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 social media engagement, app use, other mobile online activity, videoconferencing and data from the Internet of Things (IoT). The grand total of data generated is approximately 3.5 quintillion bytes per day, with annual data creation projections reaching 120 zettabytes in 2023 and 181 zettabytes in 2025.

For comparison, roughly two zettabytes of data were created globally in 2010, meaning data creation has grown 60-fold in the last 13 years. With the widespread shift to online, digital life spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, data creation has nearly doubled in the last three years alone.

These numbers should give you a feel for the enormousness of “big data.” An online Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Data Analytics from the University of Southern Indiana (USI) equips candidates with the skills required for quantitative problem-solving and data-driven decision-making 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.

For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment of data scientists will grow 36% between 2021 and 2031, with roughly 13,500 job openings each year, making data science one of the fastest growing occupations in the country. According to ZipRecruiter, the average salary in the data analytics field is $111,015 per year, as of August 2023.

Where the High-Paying Jobs Are

Firms of almost any size and in any location need data analytics professionals, but the highest pay logically tends to be found in areas with the greatest concentrations of high-tech. According to BLS data, the following are the top 10 paying markets for data scientists with the mean 2022 wage for each area:

  • San Jose — Sunnyvale — Santa Clara, CA: $233,320
  • San Francisco — Oakland — Hayward, CA: $152,080
  • Olympia — Tumwater, WA: $147,280
  • Seattle — Tacoma — Bellevue, WA: $142,810
  • Boulder, CO: $141,740
  • New York — Newark — Jersey City, NY/NJ/PA: $136,040
  • Trenton, NJ: $134,670
  • Spokane — Spokane Valley, WA: $132,120
  • Santa Maria — Santa Barbara, CA: $128,880
  • Charlotte — Concord — Gastonia, NC/SC: $128,810

While top-paying markets are clearly the most lucrative for data science professionals, the savvy jobseeker will look deeper into the numbers. For instance, data science professionals in Charlotte, NC make nearly as much annually as those in Santa Barbara, CA. But Charlotte can be substantially less expensive to live in. According to Redfin, the median home sale price in Charlotte for June 2023 was $425,000. Comparatively, the median sale price in Santa Barbara was $1,910,000. Given this, pay for MBA in Data Analytics graduates could go much farther in parts of the country with a lower cost-of-living.

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. The following are just a few business processes that data analytics can revolutionize:

  • 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 still in its infancy. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), worldwide spending on IoT will reach roughly $805.7 billion in 2023 and will likely surpass $1 trillion in 2026. 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 online MBA in Data Analytics program.

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