Pump up your knowledge of data analytics to get in on the ground floor of a booming national and global IT industry.With a population of more than 1.3 billion, India creates a lot of stuff. As a major player in the global marketplace, especially for agricultural exports, India ranks second worldwide in farm output, and is in the top three for production of wheat, rice, cotton, peanuts, eggs, milk, bovine meat (water buffalo) and sugar.

When it comes to manufacturing, Indian companies are impressive, mass-producing more than 24 million automobiles annually. India is also the world’s leading producer of manufacturing tractors — 50 percent of the global output for 2016. As with any large population, India also generates a lot of garbage — more than 1,000,000 metric tons per day.

One other item that Indians are adept at creating, and doing so at an astounding rate, is electronic data. India has the world’s largest data repository. This massive amount of daily data is being created primarily via social media, the Internet of Things (IoT), and hundreds of millions of electronic gadgets.

Of course, all this raw data is useless until someone analyzes and interprets it. This need to make sense of and predict future trends based on raw data is why Data Analytics is rapidly becoming the country’s sexiest IT job.

Analytics in action

The largest users of data analytics in India are investment banks, media agencies, and outsourcing companies. But analytics isn’t just for big companies, every business with an internet connection seems to have realized the advantages of data analytics in helping them to understand, anticipate and better serve their customers.

By studying a customer’s past buying preferences, companies can offer specific products and services at times when individual customers are most likely to make a purchase. Government has been quick to grasp the usefulness of Big Data. Authorities are analyzing large data flows to predict when and where civil unrest is likely to occur, as well as how to swiftly counter such disturbances.

Innefu Labs, a Delhi-based research oriented information security company, provides analytic services to the military and police departments across the country to predict mob violence, agitations and protests. In an interview with The Economic Times, Innefu founder, Tarun Wig explained that outbreaks rarely occur without warning.

Prior to an agitation happening anywhere in the country, Wig said, “There are multiple factors like social media posts, hashtags, news articles or posts by religious groups.” Based on correlation metrics, Innefu merges all the data with the intelligence data from police agencies and use their machine language algorithm and data-mining techniques to help predict protests or agitations.

Data analytics is also resulting in more effective and cost-efficient law enforcement. Utilizing data points from emergency calls, police departments can allocate patrols to areas where they are more likely to be needed. This saves on manpower and, in larger cities like Bengaluru, police departments have utilized data analytics to close stations and reallocate officers to areas that are more crime prone.

Analytics goes to war

Worldwide, the market for defense data analytics is more than $2 billion (U.S.). India’s military is part of that market and is successfully utilizing data analytics to fight against terrorism. By monitoring the border movement of cattle on the Pakistan border, the military has been able to predict with great accuracy when and where terrorists are likely to cross into Indian territory.

Pakistan-based terrorists send cattle into border areas to check for mines placed by Indian defense forces. Analysis of past data shows that, following a cattle-event, the next terrorist incursion is likely to happen 11 or 12 days later in the early morning hours.

India’s analytics/data science/Big Data industry alone is worth an estimated $2 billion (U.S.), and the demand for skilled professionals is growing by leaps and bounds. Presently, there are almost 600 data analytics firms in country, with the need for at least two hundred more.

As the mountains of data continue to accumulate, the need for skilled data analytics professionals is skyrocketing. Industry experts predict that, by 2020, the country will need 2 million analytical data experts to meet the demand.

The vast amount of analytics revenue comes from organizations based in the United States (60 percent) and the United Kingdom (8.4 percent). While more Indian firms are turning some degree of attention to data analytics, they presently account for just four percent of industry revenues.

Get in the game

Pump up your knowledge of data analytics to get in on the ground floor of a booming national and global IT industry.There is good news for anyone considering a data analytics career: 12,000 freshers were added to the analytics workforce in the first six months of 2017, up from 8,500 last year. Most analytics professionals work in large-size firms with more than 10,000 employees. Mid-size enterprises employ 33 percent of Indian analytic professionals, while start-ups grab 27 percent.

If you want to break into the field, industry experts recommend experience working with and certifications in R Programming, SAS Programming, Big Data and Hadoop, Python, SQL, and Pig, as well as administration and management of the same.

In September, the National Institute for Smart Government (NISG) held its first conference on “Big Data Analytics in Government.” Experts presented ideas and opinions on the expansion of data collection in India, the benefits of doing so and “cost-effective” ways to draw conclusions based on the data to better serve constituencies.

“There are a number of areas where huge projects have been implemented, like Aadhaar, passports and the inception of MCA 21 (the e-governance initiative of the Corporate Affairs Ministry),” Electronics and Information Technology Secretary Ajay Prakash Sawhney said opening the event.

“All this has opened up a lot of opportunities to apply this data to improve the citizens’ customer experience, to improve government efficiency, especially in delivery of services and to boost business…to create capacity to serve both domestic and export markets,” Sawhney said.

The demand for data analytics professionals is red-hot. When you consider that 90 percent of all digital information worldwide has been created over the last two years, coupled with the decline in data storage costs (almost 500 percent), job opportunities abound for those willing to work hard