We live in a data-driven world. The modern data landscape offers a myriad of opportunities to learn about our world and to find (and implement) solutions to society’s biggest problems. Every online interaction and real-world behavior has the potential to produce insightful data. With such a wealth of information comes unique challenges, however, and making sense of all this data can be difficult.
This is where data analytics can come into play. By integrating research-backed tools, technologies, and methods into data-driven initiatives, we can ensure that data is used responsibly and effectively. Hence, the need for thoroughly trained professionals (ideally, equipped with a data analytics degree) to reveal when data is of value and what, exactly, can be accomplished with so much information. As the demand for real-time and predictive analytics explodes, skilled data analysts will be even more appreciated.
In this guide, we aim to answer several basic, yet insightful, questions about this field. Perhaps most important: Is data analytics a good career? Keep reading to learn about the challenges and opportunities that can arise as you pursue a career in data analytics, as well as which data analytics career path will keep you inspired and engaged enough to navigate today’s top data-related obstacles.
Is Data Analytics a Good Career?
Data analytics can be a great career field for detail-oriented, analytical individuals — but it’s not ideal for everybody. To succeed in this challenging field, you will need a unique blend of technical and soft skills, from quantitative analysis to written communication and creativity.
Beyond this, you will need to demonstrate a strong attention to detail and the ability to perceive big-picture trends. A self-starter attitude is critical, and you can expect to work closely with team members from several departments, not to mention all types of clients, customers, and vendors. This is a lot to juggle, but if you are highly driven — and naturally intrigued by the power of data — you could have a gratifying future in this rapidly growing field.
Data Analytics Career Growth Potential
The future is bright for the field of data analytics. However, the field is vast and varied, and demand is uneven across various sectors. Still, there are a few reliable paths to gaining a competitive edge: pursuing a Master of Science in Data Analytics and leveraging existing technical skills or experiences to impress potential employers.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides helpful insight into current data analytics opportunities and their expected outlook between now and 2032. These nearly always exceed the average outlook across all occupations: just 3 percent. Examples of data analytics career paths with far greater projected growth include:
- Data scientist: 35 percent
- Operations research analyst: 23 percent
- Market research analyst: 13 percent
- Financial analyst: 8 percent
While these technical fields call for targeted data analytics training, they are by no means the only areas in which a Master of Science in Data Analytics could prove useful. Beyond this, the MSDA is a great option for aspiring business leaders, especially in technical fields. The MSDA provides a thorough overview of accounting, economics, and financial management, with the opportunity to also study health informatics and other evidence-based topics as they relate to the healthcare field.
10 Career Paths with an MS in Data Analytics
There is no denying the high growth potential in the field of data analytics. This is one of the most compelling aspects of this career path, but there is also a lot to love about its inherent versatility. Name a sector or a company, and you will find opportunities to improve outcomes by gathering, interpreting, and leveraging data.
Not sure if an MS in Data Analytics is worth pursuing? We’re positive you’ll be convinced once you have a better sense of the wide range of industries in which a data analytics degree can prove transformative. Top career paths for MSDA graduates include:
1. Data Scientist
Tasked with gathering and analyzing information from many sources, data scientists draw on the power of advanced analytics to produce powerful insights that drive strategic decision-making. While the scope of the job largely depends on where data scientists are employed and in which sector, the process typically begins by defining the project and determining which data sources will be required.
From there, data scientists can acquire the information they need using everything from databases to web scraping. They must then ‘clean’ the raw data they acquire. An MSDA provides thorough preparation for these and other tasks required of a data scientist.
2. Data Analyst
Like data scientists, data analysts work extensively with complex data — but the skills and tools they use along the way may differ considerably. With a career in data analytics, there is a stronger focus on making sense of already gathered information, while data science delves more into the process of accessing the right resources.
On any given day, data analysts may find themselves running tests, coding, or cleaning data. Their work calls for an in-depth understanding of today’s top programming languages, plus competency in data modeling and extract, transform, load (ETL) processes. Their work is heavily relied upon in the finance sector, but data analysts are also highly valued in healthcare, telecommunications, and several other industries.
