Is The Party Over For Big Data?

Wednesday February 17th, 2016

The Web Summit has just wrapped in Dublin. And what makes it a great event is that it is the ultimate networking party for cool IT professionals from around the world.

At the moment, it seems to me that big data also feels like one great networking party where the cool kids get to show off all the great tech they are working on. Indeed we have never lived in an age of greater corporate investment in résumé padding for IT professionals. For many young IT professionals it is almost like the game of buzzword bingo that was played back in college lecture theatres. “How many cool sounding technologies can I get my company to invest in and add to my résumé?” Hadoop – a must have, of course. But too common. Yarn, Mahoot, CEPH, Spark, etc. Check, check, check…

You can just picture them all sitting in some hipster bar joking about how amazing their jobs are. “I get to play with all these cool new technologies without ever having to deliver any results or value! If someone from management ever asks any questions I just have to talk technobabble to him and point out that they wouldn’t understand the pace of change in the Open Source community. It so fast that what we were doing for the last year is now superseded by (insert latest fad here) and so we have to re-boot the program and embrace X, Y or Z technology stack. Now go away back to your boring job making whatever our company makes and let me get back to downloading Spark 1.5.1 from the Apache Foundation site.”

The Party is over

If the big data community is like a bunch of college kids on their long summer holidays – partying hard and running wild and carefree then I believe that the time has come for corporations to pull the plug – the school holidays are over and it is time, as my old headmaster would say, to knuckle down and get some work done. For everyone’s benefit now is the right moment for big data to go back to college and to have some professional adult supervision so that they can build on their experiences and experiments of the summer.

Now’s the time to add new modules to the syllabus in lessons like understanding the value of money, finishing what you start, building proven solutions, security matters and how to work together. Time to ensure the experienced data management professor is guiding and working alongside the bright young kids so that the major corporations of the day that are investing in big data see a return and ensure that the future of their companies is secure.

That is not to say that there will not be any more partying, but it will need to be on the weekends!

This post first appeared on Forbes TeradataVoice on 03/12/2015.

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Niall ODoherty


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