Data analytics has become an irreplaceable tool for countless organizations around the world, opening up a variety of career opportunities for those with data science experience, strong analytical skills and a knack for problem-solving. Companies are collecting more data every day to help increase profitability and secure a competitive advantage in their marketplaces. However, to make full use of this information, organizations must integrate cutting-edge data analytics tools into their workflows. When leveraged effectively, big data analytics can support evidence-based business decisions and forecast future trends, providing key decision-makers with the context they need to adapt to shifting market conditions.
For aspiring students and mid-career professionals alike, earning a Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) can provide the general and specialized knowledge required to excel in these types of roles. Nearly every industry relies on business analytics professionals at some level, and demand for these skills is only growing as more companies seek to harness the full potential of their data. But what can you do with a master’s in business analytics, exactly, and how can an online MSBA prepare you for a successful career?
Career Paths in Business Analytics
The business world is currently undergoing a major transformation. New technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning are helping organizations convert raw data into actionable business insights, leading to more profitable outcomes. While these innovations have had a notable impact on data analytics jobs, companies still rely on talented data scientists and business analysts to make sense of the information they collect. In fact, research from the Business-Higher Education Forum projected that there would be approximately 2.7 million data science and analytics job postings by the end of 2020. To capitalize on these employment opportunities, it’s important to understand what you can do with a master’s in business analytics in different settings.
As PricewaterhouseCoopers notes, business analytics jobs typically fall into two broad categories: Analytics-enabled roles and data science roles. Although both sub-fields directly analyze data, the qualifications and core skill sets are a bit different, as are the associated job titles.
Analytics-enabled roles typically require a balance of data science experience and business expertise, which is why a master’s degree in business analytics can be such a valuable stepping-stone. Pursuing an MSBA can help students and established professionals understand how data is used to answer specific business questions, drive profitability and forecast future revenue-generating opportunities. According to PwC, analytics-enabled jobs may also call for hands-on experience with reporting and visualization software. Examples of such roles include:
Marketing specialists gather and analyze data to help companies effectively advertise their products or services. By parsing information on customer demographics, preferences and buying habits, marketing specialists tailor advertising campaigns to specific audiences. Professionals in this role are also responsible for determining where their companies sit within the broader marketplace, which involves conducting detailed competitor analysis, market research and price comparisons. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of marketing specialists is expected to increase 20% from 2018 to 2028, which is much faster than the national average for all occupations. The average salary for marketing specialists stood at $63,790 in May 2019, with the highest 10% earning more than $122,630 annually.
Health Services Manager
Health services managers are responsible for improving the quality and efficiency of health care facilities, including hospitals, nursing homes, mental health centers and outpatient clinics. Alongside managing the finances of these facilities, health service managers must also set departmental goals and create work schedules that align with patients’ needs and their own budgetary constraints. Using their knowledge of business analytics, these professionals help ensure the health care system is financially sound and their facilities have the resources they need to produce positive health outcomes. According to the BLS, demand for health service managers is expected to increase 18% from 2018 to 2028. As of May 2019, the median salary for this role was $100,980, though professionals working in government earned upward of $111,520.
Like health service managers, management analysts seek to improve the efficiency of their organizations through data analytics and evidence-based recommendations. They collaborate with departmental heads and supervisors to reduce overhead costs, increase revenue and achieve higher levels of productivity. In most cases, management analysts gather and research information that directly applies to a specific business problem. For example, they may recommend new computing systems that provide more flexibility for end users, reducing the impact of unplanned downtime and IT issues. According to BLS data, employment of management analysts is forecasted to grow 14% between 2018 and 2028. The median salary for this role was $85,260 in May 2019, with the highest 10% earning more than $154,310.
Data Science Jobs
While similar in some respects to analytics-enabled jobs, data science roles typically call for strong programming skills and other IT-focused competencies, such as knowledge of machine learning, artificial intelligence and blockchain technologies, PwC explains. Earning a specialized master’s degree in business analytics can help aspiring professionals understand how these innovations are applied in real-world scenarios, along with the underlying data science principles they’re built upon. Since these types of jobs often involve complex data analysis, visualization and enablement, most employers will prioritize professional experience and work history during their hiring processes. Some examples of data science jobs in business analytics include:
Data Mining Specialist
Data mining specialists use statistical software and data analytics platforms to generate actionable business insights from vast stores of raw information. Using a variety of data visualization techniques, these professionals translate their research into easy-to-understand resources, including graphs, charts and heat maps. Data mining specialists are valuable to every department, especially when predictive modeling is used to forecast future revenue streams, cash flows and market conditions. By looking at transactional data, non-operational information and metadata, these professionals can formulate evidence-based recommendations aimed at efficiency, profitability and long-term success. According to data gathered by PayScale, data mining specialists had an average salary of $60,000 in 2020.
Data architects play a key role in business analytics by helping organizations create data management practices that align with their long-term goals. They design and build fully integrated and secure databases, ensuring data scientists and business analysts have access to the information they need for their research. This role requires extensive programming experience, data warehousing expertise and strong problem-solving skills, as data architects are responsible for creating streamlined database architectures and applications that support real-time business intelligence. According to the BLS, the median salary for data architects stood at $93,750 in May 2019, though professionals with considerable experience can earn as much as $148,060 annually.
Expand Your Business Analytics Career with an Online MSBA
The online Master of Science in Business Analytics program at the University of Nevada, Reno, is designed to help students tap into the power of big data, machine learning and business intelligence. This practical MSBA degree program offers a focused curriculum that balances data science principles with business insights, ensuring you have the knowledge and experience needed to take on a variety of data analytics roles. With courses in applied data science, predictive modeling and business analysis methods, you can assemble the tech-focused skills sought after by countless employers around the world.