3. Quantitative Analyst
Sometimes referred to simply as quants, quantitative analysts are finance professionals who use advanced statistical models to support their work with investments. The quantitative techniques they develop and implement are increasingly integral to risk management, securities trading, and even portfolio construction.
This role typically centers around daily or periodic statistical responsibilities, such as risk modeling or trading strategy development. Quants typically work with other highly driven professionals, forming impactful teams that can be relied on to drive quick and impressive results.
4. Data Analytics Consultant
Professionals with a desire for maximum autonomy and flexibility may prefer consulting. Thankfully, consulting opportunities abound within every area of data analytics, including many of the niches highlighted in this guide. Employed by consulting firms or working on their own, data analytics consultants provide valuable third-party perspectives and can help organizations from all sectors clarify — and make progress toward — their data-driven objectives.
5. Operations Analyst
Charged with identifying, researching, and solving internal problems, operations analysts seek to pinpoint areas for improvement (and facilitate those improvements) within a variety of industries and organizations. This field calls for a strong understanding of both data analytics and complex management concepts, including financial management and organizational behavior. This is a versatile career path, with operations analysts making a difference in healthcare, manufacturing, insurance, and beyond.
6. Market Research Analyst
Fascinated by consumer preferences and behaviors, market research analysts help organizations understand what exactly today’s customers or clients demand and how they can deliver on these desires. This profession is rapidly becoming more technical in nature, with today’s market research experts performing quantitative analysis and creating influential data visualizations. This cross-disciplinary role will appeal greatly to anyone with an interest in blending hard and soft skills on a daily basis.
7. Healthcare Data Analyst
Data analysis provides powerful opportunities to improve both patient outcomes and satisfaction. Healthcare data analysts drive these efforts by drawing on huge volumes of data to learn where current challenges exist in healthcare and how these can be addressed. The far-reaching data required for this role involves everything from insurance claims to prescription records and even vital signs. Using these sizable and varied data sets, analysts reveal trends as they play out within facilities, across healthcare systems, and in the insurance industry.
8. Supply Chain Analyst
Supply chain challenges have proliferated in recent years, with fragmentation and limited visibility wreaking havoc in all areas of the modern economy. Thankfully, the logistics sector has the power to address many of these concerns by leveraging a wealth of data. Properly cleaned and manipulated, this data can reveal creative solutions for today’s most pressing supply chain issues.
These efforts are driven by supply chain analysts, who function as much-needed liaisons between enterprises and their suppliers. Responsible for researching and developing dynamic operational plans, supply chain analysts can reveal revolutionary strategies to optimize the supply chain while cutting costs and improving inventory management.
9. Sports Analyst
An exciting opportunity for sports enthusiasts, this compelling field applies advanced data analytics skills to the fast-paced world of sport. Many sports analysts work closely with coaching staff to reveal trends in athletic performance or uncover factors that might prevent team members from reaching their full potential. Sports analysts may also be employed by media outlets, as their targeted, data-driven insights add interest and depth to sports reporting.
10. Fraud Detection Analyst
Offering close monitoring services for organizations such as banks and insurance companies, fraud detection analysts focus on complex cases involving identity theft and other forms of fraud. Skilled at following and understanding paper trails, they can determine the circumstances underscoring losses. These analysts may even be able to reverse problematic transactions or, at least, contribute to efforts to prevent similar issues in the future. Many fraud-oriented analysts work closely with law enforcement officials or are expected to communicate their findings to business executives.
Prepare for a Career in Data Analytics at UTC
Are you intrigued by any of the job opportunities highlighted above? These career paths can be compelling, but they call for extensive training and a strong professional network. Both are well within reach when you pursue your Master of Science in Data Analytics. To learn more about this powerful graduate program and the many in-demand skills it’ll help you develop, get in touch today.