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What’s Your Best Business Analytics Career Path?

May 24, 2023
Businessman walking up steps with date analytics graphics surrounding him.

Demand for business analysts has grown apace with the explosive growth in the amount of data available to organizations in every field and of every size. Skilled business analysts use sophisticated data management and analysis techniques to help companies across industries find competitive advantage through operational efficiencies and market opportunities.

If you enjoy statistics, mathematics, problem-solving, and communication, becoming a business analytics professional can be a brilliant career choice. Read on for a survey of four top business analytics careers, including information on career preparation, job duties, salaries, career outlook, and job satisfaction.

What is Business Analytics?

Simply put, business analytics focuses on solving business challenges and predicting future events based on historical data. Closely related to business intelligence, analytics moves past the reporting and analysis of past events (descriptive analytics) into the realm of prediction (predictive analytics) and recommendation (prescriptive analytics). Both business analytics and business intelligence depend on a well-developed data infrastructure and tech stack for the storage and analysis of data.

Business Analytics Is Central to Modern Business

Data-forward organizations are now leveraging data insights in all business areas, from marketing and sales to staffing and human resources, product development, risk management, and more.

Data Use Is Increasing Dramatically

The global amount of data has snowballed in recent years, nearly doubling from 2020 to 2023. Statista estimated that 120 zettabytes of data will be available in 2023. That number will climb to more than 190 zettabytes by 2025. A zettabyte is equal to one trillion gigabytes.1

Nathan Colaner, director of the MS in Business Analytics program at Seattle University Albers School of Business and Economics, recently pointed out that the amount of information needed to generate data-driven insight into business problems only recently became available, and “It’s a scramble to find and train people who have that skill set.”

Business Analytics Career Outlook

That translates to a bright outlook for data science jobs and business analytics careers, as you’ll see when you compare the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predictions for growth in these roles to the overall job growth rate of 0.5% per year.2

Role Job Outlook 2021- 20312021 Median Pay
Data Scientist36% $100,810 / year3
Statistician 31%$95,570 /year4
Operations Research Analyst23%$82,360 / year5
Market Research Analyst19%$63,920 / year6

Each of these roles relies on a similar set of knowledge, skills, and abilities, with the primary differences in how the skillsets are applied and the additional specialized knowledge required for individual sectors.

Where to Find the Highest-Paying Business Analytics Jobs

Generally speaking, the organizations that offer data scientists and statisticians the best salaries are in research and development and in industries like computing, insurance, and generalized business management.7,8,

The federal government offers some of the best wages for statisticians and operations research analysts. Operations research analysts are also well-compensated in scientific and technical areas, as well as in manufacturing. Market research analysts find good salaries in general management roles, finance, insurance, and publishing.8,9,10

What Companies Hire Business Analytics Professionals?

Professionals with well-developed core skillsets can find work in almost any arena, and there is mobility between roles and fields. The BLS “Work Environment” web pages for these roles repeatedly list:

  • Management of companies and enterprises
  • Finance and insurance
  • Management, scientific, and technical consulting services

Government agencies at all levels, computer systems design and related services, higher education, and research and development organizations also appear in the lists.11,12,13,14

Core Skills for Business Analytics Success

Analytical Skills

The ability to evaluate large amounts of data, typically using mathematical models and data mining techniques, and interpret the results is of paramount importance for all these roles.

Communication Skills

The ability to clearly convey information to both technical and non-technical audiences, and to clearly understand what is being communicated to you, is also vitally important. Interpersonal skills are included in this, as being central to successful teamwork.

Problem-Solving and Critical Thinking Skills

To be successful in these roles,, you need to think critically about the situations you’re addressing. In addition to developing problem solutions, you may also have to overcome challenges in processing and managing the data.

Math and Statistical Skills

These roles all depend to some degree on math skills, which can include statistics, calculus and linear algebra.

Overview of Data Analytics Jobs

Whether you’re looking at business analytics jobs, business intelligence jobs, or more generalized data analytics jobs, they can all be abstracted into four essential functions. They include:

  • Research design
  • Data collection and processing
  • Analysis
  • Communication

The differences between the roles lie in the degrees of autonomy, complexity and responsibility and depend on your seniority, industry, and specific job title. For example, market research analysts can frequently use readily available data and software to perform their jobs. In contrast, data scientists are called on to develop algorithms and models to classify and analyze data for their work.

Entering the term “business analytics” into any of the major job search engines will give you a wide range of industries and functional business units where you can work. You can also learn more about specific job duties and requirements for your chosen path, whether it’s marketing, HR, digital systems, finance, product development, or operations.

What Are the Best Business Analytics Jobs?

All job categories featured here rank highly on the U.S. News & World Report rating system, which considers upward mobility, stress level, and flexibility in when and where the work is performed. The best business analytics job for you will offer the right combination of these factors and the opportunity to work in an area that is meaningful to you.

Market Research Analyst is ranked #3 in Best Business Jobs, with high upward mobility, above-average stress, and average flexibility.15

Operations Research Analyst ranks #9 in Best Business Jobs, with above-average upward mobility, above-average stress, and average flexibility.16

Statistician ranks #10 in Best Business Jobs, with above-average upward mobility, below-average stress, and above-average flexibility.17

Data Scientist is ranked #6 in Best Technology Jobs, with high upward mobility, average stress, and above-average flexibility.18

How to Prepare for a Your Business Analytics Career

Education, experience and networking are the keys to unlocking your success in business analytics. This Albers blog offers some career preparation advice. It also lists some job titles and associations that you can investigate for networking and certifications.

Your education should include mathematics, statistics, computer science, and business in varying concentrations, depending on your specific career goals. The list of subjects in which you should have proficiency in also includes IT systems, data processing and visualization.

Tech Target, the data-driven marketing company, suggests that business analytics recruiters often look for the ability to perform cost-benefit analyses and an understanding of stakeholder analysis in addition to previously discussed abilities.19

While a bachelor’s degree can be sufficient for landing an entry-level position, many roles require a master’s degree for consideration. The Albers online MS in Business Analytics faculty thoughtfully designed our curriculum to help you master the technical, business, and communication skills you need to thrive in analytics leadership roles.

Courses in the online MSBA are built around data translation challenges to give you practical experience and to help you develop your ethical business framework. Our AACSB-accredited program combines online convenience with educational rigor and a powerfully connected alumni network for career-long support. Schedule a call with an admissions outreach advisor or request a brochure to learn more.

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  2. Retrieved on May 19, 2023, from bls.gov/news.release/ecopro.nr0.htm
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  4. Retrieved on May 19, 2023, from bls.gov/ooh/math/mathematicians-and-statisticians.htm#tab-1
  5. Retrieved on May 19, 2023, from bls.gov/ooh/math/operations-research-analysts.htm
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  14. Retrieved on May 19, 2023, from bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/market-research-analysts.htm#tab-3
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  16. Retrieved on May 19, 2023, from money.usnews.com/careers/best-jobs/operations-research-analyst
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  18. Retrieved on May 19, 2023, from money.usnews.com/careers/best-jobs/data-scientist
  19. Retrieved on May 19, 2023, from techtarget.com/searchbusinessanalytics/definition/business-analytics-BA