Big data competencies

The use of big data requires specialized expertise and affinity for data  - skills that are not often found among communication managers.

Not every communicator needs to be a data scientist, but a deeper understanding for potential of and processes involved in big data analysis are essential for the future.

New know-how

  • Communicators should be able to understand the potential of data, what kind of data is relevant and how to generate, analyze and visualize data.

  • A general understanding of statistics is essential to interpret results correctly and to be able to use them for strategic communication planning.

  • Nevertheless, proven skills such as planning or management skills, editing texts, an  intuitive feeling for topics and people as well as creativity remain very important.

  • Basic requirements include a personal interest and openness for new technologies.

Certification requirements at university

  • It is disputed whether IT and technology should be at the core of communication studies at universities.

  • Professor Ulrike Röttger from the Institute of Communication Science at the University of Münster considers specialized university programs to provide the best solution.

  • Several experts agree that the role of communication science should be to teach timeless knowledge, such as basic communication theories and analytical skills.

  • Other experts ask for more attention to be paid to big data topics in communication science. Students should be able to gain a better understanding of the opportunities and limitations of big data applications.

  • Moreover, many experts advocate more interdisciplinary research and education. In this way, different disciplines can develop a better understanding of each other and in turn foster collaboration in interdisciplinary teams later on.

Education in companies

  • Many companies have implemented internal training courses. These courses are diverse and range from internal seminars and job shadowing to in-house online tutorials on data security issues.

  • Internal courses are sometimes compulsory for new communicators. The goal is to provide new employees with the same information as long-term employees with regards to data applications, the characteristics of datasets and where information is shared.

  • Some companies have developed special tutorials on how to generate, analyze and interpret large quantities of texts and multimedia content, including how to create search queries, how to interpret realtime dashboards and how to classify indicators.


From 2015 to 2017 a team at the University of Münster headed by Professor Ulrike Röttger and Dr. Christian Wiencierz explored the potentials, challenges and requirements for the use of big data in Corporate Communications.



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