Why Earning a Data Analytics Degree is a Great Career Move

Data analytics and program evaluation continue to be in-demand career paths
Why Earning a Data Analytics Degree is a Great Career Move

With the growing digitization of many industries, the increasing availability of large amounts of data, and ongoing advancements in technology, data analytics and program evaluation continue to be highly in-demand career paths. This has created a significant need for a skilled professional with a data analytics degree who can effectively manage, analyze, and provide insights from large, complex datasets.

With a data analytics degree, you can pursue job opportunities in many industries that rely heavily on data analysis and interpretation. Careers in data analytics include data scientist, data engineer, data analyst, data architect, and business intelligence analyst. These roles typically offer competitive salaries, considerable responsibility, as well as opportunities for advancement.

The field of data analytics is constantly evolving with advancements in technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and cloud computing. With a data analytics degree, you will stay up to date with these technologies and acquire relevant skills, opening new and exciting career opportunities. Big data professionals make a significant impact in the world by leveraging data to drive innovation, solve complex problems, and improve decision-making processes.

Key Takeaways

  • With a data analytics degree, you learn the process of extracting meaningful insights from large and complex sets of data. It involves using statistical techniques, data mining, and machine learning to identify patterns, trends, and relationships within the data.
  • Program evaluation involves assessing the design, implementation, and outcomes of programs or interventions, with the goal of determining whether a program is achieving its intended outcomes, and if not, how it can improve. This can involve collection and analysis of both quantitative and qualitative data, as well as the use of evaluation models and frameworks.
  • In a data analytics degree program, students learn how to apply these techniques to real-world situations, with a particular focus on evaluating programs. Graduates of an analytics degree program can pursue a variety of careers, including data analysts, program evaluators, research analysts, or data scientists. These jobs can be found in government agencies, non-profit organizations, consulting firms, or research institutions.
  • On a day-to-day basis, graduates with a data analytics major may be involved in everything from evaluating social programs, educational interventions and healthcare initiatives to making and presenting public policy recommendations.
  • Data analytics positions are in high demand because data drives every good decision, from government research to customer satisfaction. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be a 36% projected growth rate in demand for data scientists between 2021 and 2031.

What Can I Do with a Data Analyst Degree?

Completing a data analytics degree can be the key to unlocking a rewarding career in one of the market’s leading fields. From statistician to database administrator, there are many career paths graduates can take when they complete a data analyst degree.

Whether you envision your future as part of a large international team or a small local firm, every industry relies on data to measure success and identify where, when, and how to improve. Data analytics professionals are behind the scenes, making sure a business has the information it needs to thrive.

When you study for a data analyst degree, you’ll learn to spot new patterns, monitor current trends, and communicate the meaning of data. You may find yourself working as a data scientist, business analyst, or machine learning engineer. Salaries are competitive and the job market across Big Data is growing at a rapid pace.

While entry-level positions may only require a bachelor’s degree in data analytics, many companies look for candidates with a master’s degree in data analytics for higher-level and higher-paying positions.

In general, higher-level degrees tend to come with bigger salaries. In the US, employees across all occupations with a master’s degree earn a median weekly salary of $1,497 compared with $1,248 for those with a bachelor’s degree, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The difference translates into $12,948 more each year.

As just one example, the median annual wage for data scientists was $100,910 in May 2021, according to the BLS. In addition, the field is expected to continue growing.

Employment of data scientists is projected to grow 36 percent from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations. About 13,500 openings for data scientists are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

With data analyst schooling, you can pursue job opportunities in any industry that relies heavily on analysis and interpretation. And you do not need a math or data background to get started.

"You do not have to come into the program with a background in data analytics or statistics," said Dr. Soyeon Ahn, Program Director for the University of Miami’s UOnline Master of Science in Data Analytics and Program Evaluation (MS-DAPE) Program.

"This is geared toward people in the social sciences, education, business, the corporate world, anyone who is interested in working with data, analyzing data, and making policy decisions based on data. And those positions are needed in the for-profit, non-profit, government or higher education sectors."

The field of data analytics is continually evolving, and new roles and opportunities are emerging as organizations recognize the value of data-driven decision making for those who pursue data analyst degrees.

Despite the increasing demand, there is a shortage of skilled professionals who can effectively work with big data. This scarcity has created a favorable job market for individuals with the right expertise and experience – and a data analytics degree.

To remain competitive in this job market, it is essential to stay updated on industry trends and emerging technologies. Having more than a bachelor’s degree in data analytics can help you do that.

