Today’s businesses rely on big data for everything from management to shipping. Professionals interested in taking command of that quantitative intelligence and establishing strategies for long-term growth may find a master’s in business analytics can be the start to building a career. There is demand for experts in data analysis from a wide variety of organizations interested in capitalizing on the strategic awareness made possible by gathering and processing large amounts of information.
If you’re considering pursuing an online master’s in data analytics, you should be aware of the huge range of possible career paths where you can take advantage of the skills and knowledge you’ll develop. New possibilities are opening up for individuals who are trained to use cutting-edge tools in collecting data, interpreting their findings and applying those insights to everyday problems. These are just a few of the avenues available for business-analytics master’s graduates.
Computer and information-systems manager
The tools that leaders and workers use on a daily basis affect every aspect of an organization’s operations. Managers in the field of computer and information systems take charge of technological resources to keep a business running smoothly and plan for future needs. Depending on the precise job title, there may be numerous variations in the duties involved:
- The chief information officer is responsible for organizing the company’s overall use of information technology to further its larger business goals, laying out strategies for growth over time
- A chief technology officer supervises both the use of current technology and the development of new systems and software to meet emerging business needs
- An IT director is in charge of the day-to-day operations of an IT department
- The IT security manager handles data and network security
Whatever their precise job description, computer and information-systems managers all have an integral role to play in setting the agenda for acquiring and applying technology, ensuring employees at every level of the organization have the tools and information they need to do their jobs effectively and efficiently. Their careers are rewarding ones, both because they can clearly see the results of their efforts and because of the average compensation. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these professionals earned a median annual income of $135,800 in 2016.
Advertising and promotions manager
The worlds of big data and advertising are increasingly tied together. A decision-maker in charge of building a brand needs to approach the job with a creative outlook and an awareness of the best practices for deploying an array of programs and collateral materials. However, gathering and assessing quantitative information is just as necessary for finding the most effective means of spreading the word about a business.
To maximize their return on investment, advertising and promotions managers need relevant data and the knowledge to plan their campaigns accordingly. E-commerce analytics, customer surveys and other key sources of information drive choices like where to purchase ads and what audiences to target with online content. Organizations are getting to know their customers better by gaining perspective on their purchasing habits and preferences, so leaders in advertising and promotion must be equipped to put that intelligence to work.
General and operations manager
A general manager has a broad purview, keeping the regular activities of an organization moving forward. These responsibilities may include determining the utilization of personnel and materials, setting policies, and keeping employees on track in their daily output. An operations manager may have a narrower area of concentration, dealing with the production processes of the business, ensuring manufacturing and warehousing run in line with expectations.
In either position, a mastery of data analysis is a major asset. Quantitative reasoning informs smarter decision-making in supervising budgets, handling operational costs and making purchasing decisions. Keeping a company’s facilities functioning at their peak and scaling for future growth is the result of thoughtful planning based on carefully maintained data.
These professionals focus on finding ways to promote efficiency and increase profits for a business or agency, and their skills are in high demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projected positions for management analysts to grow by 14 percent from 2014 through 2024. While many are enlisted from outside a company to offer their recommendations, they may also work in-house, developing their plans over time.
The work of a management analyst centers on identifying and solving the problems that are holding an organization back from achieving its full potential. They accomplish this in part by considering data, such as an organization’s earnings and expenses. However, analysts also take into account qualitative factors, including input from workers and managers and the business culture as a whole.
Therefore, management analysts and consultants must be skilled at collecting and interpreting quantitative information while also remaining thoroughly engaged in the realities of how organizations run. Success in this field depends on being able to draw fresh insights from the numbers and communicate actionable strategies to stakeholders. Every business has its own challenges, and it takes a versatile expert to find the most direct way to capture opportunities for improvement.
Businesses of all kinds have come to embrace the value of collecting, monitoring and analyzing big data for seizing opportunities and solving problems. However, each organization has individualized needs for particular types of data and specific ways of making use of it. Data architecture is the field concerned with creating rules, procedures and models to determine what information IT systems gather and how it is processed.
Architects discover the best means of collecting, storing and managing big data. The mass of information passes through multiple layers based on the models established by the architect, yielding details that are of interest to various departments at different points in the business cycle. With the proper systems and applications in place, data gets to the right stakeholders in a timely, accessible manner.
In addition, a big-data architect performs duties like:
- Combining data from multiple silos to speed routine processes, predict problems or improve the company’s understanding of its customers
- Keeping data systems functioning efficiently
- Optimizing the system architecture to add data sources and meet analytics requests faster
- Adding new systems to established ones
The data architect collaborates with executives and IT professionals alike to build a system that’s precisely tailored to the needs of the company. As the demands evolve, the architecture shifts as well, making this expert a vital part of planning for the future of how a company collects and uses big data.
As consumers have grown accustomed to speedy service from e-commerce websites, businesses have in turn become increasingly reliant on logistics experts to stay competitive. These individuals play an indispensable role in the functioning of a business, considering every step necessary to take a product from the supplier to the purchaser and looking for any chance to streamline the process. This work involves close attention to the demands of customers and also a deep, quantitatively based understanding of how the supply chain functions.
Logisticians must have the analytical skills to coordinate and track the path taken by each shipment, improving the organization’s methods and execution over time. These duties require extensive attention to statistics, databases and spreadsheets. Advanced training in data analysis prepares logistics professionals to pick out problems in the supply chain and find effective solutions, improving the experiences of customers and the bottom line for the company.
These professionals draw on advanced quantitative methods to solve business problems. Collecting, structuring and visualizing data, they bring together a wide range of expertise in fields like statistics and software engineering to establish improved methods for handling data. They may be tasked with many different responsibilities based on the unique needs of the organization, such as:
- Developing efficient methods for data gathering and storage
- Creating algorithms and computer programs to catch meaningful patterns in the information
- Locating anomalies in data that could interfere with analysis and scrubbing them
- Reworking information into a format decision-makers can easily understand and apply to the business strategy
In heavily data-driven organizations, these experts may play a particularly crucial role. For a company that bases its strategic planning on using its huge stores of information for machine learning and predictive analytics, a data scientist can take a leading role in setting and executing the agenda. In these cases, it’s especially vital to couple advanced abilities in science and mathematics with a strong awareness of the real-world business applications for these principles.
Preparing for a career powered by data
Big data has become the cornerstone of how many businesses track the needs of their customers while planning for long-term expansion. Earning an online master’s degree in data analytics from Villanova University may be the first step in seizing this chance to take a leadership role. Visit the program page to find out how an education in applying big data to everyday business questions can prepare you to move forward in your career.