bigdatauniversity.com

      Regards,
      Kunal

  35. Nilesh

    Hello Kunal,

    I am Nilesh from Pune. I am a B.Sc Chemistry graduate (All life science subjects) and MBA Marketing and Systems post graduate passed out in 2003. I have been switching many jobs since then due to inability in sales jobs. I want to move out of sales and go in business analytics. I am not good in programming. My experience is in equity markets as inhouse marketing manager. Will i be able to cope up with Analytics?

    1. Kunal Jain

      NIlesh,

      It is difficult to answer the question based on this one paragraph description. You need to look at what you enjoy and what are your strengths. Some of the strengths required for an analyst to be successful are:

      1. Structured thinking
      2. Problem solving
      3. High comfort with numbers
      4. Ability to perform deep research on a subject
      5. High attention to details

      If you think, you are some one like this – you should take up a few courses on Coursera and see if you enjoy the subject.

      Regards,
      Kunal

  36. Anil

    Hi Kunal, Im a senior manager in SOftware company on delivery side, I want to shift to Big data domain, Please suggest detailed course and steps to start about it.
    Im more interested in playing with numbers.

  37. pruthvi

    Hi Kunal
    hi i’m pruthvi raj from sastra university , am a 2014 passout called for interview from musigma….at bangalore as i’m tensed about the interview process as possible give some useful tips so that i clear the process….hopefully u help me out !

    1. Kunal Jain

      Pruthvi,

      Have sent a small surprise for you in your mailbox. Do send us a testimonial if you like it :)

      Regards,
      Kunal

  38. Amit Singh

    Hi Kunal,
    I found your article suitable for me as long as career shift after 35 goes.
    I am 35. I do play with numbers on the number plate of any vehicle which passes me just to find a patter between the number plates I have just seen or simply adding them to find a number.

    I have about 5 years of medical/general transcription experience.
    I have another 6.5 years of experience managing a team of transcribers, editors, vendors.
    Additionally, I have managed voiceover jobs. I also know basics of audio and video editing.

    Clearly, the above experience does not make myself relevant to big data/ analytics.
    However, look forward to hear from you on any advice simply because I was looking for such article for a long time, as a guide.

    My future plan is to work from home (utilizing my transcription skills) and learning big data/ analytics.

    Best Regards,
    Amit

    1. Kunal Jain

      Best advice is to start by registering for a few courses on Coursera and see if the domain excites you.

      Regards,
      Kunal

  39. Sunil P

    Sir…I am Sunil, BCA graduate-2008, Currently working in SMS/eMail Marketing Company as Data Analyst / SMS,voice campaign execution & CTC is 3.9L. I want to switch my career to Hadoop Technology. Now working in MS SQL Server 2008/12 R2, writing some basic T-SQL Queries,Stored procedure, Functions & Maintaining Database. I heard that Hadoop requires strong Core Java & I have learned java in college only. Can I learn Hadoop? Please guide me correct path. I like working on database. Where should I start to get in Hadoop Career.

  40. Shiva

    Hi Kunal,

    I am a mechanical engineer having around 10 years of exp. in aerospace industry mostly technical and small portion of managing the small projects.
    .

    I am looking for career shift to analytics. I do not have any programming knowledge or SQL .Do you think I can shift my career to analytics considering my past exp?

    Can you suggest me some book also for me as a beginner.

    Thanks in advance.

  41. Girish

    Very informative article. I have done my M.B.A (finance). Although I worked for HDFC in the retail credit analytics division for 3 months, due to certain circumstances I had to join my family business for 3 years. I want to get back into analytics and wanted to know about edupristine’s course offered on the same lines. Would it help in any way to restart my career in analytics?

  42. Jeyachitra

    Hi Kunal,

    Thanks for informative articles on analytics. I have done my masters in OR and Computer Applications. (Which had statistics and data analytics courses) from NIT Trichy in 2008. Later I landed in software job and working with mainframes technology for the past 6 years.

    Always I wanted to shift to analytics field due to my mathematics interest. Is it possible to make a shift now. I have already enrolled in machine learning course in Edx. I have recently resigned my software job. Wanted to make a decision before going into mainframes field again. What could be time period to well verse and get into analytics. Also suggest me courses which would help me to get a analytics job.

    Thanks in advance.

    Thanks
    Jeyachitra

    1. Kunal Jain

      Jeychitra,

      As mentioned in the article, there are no quick fixes to enter into the industry. Don’t expect a magic pill like If I do this course, I’ll get a job! It is somewhat similar to someone landing up on your door today and asking to work on Mainframes because he has undergone a few courses – you will struggle to find a role for this person in your team.

      However, given you background in Quant and the pedigree, you should be able to break into analytics industry in 6 – 9 months, if you stay focused & motivated for what you want to achieve. In terms of courses, you can find a few basic recommendations basis the tools you want here.

      You can also think of moving into Big Data jobs and architecture as an alternate – the learning time would be higher, but the long term returns might be better as well.

      Regards,
      Kunal

  43. jaya sharma

    Hi Kunal,

    Insightful article!!
    can relate to it well. planning to make a career shift from media sale to analytics. have around 5 years of exp in media sales. however i am really confuse on how should i make a start in analytics. have browsed through a lot of jobs but mostly all of them are looking for experienced candidates or candidates who have background such as BE, stats or economics. I am doing basic course in SAS from jigsaw academy, almost on the verge of completion. would be great if you can guide me on how to move further and grab a role in analytics domain.

    Best Regards
    Jaya

  44. Vijay Deep Ahuja

    Hi Kunal

    I am working as Assistant manager in with Leading PSU Bank from last 3.5 years. Previously worked as MIS analyst with Print Media for more than 3 years. Having good experience with Excel and really interested in Business analytics. My location is a big constraint I cant go for short term courses for Business analytics.
    How can I start my carrier as Business analyst.
    1) Do my banking domain Knowledge and MIS skills will be helpful for anlaytics industry and How?

  45. Swapna

    Hi Kunal,

    I am PHP developer for the past 7 years and now I would like to get into the field of BIG Data and analytics. I would like to know what are the obstacles/disadvantages a experienced person faces when he/she has to shift to BIG DATA field, as we do not have professional experience in this field. Is the industry open for these kind of people?

    I am learning Python and plan to take a course in R and Excel as well. Can you suggest any other tool that would help me? I am interested in the DATA SCIENTIST role.

    Thanks
    -Swapna

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