Ninety percent of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone, according to IBM. Purchase transaction records, digital pictures and videos, social media posts, cellphone GPS signals and more create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data each day — enough to fill 100 million Blu-ray Discs.
Big data has created opportunities for businesses and organizations across industries to identify insights and make improvements. McKinsey Global Institute estimated that U.S. health care could save more than $300 billion annually and retailers could increase their operating margin by more than 60 percent by using data effectively. As a result, analytics professionals are in high demand, with the United States facing a significant shortage of people with deep analytical skills.
Training and Education for a Career in Analytics
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that most analysts have a master’s degree or higher, in addition to a bachelor’s degree. Common specialties include statistics, mathematics and computer science.
Roles such as data scientist typically require a master’s degree or higher as well. A 2016 salary survey of data scientists from executive recruiting firm Burtch Works found that nine out of 10 had an advanced degree. Only 8 percent had a bachelor’s degree alone, while 44 percent had a master’s degree and 48 percent had a Ph.D.
The annual study found that 59 percent of level one (or early-career) data scientists’ highest level of education is a master’s degree, compared to 48 percent in the previous year. “These data seem to suggest that those interested in data science careers are seeking a faster route to the workplace,” authors of the study said. Data science-related master’s programs are becoming more popular and allowing professionals to pursue these types of opportunities.
Programs such as the online master’s degree in analytics from Notre Dame of Maryland University prepare students for advanced career opportunities in big data. Students gain skills and knowledge in areas such as knowledge management technologies, qualitative processes and economic principles of change risk management.
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Analytics Jobs and Salaries
Analytics professionals use data mining techniques to provide insights into available data sets, which offer descriptive and predictive power for businesses and other organizations.
Data analyst and data scientist are two of the most common job titles in big data. There are some key differences that help distinguish data analyst vs. data scientist, such as how analysts are well-versed in SQL and business intelligence tools and packages, while data scientists have machine learning skills and advanced statistics knowledge that enable them to manipulate data and build statistical models.
According to PayScale, data analysts earn an average salary of $56,634. Data scientists in information technology earn $91,588. According to the Burtch Works salary survey of data scientists, median base salaries ranged from $96,000 at the lowest level (level one) of experience to $150,000 at the highest level (level three) of experience.
Another job title related to analytics is business analyst. This role identifies what a business needs and then uses techniques such as data analysis that will help organizations achieve their goals. Analytics professionals can pursue specialty fields in business analysis like decision analyst. A 2013 salary survey from the International Institute of Business Analysis found that business analysis professionals in the United States earn an average salary of $91,512.
Pursuing a Career in Analytics
The online Master of Science in Analytics from Notre Dame of Maryland University helps students start or advance their career in analytics. In a convenient and flexible learning environment, students can prepare for roles such as data analyst, data scientist and business analyst.
This program gives individuals the quantitative skills for an analytics career, but also emphasizes the human dimensions of organizations. Courses provide a strong foundation of knowledge as well as the skills employers highly value, including professional communications, negotiation, leadership and teamwork.