Businesses have always been able to collect and analyze data. Over the past couple of decades, though, and with much thanks to the Internet, data has grown enormously. We now have access to massive amounts of data that can be used to make better-informed business decisions. The only way we can make these decisions, however, is by making sure we are accurately analyzing the data we have access to — introducing business analysts.
It is a business analyst’s job to collect, store, manage, and analyze data. This data can be collected from a variety of sources, including surveys, online browsing habits, mobile messaging data, and more. Much of the time, it is a business analyst’s responsibility to choose the sources from which he or she wants to collect data to best achieve the objective at hand. Some of the more popular specialty areas that business analyst work in include:
- Market research
- Operations research
- Analytics management
- Financial analytics
- Visualization modeling
- Cost estimation
Earning a Degree in Business Analytics
One of the first things you will notice when you search for schools offering programs in business analytics is that there are so many choose from. And not only are there a high number to choose from, but most of these programs differ from each other in one way or another. For example, most programs come with some type of concentration in another field of study. Carnegie Mellon University offers a Master of Information Systems Management program that concentrates on business intelligence and data analytics. Columbia University has a Master of Science program that concentrates on Applied Analytics. If you are looking for a program that concentrates more on the business-side of analytics, then you’ll want to check out the MBA: Business Analytics Concentration program offered at Purdue University.
Like most other areas of study, the type of degree that you choose to pursue will determine how long you are in school. Generally, an associate’s level program will take anywhere from 15 to 24 months to complete. If you want to earn a bachelor’s degree, it will take you roughly four years, however, some schools do offer accelerated programs that enable you to earn your degree in as little as 36 months. Since the field of business analytics is always evolving due to advancements in technology, it is pertinent that you expand your knowledge on the subject as much as possible, meaning, if you have the time and resources, earning an advanced degree is highly recommended. A master’s program will take anywhere from nine to 24 months after you have finished your undergraduate studies. And to earn a Ph.D., you will need to devote another 15 to 36 months to your schooling.
Ideal Jobs for a Person With a Degree in Business Analytics
The amount of schooling and the exact degree that you earn will greatly influence the job opportunities that come available to you once you graduate. The electives that you take during your years of studying will also impact the career paths that you can follow. Common positions that graduates of business analytics program pursue are:
As a data scientist, you will spend your time working with data. Sometimes, the data is already collected for you. Other times, however, you may have to develop programs that collect the data. Your responsibility is to collect, store, and analyze the data to solve analytically-complex problems. Sometimes, though, your main goal may be to make meaningful use out of the data, with no complex problem to solve. Regardless of your responsibilities as a data scientist, you are going to be working with various software tools and you are going to need an extensive amount of knowledge related to programming, coding, mining, and query languages.
A project manager has a wide range of knowledge relating to various tools and techniques that can be implemented to complete a project in the most effective and efficient manner possible. In this role, you are responsible for assembling teams, closing projects, and communicating with higher-level employees, including shareholders and board members.
A research analyst performs much of the same job tasks as a data scientist, except in this role, more of your time is spent on actual research. Your objective in this role is to help your employer determine its position within the marketplace and create strategies that can help put the company ahead of its competitors.
Much of the time, business analysts start out by working under the title of a data analyst. In this line of work, you will be working massive amounts of Big Data to achieve the objectives that your employer gives you. If your employer provides you with Big Data that is unstructured, it will be your responsibility as a data analyst to manipulate the data into a structured form so that it can be used for further analyses with the hope of discovering valuable hidden insights.
Supply chain manager
As a supply chain manager, you will use your knowledge of business analytics to make recommendations that can improve your employer’s logistics and purchase processes. It is also in this role that you will perform a lot of research to stay up to date with the latest logistical methods that improve storage and shipping efficiency.
A data architect starts out projects by first examining the needs of his or her employer. Communication with employees and users of the employer’s databases will take place; these discussions will shed light on the parts of the database that need to be analyzed or altered. Once goals are set, the data architect then creates a blueprint of how architectural data changes are going to take place; this may include changing interfaces, building completely new database software from code, or even integrating two or more platforms together.