A few examples of the many career opportunities available to graduates of a master of data analytics degree program include:

  • Data Analyst: Data analysts are responsible for collecting and analyzing large sets of data to derive meaningful insights and support decision-making processes.
  • Data Scientist: Data scientists work on complex problems by applying advanced statistical and machine-learning techniques. They develop models, algorithms, and predictive analytics to extract insights and build data-driven solutions.
  • Business Intelligence Analyst: This position works closely with various stakeholders to design and develop reports, dashboards, and visualizations, with the goal of providing insights to support strategic decision-making.
  • Data Engineer: Data engineers focus on designing, constructing, and maintaining the infrastructure required for data storage, processing, and retrieval. They ensure data pipelines are efficient, scalable, and secure.
  • Data Architect: Data architects design the overall structure and framework of data systems. They define data models, schemas, and standards to ensure data integrity and enable efficient data storage and retrieval.
  • Analytics Consultant: Analytics consultants work with clients from various industries to identify their data analysis needs and provide customized solutions. The key areas of responsibility include designing analytical approaches and communicating insights effectively.
  • Market Research Analyst: Market research analysts collect and analyze market data to identify consumer trends, evaluate market potential, and assess the competitiveness of products or services. They also provide information and recommendations to leadership to support marketing strategies and product development.
  • Risk Analyst: Risk analysts evaluate and mitigate potential risks for organizations. They use data analysis techniques to assess financial, operational, or cybersecurity risks and develop risk management strategies.
  • Data Privacy Analyst: With the increasing emphasis on data privacy and regulations, data privacy analysts ensure organizations comply with relevant data protection laws. They assess privacy risks, implement safeguards, and provide guidance on data privacy policies and procedures.
  • Healthcare Analyst: In the healthcare sector, data analytics plays a crucial role in improving patient outcomes, optimizing operations, and managing costs. Healthcare analysts use data to identify trends, evaluate treatment effectiveness, and support healthcare decision-making.

Should I pursue an online degree in data analytics?

An online degree in data analytics allows for work flexibility so you can design the life you want. In today’s world, you’ll find many in-person, remote, and hybrid positions that require a master’s degree in data analytics. Choosing to earn your master’s degree in analytics online means you can enjoy learning from anywhere on your own time.

With UOnline’s master’s degree in data analytics and program evaluation, students will learn how to correctly collect, analyze, and interpret big data, in addition to mastery of many advanced programming languages such as R and Python.

"Our program emphasizes the hands-on, practical application of theoretical and technical concepts in quantitative and computational methods," said Dr. Ahn, program director of the UOnline master’s degree in data analytics and program evaluation program. "Our goal is to support students to become smart users of these methods and generate responsible, data-driven decisions that help us collectively solve real-world challenges in society."

"Upon completion of this program, students will be capable of running different models using multiple data analytic tools," she added.

The online degree in data analytics program offers coursework that allows students to develop a mastery of analytics software, as well as the needed leadership skills for top positions, all available fully online.

Students in the master’s in data analytics program will learn a range of skills, including:

  • Data collection and management: techniques for collecting, cleaning, and organizing data from various sources.
  • Data analysis: skills in statistical analysis, data mining, and machine learning to extract insights and patterns from data.
  • Program evaluation methods: evaluation approaches and methodologies, including experimental and quasi-experimental designs, surveys, interviews, focus groups, and case studies.
  • Data visualization: how to effectively communicate data and analysis results through visualizations and dashboards.
  • Programming and software tools: programming languages like R or Python, as well as popular data analytics and visualization tools.
  • Ethical and legal considerations: the many ethical and legal implications of data analytics and program evaluation, including issues related to privacy, confidentiality, and data security.

The data analytics degree program also offers online graduate certificates that deepen the master's curriculum, so students keep up with best practices and today's workforce demands, and graduate with a competitive edge in the job market.

UOnline’s Certificate in Data Management and Statistical Analysis provides students with the data analysis skills required for a successful data analytics career in any industry, especially in the social, behavioral, or health science sectors. The coursework prepares students for further education data analysts need or it can equip them with the skills necessary to apply data analytics to decision-making in their workplace.

Students will master advanced quantitative and computational concepts in addition to database management for programming languages like R, Python, SPSS, and SAS. With no prior technical experience necessary, the UOnline data analytics certificate program is ideal for those seeking a way to gain this practical knowledge in a comprehensive online format.

There are many advantages to an online master’s program in data analytics.

Flexibility: The online data analytics degree program provides the flexibility you need to allow you to better manage your personal life, career, and education. It’s a short, four-course program that can easily fit into your schedule. Commute time is not only non-existent, you can set your own pace and use the seven weeks allotted to complete each course. This flexibility allows you to set aside the time you need to review the coursework, study, and complete assignments.

Online Tools: Pursuing an online degree in data analytics requires a comprehensive and innovative platform that encourages learning and engagement. The UOnline virtual platform is easy to navigate and supports faculty, staff, and students. You can access course materials online at anytime, anywhere. Each instructor designs their courses to complement their hands-on instruction. Many also use Zoom to host virtual office hours, meetings, and/or guest speakers. Students can keep track of their grades using the platform's grade center. This provides an overview of your current standing so you know what areas you need to improve on and where your strengths shine.

"We encourage students to create their own network of peers across their cohort to share information and opportunities with each other," said Dr. Nam Kim, assistant professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning. "The student and faculty relationships are very strong as well. We build up a rapport with our students. Every week, I have synchronized office hours with question and answer sessions, as well as personal meetings."

"We spend as much time individually as we need to with our students," he added. "We are here, and we are available to help ensure you are successful."

For up-to-date salary estimates, run a search for your desired position on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website.