Why Choose an MS in Data Analytics?

Data analytics professional reviewing data on her computer screen

Today’s digital climate is booming, and the industry needs qualified candidates to fill critical data science roles that will shape the future of data analytics and visualization. But when it comes to pursuing these types of careers what’s the best place to start? Perhaps you’ve immersed yourself in the technology field for many years and need to brush up on the latest tech-industry skills and trends. Or suppose you’ve learned about the high-demand for data professionals—and the corresponding competitive salaries—and are interested in making a career-change. Regardless of the scenario, if you’re interested in filling the data skills gap, it’s imperative to receive adequate training and education, such as a master’s degree in data analytics.

How would you benefit from a degree in data analytics and how will you know if you are choosing the right graduate program? Here we will explore: * The pros and cons of a master’s in data analytics; * The difference between data analytics vs. business analytics; * How to decide if a master’s in data analytics is right for you; and * The best programs for a master’s degree in data analytics.

Pros and cons of a Master’s in Data Analytics

Data analytics professionals gather valuable data, identify patterns within that data and then develop data visualizations and reports in order to provide insight to key business-stakeholders. There are a number of master’s degree programs that can prepare students for the most in-demand and complex skills in data analytics which would allow them to pursue a leadership role in data analytics and increase earning potential. However, a master’s degree is a big commitment. Is a degree in data analytics right for you?

Here are some of the pros and cons of earning a master’s degree in data analytics:

Master’s in Data Analytics—Pros Master’s in Data Analytics—Cons
You’ll hone your data science skills. A data analytics program will provide the training you’ll need to develop and strengthen your data and technology skills, such as programming, analytical reasoning, AI, business analysis, software testing, storytelling, data management, and product design. You’ll need to take some prerequisites, if necessary. If your data analytics master’s program requires STEM courses that your bachelor’s degree didn’t cover—such as statistics or other mathematics courses—you may need to take some additional courses in preparation for your analytics program. Most programs will guide you toward a solution, if needed.
You’ll set yourself up for a successful career. Emerging data science trends and the demand for analytics skills are driving the need for trained and competent data analysts. The data boom has paved the way for a lucrative analytics career and obtaining a graduate degree in data analytics will solidify your position as an industry leader. You’ll need to keep up with the latest trends and technologies. All data analytics professionals continue learning beyond a graduate degree. While a master’s degree is necessary to establish your data science foundation, you’ll get to keep up with trends and technologies by attending conferences, reading up on trends, and pursuing continuing education.
You’ll play a part in filling the data skills gap. In 2017, 61 percent of businesses implemented the use of AI. There is a need for more data professionals and pursuing a program in data analytics gives you the opportunity to meet the needs of a growing number of businesses today. You’ll have to educate companies that are just getting on board with AI. Data analytics is still growing, so you might work for a company that recently implemented data science business solutions for the first time. You’ll have the opportunity to introduce AI and machine learning to the company’s leadership which is a great way to strengthen your consulting skills.
You’ll make a highly competitive salary. There is a wide variety of data analytics careers that include high-paying jobs. These include roles like: IT systems analyst, healthcare data analyst, operations analyst, data scientist, data engineer, quantitative analyst, data analytics consultant, digital marketing manager, project manager, and transportation logistics specialist. You’ll have to pay graduate tuition. As is the case any time you choose to pursue higher education, you’ll need to consider the cost to ensure you’ll receive the greatest return. Luckily, universities that offer online graduate programs allow flexibility so you can continue working while furthering your education.

While there’s a lot to consider in applying for a graduate program, the decision comes down to whether you can receive the greatest ROI from obtaining a master’s degree.

Master’s in Data Analytics versus Business Analytics

Business analytics is another popular discipline that is filling the knowledge and skills gap in data science. A master of science in business analytics—while different in terms of skills, job responsibilities, training, education, career path, and salary—plays an important role in today’s business climate. What are the key differences between data analytics and business analytics?

Skills and Job Responsibilities

Both data and business analytics aim to analyze data and use it to gain valuable insight, but the two disciplines use unique strategies and skills to achieve these goals goal. Whereas data analytics determines how available data can be utilized to discover new information, business analytics strategically uses this information to make better business decisions.

