If you are thinking of getting a data analytics degree then you might be wondering whether or not it will be a good major.
This post will show you whether or not data analytics will be a good major for you and some things that you might want to consider.
So, is data analytics a good major? The amount of data that companies have to deal with is growing each year. This means that the demand for data analysts is currently high and expected to rise so, from an employability perspective, data analytics is a good major.
There are actually a number of things to consider when deciding on whether or not to get a data analytics degree and there are a number of alternatives that you might want to consider as well.
Data analytics degree job prospects
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs for computer and information research scientists, which includes data analysts, is expected to grow 11 percent from 2014 to 2024, which is faster than average.
One main benefit that a data analytics degree has is that you can get a job with just a bachelor’s degree. Many of the alternative degrees will require a masters degree to be competitive.
With that being said, if you want to also get a master’s degree in data analytics then that will also open you up to many more job opportunities.
Types of jobs you can get with a data analytics degree
There are a number of different types of jobs that a data analytics degree will help you qualify for which can include:
- Data analyst
- Data scientist
- Operations analyst
- Data engineer
- Digital marketing
- Quantitative analyst
Many data science jobs will require a master’s degree. However, there are junior data scientist positions that are starting to appear. Additionally, it is not unheard of for people to get a data science job with a bachelor’s if they also have done an internship and a number of data science projects.
Since a data analytics degree will also have you take classes from the computer science department you could also go down the software engineering route if you want to. However, make sure to take a class on data structures and algorithms if they are not required in your major.
Types of things that you will be studying
Data analytics makes use of topics from a variety of different fields. This means that you will be taking classes from many different disciplines as part of your major.
Data analytics degrees make use of math, statistics, computer science, data analytics and data visualization you might also take business classes depending on the specialization and college. You can take a look at the OSU data analytics website to see the classes that they require in their data analytics major to get an idea of the classes that you will be taking.
Something else to consider is that having domain knowledge about a particular field will be very beneficial when seeking a job. So, keep this in mind when choosing your electives. For example, if you want to be a quantitative analyst then taking some finance classes would help a lot as would an internship in that field before graduation.
Alternative degrees to a data analytics degree
If you are thinking of getting a data analytics degree then there are a number of other majors that you might want to consider as well such as:
- Computer science
- Data science
- Business analytics
A data analytics degree will not be easy
As mentioned above data analytics makes use of math, statistics and computer science each of those majors have a high dropout rate. This means that it will not be easy to get a data analytics degree.
How difficult the degree will be for you will depend on how good you are in math and stats. If you took a number of math and statistics classes, in high school, and you did well in them then you will likely do well in a data analytics major.
If you didn’t take many math or stats classes then you will still be able to do well in the major since it will be designed to take you from the very beginning. However, you will likely have to study a lot more than you are probably used to.
What is the difference between data analytics and business analytics majors?
Another degree that you might be considering is a business analytics degree. It is similar to a data analytics degree but there are a number of differences between them.
Data analytics is focused on using big data, statistical techniques and technology to find patterns and opportunities from data. Data analysts will improve the efficiency of how data is processed within an organization and identify new opportunities.
Business analytics uses similar statistical tools. However, it is much more focused on using the data to drive business decisions and to improve business processes.
A business degree will be less math-heavy but more focused on learning techniques to incorporate data with business objectives. As a result, you’ll find yourself taking more classes in business analytics, accounting and economics and only introductory courses from math, stats or computer science. You can look here to see an example of a business analytics bachelor’s degree.
Is data analytics better than business analytics?
Which one will be better for you will be highly dependant on your personality and what you enjoy.
Data analytics jobs will be much more focused on using statistical techniques to find patterns and opportunities from data.
A business analytics job will be more focused on finding ways to improve an organization’s operations and to communicate those findings to higher-ups within the company.
If you enjoy math and stats more than communicating your findings you will probably prefer a data analytics degree. If you enjoy presenting your findings more then you will likely prefer working as a business analyst.
If you do not like math that much then consider getting a business analytics degree instead. You can take a look at an example curriculum for business analytics here.
Is a data analytics degree different to a data science degree?
Another job that is similar to data analytics is data science. The two jobs are similar but they have some key differences.
Both job roles will be focused on gaining insights from data. However, a data scientist will be more focused on developing machine learning models designed to make predictions using the data. Whereas, a data analyst will focus more on visualizing the data and using traditional statistical techniques to find patterns within the data.
I have written more about a data science degree here.