Education and Careers in Big Data and Data Science are BIG

Big Data is “Big” these days and in particular, for those of us in the GIS / Geospatial technologies, much of the data that we work with on a daily basis likely falls under the topic of “Big Data”. It is common lately to see job opportunities arising for those skilled in Big Data and Data Science and no surprise.

data science

What is Data Science?

Data Science is the discovery of knowledge and insight through the analysis of data. As such, it draws on computer science, mathematics, and statistics. It has emerged as a separate field in response to the avalanche of data from web-enabled sensors and instrumentation, mobile devices, web transactions, and the availability of computing power for data storage and analysis. Modern data is challenging not only due to its large scale, but also because it is increasingly heterogeneous and unstructured. Information gleaned from this data is revolutionizing diverse areas, from health policy to high energy physics. (Source: CSU)

Responding to the demand for data scientists skilled in data analytics and big data, College programs around the country are addressing the need for these professionals by offering specialized programs on the topic. Case in point, Colorado State University (located in the GeoTech hotspot on the CO Front Range) has recently added a new program along with a data science major. (See

CSU is offering the program, starting the Fall of 2018, in response to a demand placed on them from the finance, government, healthcare, and technology sectors for professionals skilled in data science. From the CSU program director, “People trained in this skill are, however, in very short supply, which is one of the reasons data scientist has been the top-rated job in the U.S. for the past two years.” See more in this announcement on Top jobs in America, 2017

Ranking of Data Scientist from Top 50 Jobs in America poll:

  • Job Score: 4.8
  • Job Satisfaction Rating: 4.4
  • Number of Job Openings: 4,184
  • Median Base Salary: $110,000


Data scientists have top earning potential, with an average salary of more than $110,000. And experts estimate a shortage of more than 1 million data scientists, making people trained in this field in high demand.

See more on the CSU College of Natural Sciences homepage –

Note, a couple of years ago Tracy Toutant, NGA Data Analyst, (now with Esri) sat down with Glenn (@gletham) to discuss Data Science, big data, and the Data science industry. We knew back then that Big Data and Data Science as a profession was going to be Big! View the video HERE

Searching for a Career in GIS? We currently have a couple of openings here at GEO Jobe. Be sure to consult our Career Page for information – Good Luck!

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