It used to be that there were two distinct professions and departments within a business: the operational executives and the information technology professionals. People on the operations side made big decisions about business strategy, customer service, and marketing, while the IT people managed technology and data. Today’s business demands are increasingly bringing these roles together with business analytics. It’s emerging as a critical role within organizations large and small.
The growth of a business analytics career path means there are plenty of opportunities for data-minded professionals to use their skills to grow companies, identify new markets, and increase profitability. If you’re thinking about pursuing a career in this growing field, here are a few key things to know.
What is Business Analytics?
Collectively, we generate 1.145 trillion megabytes of data every day, a number that is forecasted to reach more than 450 exabytes by 2025.1 Businesses collect all kinds of information about customers, including buying habits, historical trends, and forecasts.
The information can offer valuable insight for businesses, but only if a company can translate it into actionable insights that predict future behavior or find new markets and customers. Business analytics is the process of taking structured and unstructured data from the past and present, and building mathematical models and algorithms to forecast the future. It’s used in every industry today—from real estate and retail to agriculture, medicine, and techology.2
Top Careers in Business Analytics
Almost 10 years ago, the Harvard Business Review dubbed data science the “sexiest job of the 21st century,”3 and the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that careers for computer and information research scientists are growing at a rate of 15% a year.4
There are dozens of options for careers in this field, but some of the most common include:
- Chief Technology Officer (CTO): Executive-level position for someone who understands and can predict how technology can improve operations and business strategy
- Chief Data Officer (CDO): An executive-level position tasked with overseeing the collection, analysis, and business value of data. As recently as 10 years ago, there were only a handful of CDOs, but today more than two-thirds of companies have one5
- Statistician: Compile quantitative data, then analyze and evaluate it using complex statistical models and make recommendations on how to approach and solve problems using the information from the data
- Data architect: Design secure data frameworks to help companies store and manage databases that house information
- Data analyst: Gather and evaluate data in a specialty area of a business (such as marketing or finance) and use it to improve strategic planning
- Data scientist: Translate raw data into usable analytical formats with algorithms, AI, machine learning, and statistical tools
- Market research analyst: Gather and analyze market intelligence to improve customer service and predict what customers will want and need in the future
How to Start a Career in Business Analytics
If you’re interested in pursuing a career in business analytics, here are some key steps you can take to boost your chances of getting hired.
Obtain the Right Bachelor’s and Graduate Degrees
The first step on your journey is to have the right educational background, which means pursuing a Bachelor’s in Business Analytics degree. This can help you get your foot in the door as a data analyst, data scientist, or research analyst.
Those who want to forge a long-term career in business analytics to reach top jobs like CTO and CDO should also get a master’s degree. Graduate programs provide not just the technical skills, but also the business acumen to think strategically and see how data fits into the overall picture of a company’s success. Further, a master’s program can help you develop leadership skills that you will need to lead a team of analysts and data professionals—a must for anyone who wants to advance to the C-suite.
Additional Courses and Certifications
In addition to higher education, there are also several business analytics certifications to consider.6 The first is a Certified Analytics Professional (CAP), which requires a master’s degree and is not offered by any specific vendor.
Professional organizations such as the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) also have certifications. The IIBA certifications include:
- Certification of Competency in Business Analysis (CCBA)
- Agile Analysis Certification (AAC)
- Entry Certificate in Business Analysis (ECBA)
- Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP)
- Certification in Business Data Analytics (CBDA)
Additionally, the International Qualifications Board for Business Analytics (IQBBA) has a Certified Foundation Level Business Analyst (CFLBA).
None of these certifications is required, but they could help you stand out among other applicants to land your dream job.
Another way to boost your experience prior to entering the workforce is with internships. Business analytics internships are available in dozens of industries with thousands of companies. They’ll provide real-world experience to apply what you learned in school.
Pay Attention to the Latest Software and Programming Languages
Data analysts also have to keep up with what’s happening in the programming world. Learning the latest programming languages and how they impact data collection and storage is helpful in a data science career.
Communication and Teamwork
Finally, as with any professional job, business analytics requires good communications skills. These jobs are often a “bridge” between the data people on one side and the business and operations people on the other side of a company, who increasingly must work together. Someone who understands both sides and can work with a broad range of teams will be a valuable asset.
Start Your Journey in Business Analytics Today
The Albers School of Business and Economics at Seattle University offers convenient online courses to help you take the next step in your career. Our Online Master of Science in Business Administration provides the technical training, communications, and leadership skills you need to help organizations understand and benefit from their data. Speak to one of our Admissions Advisors today and find out how it can launch your career.
- Retrieved on May 20, 2021 from techjury.net/blog/how-much-data-is-created-every-day/
- Retrieved on May 20, 2021 from usnews.com/education/learn-business-analytics-guide
- Retrieved on May 20, 2021 from hbr.org/2012/10/data-scientist-the-sexiest-job-of-the-21st-century
- Retrieved on May 20, 2021 from www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-and-information-research-scientists.htm?source=post_page
- Retrieved on May 20, 2021 from forbes.com/sites/insights-intelai/2019/05/22/rethinking-the-role-of-chief-data-officer/?sh=3ebe3dd41bf9
- Retrieved on May 20, 2021 from cio.com/article/3269514/6-business-analyst-certifications-to-advance-your-analytics-career.html