Data Analyst

What is Analytics?

Analytics brings together theory and practice to identify and communicate data-driven insights that allow managers, stakeholders, and other executives in an organization to make more informed decisions. Experienced data analysts consider their work in a larger context, within their organization and in consideration of various external factors. Analysts are also able to account for the competitive environment, internal and external business interests, and the absence of certain data sets in the data-based recommendations that they make to stakeholders.

A Master of Professional Studies in Analytics prepares students for a career as a data analyst by covering the concepts of probability theory, statistical modeling, data visualization, predictive analytics, and risk management in the context of a business environment. In addition, a master’s degree in analytics equips students with the programming languages, database languages, and software programs that are vital to the day-to-day work of a data analyst.

What Does a Data Analyst Do?

Organizations in all industries increasingly rely on data to make critical business decisions—which new products to develop, new markets to enter, new investments to make, and new (or existing) customers to target. They also use data to identify inefficiencies and other business problems that need to be addressed.

In these organizations, the job of the data analyst is to assign a numerical value to these important business functions so performance can be assessed and compared over time. But the job involves more than just looking at numbers: An analyst also needs to know how to use data to enable an organization to make more informed decisions.

These roles are in high demand. IBM has estimated that there will be more than 2.7 million job openings for professionals with data skills by 2020, with nearly 40 percent of jobs in advanced data analytics requiring a master’s degree or higher. Entry-level data analysts receive an average starting annual salary in the $60,000 range; however, success in the role can lead to senior positions with salaries exceeding $135,000.

If the role of a data analyst sounds like a good fit for you, here’s what you need to know.