Here are some key skills and job responsibilities specific to data and business analytics:

Data analytics Business analytics Both
  • Mines data from various sources
  • Cleans data
  • Utilizes various data modelling techniques
  • Designs and organizes databases
  • Uses programming languages (R/SAS)
  • Applies machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI)
  • Researches and analyzes data patterns
  • Identifies company inefficiencies
  • Recommends business solutions
  • Acts as a business-technology liaison
  • Develops organizational goals
  • Manage data
  • Interpret data patterns
  • Use statistical methods
  • Think critically and creatively
  • Communicate effectively across multiple disciplines
  • Coordinate and manage multiple projects

Another critical skill for both data and business analytics professionals is data visualization, which is the ability to present data findings through visual representations. Using pictures to tell a story or provide information is a practice that has been around for centuries. With the advancement of technology, however, it’s even more crucial that analytics professionals master this skill. Data interpretation is futile when not properly communicated to its audience. Even more, American’s use 4.4 million GB of data each minute of the day. Information is passed through the brain in enormous amounts, but proper data visualization allows consumers to categorize, digest, and remember data insights.

Training and Education

Data analytics and business analytics professionals often have similar educational backgrounds. A bachelor’s degree in analytics, statistics, or another related field, is a great way to transition to a graduate program in either data analytics or business analytics, but it’s not required. It’s also common—and often helpful—to pursue an undergraduate degree in one’s professional field, such as marketing or business, and then obtain a master’s degree from an analytics program to strengthen technical skills.

Both data analytics and business analytics professionals must also focus on strengthening their “soft skills” in order to successfully communicate across departments and appropriately act on insights. Below are a few essential soft skills for analytics professionals:

  • Communication
  • Problem-solving
  • Connecting insights to the real world
  • Prioritization
  • Business acumen

Career Path and Salary

Whether you’re interested in data analytics or business analytics, learning to use data science to increase business insight, make better decisions, and maximize results is critical to meet the demands of companies across all industries. The career trajectory for analytics professionals is promising, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Occupation U.S. Job growth by 2028
Mathematicians and Statisticians 30%
Operations Research Analysts 26%
Software Developers 21%
Market Research Analysts 20%
Computer and Information Research Scientists 16%
Management Analysts 14%
Computer Systems Analysts 9%
Database Administrators 9%
All U.S. occupations 5%

Analytics professionals are needed in every industry. While taking on a leadership role is certainly an attainable goal, they can earn a highly competitive salary as an analyst as well. A Burtch Works study revealed that the median base salaries for individual contributors were $95,000 per year with less than 3 years of experience, and $165,000 per year with more than 9 years of experience. If a manager is on a leadership track though, though, the study also revealed that managers earn $145,000 per year with less than 3 years of experience, and $250,000 per year with more than 9 years of experience. We’ll explore salary information in greater depth below.

How to Decide If a Master’s in Data Analytics Is Right for You

Deciding whether a master’s in data analytics is right depends on the prospective applicant’s background, interests, and career and salary goals.

Background

Are you already in a field that supports data science and data analytics? If you have applicable job experience or a bachelor’s degree in a technology-related field, pursuing a master’s program can expand your skills so you can learn the underlying science of predictive and exploratory analyses, as well as the techniques for creating compelling visualizations and data narratives. Taking your education to the next level increases your job opportunities and earning potential.

Interests

Whether someone’s background seamlessly connects them with a job in data analytics, or they’re just starting out, they can still pursue your interest in data analytics with the right education and training. If students have a strong interest in data science, or if they’re naturally analytical and display an aptitude for solving difficult puzzles, a role in data analytics is an excellent option. And with the proper analytics training—such as an online MS in Data Analytics and Visualization from the Katz School of Science and Health at Yeshiva University (YU)—they will receive proper training to hone the skills and knowledge needed to be successful in this field.

