Big data and AI are two prominent IT concepts that are driving the tech industry. Before we explain the connection between these two very different disciplines, we’ll give you a clearer picture of each one. We’ll also share information that is valuable to those looking to start a career in these fields.

What Is Big Data?

The term big data refers to a large quantity of data that is cumulatively generated by the users of computer-based devices. This data constantly expands in size and, as such, can’t be processed the traditional way. To put things in more perspective, around 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are generated worldwide every day.

There are numerous uses of big data. Big data has its applications in different spheres, including healthcare, education, marketing, and cybersecurity. The pros of big data lie in the fact that it is used to improve these fields. For instance, this data is used in marketing to enhance customer service and cater to the specific needs of customers.

To understand the basics of big data, you should be aware of the so-called five V’s:

  • Volume
  • Velocity
  • Variety
  • Veracity
  • Value

You should also know that there are three types of big data structures: 

  • Structured 
  • Semi-structured 
  • Unstructured

What Is AI?

Artificial Intelligence or AI is a cutting-edge technology that enables machines to simulate human-like behavior. Artificially-intelligent devices have the ability to adapt, reason, and implement solutions. Therefore, AI benefits humans by assisting us in numerous tasks.

There are various types of AI, some of which are existing concepts, while others are hypothetical. AI can be classified into three categories:

  • Super AI: This kind of AI doesn’t exist yet. It’s a level of intelligence that surpasses human intelligence and includes the ability to reason, make judgments, plan, and communicate.
  • General AI: This is another concept that’s yet to be realized. The objective is to create a type of artificial intelligence that performs tasks with the same level of efficiency as humans
  • Narrow AI: This is the type of AI that is currently available to the general public. Despite its limitations, it can execute a series of intelligent tasks.

On the other hand, if we look at its functionality, we can separate AI into the following types:

  • Self-Awareness
  • Theory of Mind
  • Limited Memory
  • Reactive Machines

As of now, we only have limited memory and reactive machines. The aim is to eventually create machines that are self-aware.

How does AI work? AI makes use of a number of fields, including:

  • Machine Learning
  • Natural Language Processing
  • Deep Learning
  • Cognitive Computing
  • Computer Vision
  • Neutral Networks

Statistics show that AI could boost work productivity by a staggering 40%. Just like big data, it is applied in education, healthcare, marketing, banking, and many other fields.

How Do AI and Big Data Rely on Each Other?

Artificial intelligence and big data are indeed two distinct concepts, but there is a connection between them. They are mutually dependent, as AI machines need big data to learn, while big data relies on AI for data analysis. 

Let’s take chatbots as an example. Chatbots are AI-powered computer programs. 

They are widely used in the realm of customer service, as they have the ability to carry out simple conversations via text.

So, what do artificially intelligent chatbots have to do with big data? These texting powerhouses leverage big data to be able to simulate human-like interactions. The chatbot needs to analyze data containing real-life conversations to be able to answer the customers’ inquiries. 

In turn, AI is useful in big data processing due to its ability to scrutinize it and uncover redundant elements. 

As with most jobs, to have a career in big data and AI, there are some prerequisites you need to fulfill. Some of the general skills you need are:

  • Extensive knowledge of mathematics
  • Statistical knowledge
  • Advanced computer skills

Big Data and AI Career Prospects

If you’re interested in a career in big data or AI, you’re in luck because there are various work opportunities related to these fields. The two have a synergistic relationship, as big data benefits AI and the other way around. Thus, the skills needed for big data and AI-related jobs often overlap. Here’s a list of jobs that are worth considering.

Big Data Engineer

The role of a big data engineer is similar to that of a data analyst. Both professions deal with massive amounts of data that are turned into valuable insights to help businesses make better decisions. 

But big data engineers have the additional task of maintaining the data pipeline and constructing and testing the architecture of the big data platform, among other responsibilities. For you to become a big data engineer, you need a number of skills, including:

  • Knowledge of programming languages like Python
  • The ability to work with SQL and NoSQL databases
  • Familiarity with the Hadoop ecosystem

Artificial Intelligence Engineer

An AI engineer is responsible for the creation and implementation of machine learning models. You’ll also be expected to test the models, maintain the AI infrastructure, and perform related tasks. To become an AI engineer, you need to possess the following skills:

  • Fluency in multiple programming languages
  • The ability to work with big data tools
  • Familiarity with machine learning algorithms

Big Data and AI Courses 

To acquire the aforementioned skills, you can enroll in some big data and AI courses. In this section, we will take a look at some courses that are worth taking. 

Big Data Specialization by UC San Diego on Coursera

Big Data Specialization encompasses six courses that offer hands-on experience in using big data processing tools from the Hadoop ecosystem, including Pig, Spark, MapReduce, and Hive. 

These courses are tailored to business owners. The objective is to help them understand the basics of big data and enable them to make better business decisions.

Big Data Hadoop Certification Training by Edureka

Similar to the courses at UC San Diego, Big Data Hadoop Certification Training teaches its participants the big data fundamentals that they can apply to different business areas, such as retail, tourism, and banking. The courses are taught by experts with over ten years of experience.

Beginner’s Guide to AI in Unity by Udemy

The Beginner’s Guide to AI in Unity focuses on the role of AI in video games and teaches its participants how to create non-player characters or NPCs. The course introduces vector mathematics, waypoints, the A* algorithm, and much more. There are also workshops that were designed to give the learners practical knowledge.

Artificial Intelligence Graduate Program by Stanford University

The Artificial Intelligence Graduate Program is created for software engineers who are keen on gaining an in-depth knowledge of AI. To be eligible for taking these courses, you need substantial programming experience and a Bachelor’s degree with a GPA of at least 3.0. Participants are required to complete four courses within three academic years.

What Is the Future of Big Data and AI?

Big data and AI are here to stay and are certain to continue having a significant impact on many different areas of our lives. Some of these include medicine, education, marketing, and the automotive industry.

For example, when it comes to healthcare, it is believed that AI will be widely used to analyze big data that will enable doctors to make more accurate diagnoses and select correct treatments. 

On a Final Note

In a nutshell, AI and big data are two different concepts that complement each other. We’ve covered the basics of big data and how AI works and explained the relationship between the two. Now, you’re all set for your job hunt and the pursuit of a prosperous career in one of these two fields.