9 big data jobs (with duties and salary information)

Updated 10 January 2023

Big data is a recent and abstract idea which represents an opportunity for IT firms to revolutionise their operations and make smarter decisions. Many organisations benefit from a specialist, or technician, who knows how to use big data intelligently to help improve business practises. If you have a passion for information and technology, understanding the range of big data jobs you can apply for may increase your chances of getting the one you want. In this article, we discuss big data jobs, describe their usual sectors and provide a list of roles that you might choose to pursue.

What are big data jobs?

Big data jobs involve working with information on a large enough scale that typical data processing can't handle it. Organisations require specialists to sort through these details. This information might offer insights into the organisation and how it could deal with certain operational issues and even capitalise on upcoming market trends. Big data is versatile, having applications for security, advertising, healthcare and many other industries, all of which use the information to foreground business endeavours. By specialising in big data, you could become invaluable to an organisation and how it uses data to inform its decisions.

Jobs in big data usually involve dealing with this information directly but also generating ways to collect, store or interpret the details within. The data you deal with in these positions could include sales figures for the past decade to determine prices across the market or customer viewing and watching habits that indicate the most profitable television shows and genres. There's endless variety in big data because organisations realise the benefits that come with basing their decisions on solid information. With experts in big data at their disposal, companies have the confidence to continue their operations successfully.

Related: Big data analytics: what they are and how to use them

9 types of jobs in big data

Jobs in big data often combine technical skills with creativity, especially as they might involve providing your own suggestions and solutions for how to use this data to improve the organisation. These jobs exist across virtually every industry, meaning there's tremendous flexibility in how you choose to apply your big data skills. Many of these roles encompass similar or identical responsibilities, with the exact title and description depending upon the organisation's unique structure, including the way it handles its own data. Here are nine examples of big data jobs:

1. Data analyst

National average salary: £34,366 per year

Primary duties: Data analysts investigate a company's use of information and its various systems, using their findings to determine the answer to a problem, which their bosses usually set. This prevails in marketing as a way of determining how to increase an organisation's profits, such as by figuring out which products are most likely to sell to certain demographics. Data analysts don't work exclusively with big data, but are still adept at interpreting and identifying trends with large-scale information, allowing them to assess this data and solve the organisation's problems.

Related: What is data analytics (a guide to types and skills)

2. Technical recruiter

National average salary: £39,481 per year

Primary duties: A technical recruiter helps organisations understand the technical roles they might require or benefit from when expanding, also identifying strong candidates for any technical position, such as a job in big data. They actively search the job market online for candidates across a range of websites, assessing their skills and experience to create a shortlist of people, as a big data role may be technical enough to headhunt directly. Once the interview process is complete and the organisation selects the most suitable candidate, the technical recruiter sometimes helps with onboarding the new employee so they integrate well with the company.

Related: 14 tips on how to improve technical recruiting strategies

3. Business intelligence analyst

National average salary: £42,450 per year

Primary duties: Business intelligence analysts use the information they collect from looking at big data to make precise recommendations to managers about how they may change their operations for greater success. The job involves providing their own insight, which might also require significant creativity skills when determining how the organisation could capitalise upon certain trends in the market for greater profits. These analysts use their interpretation of big data to assess the organisation's current business and marketing strategies, devising entirely new approaches that make sure the company sees strong results.

Related: How to become a business intelligence consultant (with tips)

4. Database administrator

National average salary: £46,365 per year

Primary duties: Database administrators manage an organisation's data collection software and maintain this database to make sure that anybody who requires this information can access it while keeping data secure. They troubleshoot the database regularly to ensure that it performs well under scrutiny, as big data could be quite taxing on the company's resources without an adequate system. They keep their databases up-to-date. These administrators also concern themselves with data security, since they oversee this information, and develop robust backup plans in case of a software issue or outage.

Related: 9 essential database management tips for administrators

5. IT security specialist

National average salary: £50,627 per year

Primary duties: IT security specialists make sure that an organisation's infrastructure and IT network are both robust enough to defend against any potential threats, which includes protecting the company's data, big and small. This job may rarely engage with big data to the same level as other positions, but organisations that have security specialists can protect the data from the possibility of intrusion. With much of this information relating to sensitive company matters, such as internal viewing figures or sales predictions, security specialists do everything they can to ensure nobody can access it improperly.

Related: How much does a cyber security analyst make? (With definition)

6. Data scientist

National average salary: £50,643 per year

Primary duties: Data scientists extract and interpret large volumes of information using machine learning, artificial intelligence, algorithmic tools and more, making the relevant data accessible to an organisation, so they may understand its significance. They may even present the data directly and give a presentation that sets out the implications of this information and how the company could act to either mitigate negative effects or capitalise upon positive effects. This role takes a scientific approach to data, seeking to better understand it, and may develop hypotheses and experiments to interrogate the significance and ramifications of the data they work with.

Related: Data analyst vs. data scientist: key differences and duties

7. Data governance consultant

National average salary: £56,698 per year

Primary duties: A data governance consultant works with client organisations to discuss and assess the way they govern and maintain data, including big data, to make sure it's consistent and accessible to staff members that need access to it. They could work independently as part of a private firm that organisations trust to check the quality of their data, determining where they may improve their governance and giving advice on how they could achieve this. Data governance consultants also write up reports of their findings and provide them to the organisation, setting out clear recommendations for them to review and accommodate.

Related: What is IT governance and how does it affect organisations?

8. Big data engineer

National average salary: £60,371 per year

Primary duties: A big data engineer works with stakeholders at all levels on a project, from corporate management to scientists. They seek to ensure that every aspect of these data-driven discussions aligns with the firm's aims. They prepare the data extraction process and evaluate the preliminary data to see if they find value in investigating it further. They also implement software which helps collect and interpret the information. This builds the infrastructure and network that other science and data positions may use to handle this large-scale information. They research new technology that could help them mine and read data with greater efficiency.

Related: Data scientist vs. data engineer (differences and FAQs)

9. Data warehouse architect

National average salary: £60,906 per year

Primary duties: Data warehouse architects design robust architecture for a firm's data warehouse, which serves as a central repository for the entire organisation's integrated data, meaning it requires a system that can handle big data. Beyond their duties in developing the warehouse network, they also train staff on how to use this data and maintain the warehouse to facilitate data mining. Like any architect, data warehouse architects customise the solution and infrastructure to match the business and its unique needs, generating a system and network that can accommodate their usual data flow.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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