Thinking about furthering your education with a master’s in data analytics? If so, then you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed by the number of data analytics programs available. How can you choose the program and school that’s right for you? At The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC), we’re proud to offer a comprehensive Master of Science in Data Analytics to help you hone your skills, set yourself apart in the field, and propel your career forward.
Whether you’re interested in pursuing this degree on the business track or computer science track, we offer the core courses and elective options you need to refine your skills and expand your knowledge.
What Is a Master’s in Data Analytics?
A master’s in data analytics refers to a graduate program that is designed to help students better understand issues and topics related to managing and interpreting big data, as well as the techniques needed to properly analyze large amounts of data to better reveal trends and better inform decision-making within an organization.
Graduates with a master’s degrees in data analytics go on to work in rewarding positions such as logisticians, operations research analysts, marketing analysts, data analytics engineers, big data architects, and more.
Why Pursue a Master’s in Data Analytics?
Businesses and organizations of every size and across all industries need data analytics experts. With more data being collected than ever before, businesses that want to stay ahead of the competition need to be able to properly collect, analyze, and interpret data to make the right decisions.
With a master’s in data analytics, you can gain the skills and expertise needed to qualify for key positions in just about any industry imaginable. Likewise, when compared to a job applicant who has only completed an undergraduate data analytics program, having a master’s degree under your belt will help set you apart from other applicants and may increase your chances of finding the job you want.
Meanwhile, having a master’s degree in this field can also open the doors of opportunity for higher earnings. According to data by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for data scientists and analysts was just under $101,000 in 2021. Top earners in any field tend to be those with more advanced degrees, so having a master’s in data analytics may help you achieve higher earnings than those with undergraduate degrees. While most employers looking to hire data analysts require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a related field, the reality is that more employers prefer a master’s degree or other advanced degree when making hiring decisions.
Finally, consider that the field of data analytics is constantly changing and evolving. Information and techniques that were used just a few years ago may already be obsolete. By pursuing a master’s degree in this field, you can keep up with the latest innovations and changes in the industry. This, in turn, will make you a more relevant and appealing candidate for potential employers.
How to Choose the Right Data Analytics Degree
As you begin exploring your options for data analytics master’s programs, you’ll find that you have many to choose from. However, not all graduate degree programs are created equal. Your professional future will depend largely on the quality of the program you select, so it’s important to take this choice seriously.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Master’s Program
So, what are some things you should be taking into consideration when selecting the master’s program that’s right for you?
Start by carefully assessing the curriculum offered by the school and program that you’re looking at. Specifically, review the comprehensiveness of the courses and the opportunities offered for hands-on projects, internships, and other real-world applications. Ideally, you’ll be able to select a program that offers classes covering the latest in data analytics methods, strategies, and software programs. Likewise, a program that includes assistance in finding internships and other professional development opportunities is a must in this dynamic industry.
Mode of Delivery
You’ll also want to consider the mode of delivery available for your master’s program. This is especially important if you already work a full-time job, have a family, or have other important life obligations that may make it impractical to commute to campus to attend in-person classes.
If this is the case, then pursuing a master’s in data analytics online may be a more practical option. With an online program, you can complete coursework on your own time and work more-or-less at your own pace. You’ll also be able to save on the time and expense related to commuting to a physical campus each day, making obtaining your master’s degree more accessible.
At the end of the day, master’s in data analytics programs are only as good as their faculty. This applies not just to instructors and professors, but advisors as well. When selecting a master’s program, it’s important to research the faculty and ensure that they are both reputable and experienced. Ideally, the instructors will have hands-on experience in the field themselves.
Accreditation and Reputation
Be sure that the program you select not only has a solid reputation but is accredited by a reputable third-party as well. Accreditation refers to a voluntary process that schools complete to ensure that their education meets basic standards for quality. Ideally, the program that you select will come from an accredited school—and, in some cases, individual programs may also be accredited by organizations within the field.
Studying under a recognized institution means that you can enjoy added confidence in your experience. Likewise, a degree from a reputable college or university will reflect well on your resume when it comes time to seek employment after graduation.
Choosing a program with a strong alumni network is also essential when selecting a data analytics program, as a great alumni network makes it easier to connect with other professionals in your field. This can open the door for all kinds of great career opportunities that you may not otherwise have access to. Take time to research the alumni program at the school you’re considering, as this will give you a better feel for how connected its graduates remain after finishing their degrees.
Selecting a school and program with strong career support resources can make it much easier to find work after you graduate. Look for a school with a career services center (or something similar) that will assist you with job placement, resume writing, interview practice, and other practical resources.
Evaluating Data Analytics Master’s Programs: What to Watch For
As you explore your options for degree programs in data analytics, there are a few common mistakes you’ll want to avoid as well.
Not Considering Future Career Goals
Even if a program looks great on paper, the reality is that it won’t serve you well if it doesn’t align with your own interests and career goals. With this in mind, make sure to carefully consider where your interests lie in the data analytics field and choose a program that will allow you to pursue those interests. Otherwise, you may find yourself with a degree that doesn’t really serve you.
Overlooking Cost and ROI
Another common mistake people make when choosing a master’s degree program is overlooking the cost of tuition (and other fees) when compared to return on investment (ROI). Yes, graduate degrees can be expensive—but when you factor in the higher earnings potential and the increased likelihood of finding work in your field, this investment is almost always worth it in the long run.
When comparing degree programs, be sure to look not just at tuition but other costs as well, including technology, fees, and supplies. Likewise, explore financial aid opportunities offered through the school, such as scholarships and even graduate assistantships. These can drastically offset the costs associated with completing a graduate degree program.
Graduation and Job Placement Rates
Finally, research graduation rates and job placement rates of any school or program before you enroll. A reputable school should be happy to share this information with you so you can make the most informed decision. The higher the graduation and job placement rates, the more confident you can be about enrolling in the program. If a school doesn’t want to share this information or claims to not have this data, then it’s probably not the right data analytics program for you.
Meet Industry Demand With a Master of Science in Data Analytics From UTC
Choosing the right graduate program in data analytics can take a lot of planning, research, and foresight on your part. However, making the correct choice is something that can pay off many times over in the years to come.
At UTC, we offer an online master in data analytics program through the Gary W. Rollins College of Business and the College of Engineering and Computer Science. Whether you decide to take the business track or the computer science track, you’ll enjoy access to a quality education with plenty of resources in place to help you succeed. Both tracks also include an internship or practicum project, offering you the opportunity to apply the skills you’ve learned to real-world scenarios and gain valuable experience.Ready to learn more about our Master of Science in Data Analytics? Get in touch to request more information about the program or start your online application today.