"Big data" is more than a buzzword: it's a reality that's becoming increasingly prominent and important. In many ways, more data is a wonderful thing. We know more about everything than ever before, from medical conditions to consumer habits, climate change to entertainment options. But all this data is useless without reliable ways to analyze and understand it swiftly.
The traditional model for data analysis is to rely on experts to develop reports based on complex programming in large databases.
That model has rapidly become slow and cumbersome. While the expert is analyzing data and developing a report, the person who needs the information is finding that the results have become obsolete by the time they arrive on their desks. The pressing need to understand and act upon data quickly means everyone will have to become comfortable handling data. We all need to become data specialists -- no matter our current position or field of expertise.