The 2015 Mass Big Data Industry Survey
Data analysis software has the greatest potential to grow the big data ecosystem, which follows from the growing number of business analytics companies tapping into previously unexplored datasets.
In July, 2015, MassTech surveyed close to 60 CEOs and leaders at Massachusetts data-driven and pure-play big data companies. Results from the 2015 Mass Big Data Industry Survey provide opinions on and a window into the future of the regional big data ecosystem. Companies generally feel that graduates from local colleges and universities have the skills they seek. Fewer companies agree, however, that the number of graduates from colleges and universities in Massachusetts is sufficient. This last opinion is logical given that many of the data science programs started within the past few years and are still developing their programs, alumni networks, and student bodies. Companies tend to think positively of the Mass Big Data ecosystem at large. Many believe that there is a strong demand for their products, a healthy rivalry among big data companies, and that government policies support their businesses (Figure 23).
Results from the survey give a clear picture of hiring at big data firms throughout Massachusetts. There is currently an average of five big data related job openings at each company across the Mass Big Data ecosystem. The hardest big data related positions to fill are data scientists and software engineers (Figure 24). Companies across the ecosystem plan to add an average of eight big data related positions in 2016, 15 in 2017, and 27 in 2018. This projected job growth speaks to the role of the big data industry in growing the regional economy. Companies believe that there are several products/services, verticals, and policies that offer the biggest opportunities for this growth (Figure 25). According to the surveyed companies, data analysis software has the greatest potential to grow the big data ecosystem, which follows from the growing number of business analytics companies tapping into previously unexplored datasets. Companies cite the need for policies that develop data science curricula and support workers in the big data industry, which reflects the importance for the supply of big data talent to keep up with the growing demand.
Several Boston-based companies have recently appeared in the news, as they are rapidly expanding and thus focused on hiring in the data science field.
Kayak, a leader in the travel industry, is changing the way online customers arrange travel plans. With the development of data-driven products and features, the company hopes its product can serve as a virtual, travel-tailored personal assistant. Kayak launched its Cambridge office in 2015, about ten years after it was founded in Stamford, CT. The office has almost 100 employees and is looking to expand quickly, with 55 open engineering, data science, and user interface jobs in both of its MA offices — it also has an office in Concord — as of April 2015.
Kyruus, an digital health company founded in 2010, delivers a software system that helps healthcare providers match patients with the best suited doctors. With its sights on serving more clients and expanding its service line, Kyruus is increasing its number of employees, most notably in its Boston office. 20,000 healthcare providers across the country currently use Kyruus’ software.
IBM opened a brand new office in Cambridge this September to house its new IBM Watson Health program. It aims to bring together personal health data into one data sharing hub so professionals from the medical and academic fields can conduct analysis of health data more efficiently. The program will involve hiring hundreds of employees in Massachusetts, many of which will be in quantitative disciplines, including data science. The program also includes several partnerships with leading health and technology organizations, such as Boston Children's Hospital, and companies such as Apple.