What Are the Specializations Within Big Data?

The methods and techniques for analyzing big data can be applied to any sector, industry, or area that involves a significant amount of digital information. In the modern world, that encompasses nearly everything.

If you already know where you plan to specialize, head over to our rankings for the Best Online Bachelor’s in Big Data Degrees and Best Bachelor’s in Big Data Degrees. If you’re not sure what your specialization will be, you’re in the right place.

Specializations within big data are available based not just on where the data comes from, but on what the student or professional does with it.

For example, data architects might be most concerned with storing and managing data for a particular organization. Data analysts might focus on finding patterns within the data to create predictive models. And data security specialists may work closely with network and database administrators to prevent damage and theft of critical information.

These different career paths are reflected by the divisions within big data degree programs. At many colleges and universities, some of these specializations are available at both the undergraduate and graduate level. While all of these concentrations won’t be available at a single university, you can keep these potential specializations in mind while you investigate your college options.

Even if a degree program doesn’t formally offer a certain concentration, you can often opt to take multiple electives within your area of interest. We’ve included sample course titles within each specialization so you know what to look for.

Database management

A concentration in database management teaches students to develop, implement, troubleshoot, and maintain database systems. Graduates will be prepared to oversee platform upgrades and hardware and software installation.

Courses within this concentration might include Large-Scale Data Storage Systems; Databases and Knowledge Bases; and Database Administration with Oracle.

Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity experts anticipate and protect against digital threats to trade and military secrets, customer data, and financial details. Graduates may be employed by government agencies, corporations, and other organizations with sensitive data.

Courses include Data Security, Privacy, and Ethics; Computer Systems Security; and Encryption and Authentication Systems Data Modeling.

Business Intelligence and Analytics

These programs often blend the curriculum for marketing or consumer research with mathematics and statistics courses. Graduates will be well versed in business theory and best practices as well as technical data analysis strategies.

Courses in Business intelligence and Analytics include Advanced Marketing Analysis; Use of Business Intelligence; and Global Marketing Management.

Computational Biology and Bioinformatics

Students with a specialization in computational biology or bioinformatics will learn to use mathematical modeling and computer-based simulation to study many different types of systems. This concentration has considerable overlap with fields such as anatomy, molecular biology, genomics, neuroscience, chemistry, animation, and more.

Courses commonly include Mathematics for Data Scientists; Introduction to Computational Biology; and Data Systems in the Life Sciences.

Project Management

A specialization in Project Management is ideal for students who plan to work as an Analytics Manager or a Director of Analytics. These programs usually focus on preparing graduates for leadership roles in information technology and computer science.

Courses in this concentration commonly include International Operations Management; Ethical Leadership; Managerial Economics; and Quantitative Decision Making.