Career and Salary Goals

If someone’s looking for a challenging and rewarding career, as well as a competitive salary, a graduate degree in data analytics is a step in the right direction. There is an enormous demand for data professionals, and hiring managers are having a hard time finding candidates with the right skills—on average, data science and analytics roles remain vacant for 45 days. Combining these factors results in the opportunity to make a lasting impact on businesses and earn a competitive salary. The Bureau of Labor Statistics 2018 Occupational Outlook data records the following occupations and salaries:

Occupation Annual salary Job duties Applications of an MS in Data Analytics and Visualization Top employer industries
Computer and Information Research Scientists $118,370 Study and solve complex problems in computing for business, science, medicine, and other fields, as well as invent and design new approaches to computing technology, and find innovative uses for existing technology. Computer and information research scientists with advanced training in data analytics also have the advantage of understanding the most engaging ways to model and present their findings. Federal government, Computer systems design, and related services, Research and development, Colleges, universities, and professional schools, Software publishers
Software Developers $105,590 Develop the applications that allow people to do specific tasks on a computer or another device, as well as the underlying systems that run devices that control networks. High-level coding and programming languages, which are key study areas for master’s candidates in data analytics, are vital for a software developer to remain flexible and responsive to the unique needs of an institution. Applications: Computer systems design, and related services, Finance and insurance, Software publishers, Manufacturing, Management of companies and enterprises. Systems software: Computer systems design, and related services, Manufacturing, Finance and insurance, Software publishers, Engineering services
Database Administrators $90,070 Use specialized software to store and organize data, such as financial information and customer shipping records. The faculty in a data analytics and visualization master’s program are experts in many areas of the field, including information architectures. Students in a program can learn a variety of tools for managing data and, most importantly, the clearest ways to translate those insights into user-friendly reporting and accessible databases. Computer systems design, and related services, Educational services, Management of companies and enterprises, Insurance carriers, and related activities, Data processing, hosting, and related services
Computer Systems Analysts $88,740 Study an organization’s current computer systems and procedures, then design solutions to help the organization operate more efficiently and effectively, bringing business and technology together by understanding the needs and limitations of both. Problem-solving is an emphasis throughout master’s program coursework. Students are grounded in data science, organizational data management, modeling and analysis. With experience in natural language processing and recommender systems, advanced degree work will prove invaluable to work as a computer systems analyst. Computer systems design, and related services, Finance and insurance, Management of companies and enterprises, Information, Government
Mathematicians and Statisticians $88,190 Apply mathematical and statistical techniques to help solve real-world problems in business, engineering, healthcare, or other fields. With a firm understanding of computational math and statistics, graduates of a data analytics program are well-positioned to handle enormous quantities of information with ease. Mathematicians and statisticians with advanced training in data visualization also have the advantage of understanding the most engaging ways to model and present their findings. Mathematicians: Federal government, Colleges, universities, and professional schools, Research and development, Management, scientific, and technical consulting services. Statisticians: Research and development, Federal government, Healthcare and social assistance, Insurance carriers, and related activities, Colleges, universities, and professional schools
Management Analysts $83,610 Propose ways to improve an organization’s efficiency, and advise managers on how to make organizations more profitable through reduced costs and increased revenues. Coursework in data-driven organizations and project management can give a management analyst a well-rounded approach to business needs in any setting. Professional, scientific, and technical services, Self-employed workers, Government, Finance and insurance, Management of companies and enterprises
Operations Research Analysts $83,390 Use advanced mathematical and analytical methods to help organizations solve problems and make better decisions. A master’s program teaches frameworks for understanding data systems in the broader context of an organization’s goals. In addition, the knowledge gained in talent analytics will continue to pay dividends, for any operations research analyst and for the organization they work with. Finance and insurance, Professional, scientific, and technical services, Management of companies and enterprises, Manufacturing, Federal government
Market Research Analysts $63,120 Study market conditions to examine potential sales of a product or service, and help companies understand audience personas. Market research analysis can be bolstered by training in analytical frameworks that enhance customer insight, customer development, and product development–valuable areas in any assessment of a brand’s audience. Management, scientific, and technical consulting services, Finance and insurance, Wholesale trade, Management of companies and enterprises

Best Programs for a Master’s Degree in Data Analytics

If you’ve decided to move forward with a master’s degree in data analytics, it’s critical that you choose the best program so you receive the best training and maximize your ROI. While it’s difficult to know exactly which program will have the greatest outcome, there are a number of things you can look for in a data analytics master’s program to ensure you’re making the most informed decisions.

Below are a few of the variables you can consider when looking for the best master’s in data analytics program.

