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Landing Big Data Jobs: Should I Start with Splunk?

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By: SLWelty

December 28, 2019

Big data is getting bigger — companies are now struggling to stay ahead of data volumes, collect key information, and discover actionable insight. They’re also struggling to find certified professionals with the skills and certifications necessary to develop big data initiatives across the enterprise; demand is quickly outpacing supply as mobile devices and cloud deployments exponentially increase the amount of available data.What does this mean for IT professionals? That the market for big data jobs is expanding — even as companies look to find the most qualified candidates to fill key positions. Despite the growing skills gap, organizations recognize the risk in hiring staff with limited knowledge and lacking certifications; if new employees can’t manage the deluge of big data, enterprises face the prospect of massive privacy pitfalls or PR nightmares.

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But with so many courses and certifications now available, are IT pros better served digging deep into data or developing their high-level skills with software platforms like Splunk? Here’s what you need to know.

The Splunk Solution

Splunk is a software platform that allows users to search, analyze, and visualize machine-generated data. The platform collects data from applications, connected devices, and websites across organizational IT structures, then indexes this information and makes it searchable. In addition, Splunk captures and aggregates “digital exhaust” across application programming interface (API) log files, servers, websites, and mobile devices to enhance total network visibility.Experienced Splunk users can leverage the platform to gain a real-time understanding of IT systems and infrastructure, in turn allowing them to address immediate problems, implement effective solutions, and design data-driven, long-term strategies. Splunk is now used by many midsize and large enterprises to help manage expanding data sets.

Getting Started with Splunk

Splunk is effectively the top layer of big data management; the platform is designed to collect and compile information that IT professionals can use to improve operational outcomes. While Splunk training isn’t as in-depth as more data-focused certifications such as Hadoop, Splunk training courses make it possible for IT pros to get up to speed with big data and start leveraging this resource at scale.Learning Splunk offers multiple benefits, including:
  • Easy onboarding — Although Splunk boasts a custom query language, IT pros can easily get started creating searches and dashboards since Splunk uses common UNIX command structures.
  • Proactive troubleshooting — Because Splunk allows IT teams to monitor systems simultaneously and in real-time, it’s possible to detect, identify, and remediate issues before they negatively impact IT performance or user experience.
  • Streamlined data organization — Splunk provides data aggregation from almost any source, making it easy to combine forgotten log files, mobile device activities, and MySQL databases into a single data dashboard.
  • User-friendly features — Unfiltered, unorganized, and unprocessed data is just noise — Splunk allows IT professionals to easily create attractive, organized graphs and charts that communicate key data relationships and deliver actionable data insight.

From Training to Certification

When you first get started with Splunk, look for training courses that provide a clear path to basic competency by covering key topics such as:
  • What is Splunk? — Discussion of how the platform works and how its benefits for enterprise data analytics.
  • Splunk and your career — Examination of potential career options for Splunk-trained IT pros.
  • How to set up Splunk — Best practices for setting up Splunk on Windows and Linux and installing a universal forwarder.
  • Handling data in Splunk — Learning how the Splunk Web Interface operates and how data is obtained.
  • Using Splunk data — Using data to perform searches, create alerts, and generate reports.
Once you’ve completed basic Splunk training, there are multiple certification tracks to pursue, including:
  • Splunk Certified Core User — This certification demonstrates the ability to conduct searches, use fields, and create basic reports in both the Splunk Enterprise and Splunk Cloud platforms.
  • Splunk Enterprise Certified Admin — Designed for more experienced Splunk users, this designation indicates mastery of day-to-day administration and support tasks in Splunk environments.
  • Splunk Enterprise Certified Architect — To obtain this certification, IT pros must first earn the Splunk Enterprise Certified Admin qualification. Architects possess the ability to design, deploy, manage, and troubleshoot complex Splunk Enterprise implementations.

Your Splunk Career Potential

You’ve taken the training course and are on-track for Splunk certification. What does all this knowledge mean for your big data career?Entry-level Splunk users often find jobs as software and systems engineers, who typically earn between $50,000 and $70,000 per year. More advanced tracks for experienced Splunk professionals include security engineers and technical service managers — salaries here range from $80,000 to $120,000. Finally, highly skilled and qualified Splunk architects can pursue careers as senior systems engineers or solution architects, with compensation approaching $150,000 per year.Want a career in big data? Splunk is a great place to start. The platform is easy to learn — especially with the help of guided online training courses — and opens a host of big data management, administration, and architecture opportunities.
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