A Look at Data Analytics as a Career

Take all our usual online activity ­such as web browsing, Google searches, and e-commerce purchases; add to it our mobile online activity and data from the Internet of Things (IoT). The grand total of data generated is approximately 2.5 quintillion bytes every day. Over the last couple of years alone, this activity has generated roughly 90 percent of the data in existence.

These numbers should give you a feel for the enormousness of "big data." An online Master of Business Administration in data analytics degree equips candidates with the skills required for quantitative problem solving within business operations.

Data Analytics Professionals Needed

Data, by itself, is worth little. It is only in the hands of skilled analysts that data becomes valuable. Considering the pace of big data growth, even a cursory glance at data-creation statistics reveals a shortage of qualified data analysts.

In 2016, for example, IBM and Oracle alone had 26,000 open positions for professionals with big data expertise. A typical advertised salary in the field is $124,000 per year. Mashable reports a salary range of $90,000 to $180,000 for data engineers and data scientists.

Where the Jobs Are

Firms of almost any size and in any location need data analytics professionals, but the highest demand is in areas with the greatest concentrations of high-tech. The following are the top 10 employment markets:

  • California's Silicon Valley.
  • San Francisco, Oakland, and Fremont, California.
  • New York, Northern New Jersey, and Long Island.
  • Washington D.C., Arlington, and Alexandria, Virginia.
  • Seattle, Tacoma, and Bellevue, Washington.
  • Boston, Cambridge, and Quincy, Massachusetts.
  • Chicago, Joliet, and Naperville, Illinois.
  • Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Santa Ana, California.
  • Atlanta, Sandy Springs, and Marietta, Georgia.
  • Dallas, Fort Worth, and Arlington, Texas.

Turning Big Data Into Good Decisions

Businesses can gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace by making more informed business decisions through effective analysis of available (big) data.

Data impacts a variety of business areas, creating a myriad of specialization choices for data analytics MBAs.

Unmet needs. Finding and filling an unmet need is a tried-and-true recipe for business success, and today's savvy companies are turning to data analytics to identify unmet needs. Analyzing product reviews, surveys, focus groups and resources like Google Trends can help companies generate ideas for new products and services.

Demand forecasting. Being able to accurately plan for tomorrow is crucial for long-term success. Data analytics professionals look at historical data and current data from test markets to predict demand in the coming months and years.

Pricing analysis. Understanding price sensitivity in any market is critical. Price too high, and you lose sales. Price too low, and not only do you lose net profit, you could also create a level of demand that outstrips your company's production capacity.

Sales. Selling data analysis tools or services is an area with high earning potential. If you have the technical and business knowledge gained through an MBA in data analytics along with experience and skills in sales, you might be an ideal candidate for these specialized sales roles. New firms offering professional services in data analytics and companies developing data analysis tools -- such as cloud-based software as a service — are growing at extraordinary rates. Successful sales professionals will be well compensated.

The Future for Data Analysis Professionals

Some technological developments make a dramatic entrance but quickly fade. However, professionals considering an online MBA in data analytics can be certain of a growing demand for their services in the coming years.

For example, much of the power and value of the IoT is in the data it creates, and despite the great amount of attention it's getting today, the IoT is really still in its infancy. According to McKinsey, in 2015 the total IoT market (hardware, software and solutions) was $900 million. By 2020 — just five years later — the same market will grow to $3.7 billion, with market revenue expected to exceed $470 billion. The surging demand for data analysis professionals reflects the tremendous growth rate these projections illustrate.

It is likely, therefore, that today's shortage of MBAs with data analysis skills will continue for the foreseeable future.

Learn more about the University of Southern Indiana's MBA – Data Analytics Online.


IBM: What is big data?

Forbes: Where Big Data Jobs Will Be in 2016

Forbes: Roundup of Internet of Things Forecasts and Market Estimates, 2016

Mashable: Big Data — Career Opportunities Abound in Tech's Hottest Field

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