Tech-Industry Pathway

Before choosing a master’s program in data analytics, take a look at your personal and professional goals and determine which data science path interests you most. Is it marketing? Healthcare? Media? Data analytics is needed across all industries, so it comes down to finding a program that will offer training that best meets your needs in your area of interest.

Industry-Relevant Curriculum

A master’s degree in data analytics should provide graduates with a well-rounded curriculum so they can bring immediate value to their company. YU’s online MS in Data Analytics and Visualization offers the following courses:

  • Analytics Programming
  • Visual Design and Storytelling
  • Computational Math and Statistics
  • Structured Data Management
  • Data Science
  • Data Product Design
  • Data Driven Organizations
  • AI Studio
  • Information Architectures

The Katz school also offers real-world experience through a capstone project and internships. These opportunities provide the foundation needed to master hands-on skills and make a valuable contribution that will be rewarding for both you and your company.

Flexibility

Earning an online master’s in data analytics brings the classroom wherever you are. Providing the highest level of convenience, courses are taken completely online. Depending on the program, most of the coursework can be completed asynchronously so you can work at your own pace and according to your own schedule, which allows you to continue working while you’re going to school. Professors are available virtually during regular office hours and you can connect with fellow students through online chat rooms and video conferencing.

Job Readiness

Given the commitment and cost of pursuing higher education, ensure the graduate program has a specific plan to ensure you are career-ready and able to contribute on the first day you start your new job. The benefits of a master’s degree abound. With a graduate degree, employees earn more money and are promoted to management roles faster than those with only a bachelor’s degree. Whether you are at an entry- or senior-level, a master’s degree in data analytics should guide you to an empowering career upon graduation.

School Ranking

Although just one piece of the puzzle in determining whether to pursue a graduate degree, rankings are a great way to determine how other key stakeholders value a program. Resources such as U.S. News and World Report can help provide ranking information on some of the best graduate programs, like those at Yeshiva University which rank in the US News Top 100 Graduate Programs.

Networking Opportunities

Networking is one of the best ways to find a dream job. Students can find a mentor, future managers and colleagues, and a support system that can help them through a career lifespan. When selecting a graduate program, pay attention to the networking opportunities the school offers. Capstone projects, internships, and participation in events and forums are all great ways to meet and connect with business leaders and managers.

Graduate Success

Studying at a program in a top university is a perfect way to position yourself for success in the job market. Prospective students can gather this information by reaching out to admissions counselors and asking about the university’s resources for career development. If students are changing careers, this is also a great way to ask which non-tech industries provide the best background for data analytics.

Alumni Resources

The best online master’s programs maintain an ongoing relationship with graduates and offer a multitude of alumni resources. Take note of alumni events and newsletters. Information can be found on alumni resources by researching the school’s website or reaching out to the admissions counselor. Ask questions like: “How many graduates of the master’s in data analytics program utilize alumni resources?”, and “How many are still in contact with faculty and ask for industry guidance?”

Ongoing Education

Given that the tech-industry is ever-evolving, it’s important to be connected to a graduate school that understands the value and necessity of continuing education. Once industry trends shift along with the growing technology climate, what does the school recommend in terms of keeping up with in-demand skills and competencies? Universities that have an answer to this question care most about their personal and professional success.

Overall, a master’s in data analytics should set students up for a successful career and give them a chance to follow their passions. The best program will allow them to impact their companies in a positive and meaningful way by giving them the key to industry-leading knowledge and skills. All of this can be available to them without schedule or distance barriers.

Why choose an MS in Data Analytics and Visualization at the Katz School?

At the Katz School of Science and Health, the primary goals are to deliver a world-class education in emerging and expanding disciplines, to connect students with thought-leaders and employers and to create an exemplary educational experience. Aiming to further students’ intellectual and professional pursuits, the online MS in Data Analytics and Visualization is no exception.

Businesses across all industries have a challenge ahead—and the Katz school is aiming to address this challenge by training motivated and capable individuals to fill the digital skills gap and occupy critical roles that will shape the future. The online curriculum offers maximum flexibility, so students can work at the pace of a daily schedule while expanding their knowledge and skills. The faculty comprises industry-leaders with real-world experience, who are excited and determined to help shape the future generation of technology professionals.

Reach out today to learn more about YU’s online MS in Data Analytics and Visualization program.

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