How to Become a Data Analytics Manager – A Complete Career Guide
Data analytics managers lead data science teams on a grander scale than a variety of other big data careers.
Roles in data analytics management for qualified candidates can be thought of as a luxury positions, as not all businesses and organizations have a large enough data team to require a specific managerial position outside the confines of the other data science jobs. For larger organizations that have a substantial team of data professionals, though, a data analytics manager can be key to designing well run systems and structures as well as teams and outcomes.
These advanced management positions not only possess data science technical skills, but also leadership and project management experience, associated job qualifications, and as needed the required or preferred academic background. They manage a variety of positions including but not limited to data engineers, data scientists, and data analysts and will often be promoted into their role. They also often serve as the spokesperson for the department, which can require the same level of polished verbal and communication skills that make for a successful manager generally speaking and data scientist specifically, with the need for data scientists to communicate data sets often in a guiding capacity. In some businesses and organizations, the data team may even be run by a C-level executive role, often known as the chief data officer.
What is a Data Analytics Manager?
Data science teams often comprise many different specialists:
- Data scientists
- Data architects
- Data engineers
- Data analysts
- Business analysts
- Database administrators
To keep projects running smoothly, the data analytics manager harnesses all of this talent and steers the direction of the team while cultivating the collective skillset. The data analytics manager liaises with members of the team to ensure that each person has a strong sense of purpose within the project, and then translates conclusions and recommendations to other stakeholders in the company.
The data analytics manager thus must have a firm understanding of the role of each of these different job titles, and an ability to negotiate between different parties with diplomacy.
What Does a Data Analytics Manager Do?
The data analytics manager coordinates the different tasks that must be completed by their team for a big data project. Tasks may include:
- Researching and creating effective methods to collect data
- Analyzing information
- Recommending solutions to a business
The data analytics manager motivates the data specialists to complete projects efficiently.
Data analytics managers communicate with managers in different departments in a company in order to strategize and align goals. They must also manage project forecasts and schedules for future developments, and implement technological improvements of a company’s databases.
Six Steps to Launching a Successful Data Analytics Manager Career
Step 1: Earn your Undergraduate Degree
Relevant bachelor’s degrees that lay a foundation for careers in data analytics management include statistics, computer science, information systems, and business administration, and other associated programs. To be positioned for success, you’ll need to build a provable and applicably firm grasp of data structures, database design, data mining, distributed architecture, security applications, and applied systems analysis.
Going through a data analytics bootcamp (such as ones offered by elite schools like Northwestern University) can be a quicker, more cost-effective option. Northwestern’s boot camp, for instance, can be completed in just 24 weeks, as opposed to the years required to attain an undergraduate degree. Obviously, though, this comes with a trade-off in the time and depth of exposure offered by a fully undergraduate program.
Additionally, as this role is a senior position, it often will require an advanced degree as well as a set number of years of supervisory experience to become fully qualified for promotion to this level of leadership. It’s worth starting with an academic and professional plan of action and building toward this lucrative goal with nearly guaranteed job prospects over the next few decades. Progressing within this plan brings us to step two.
Step 2: Gain Work Experience with Data Analytics
The data analytics manager is a senior administrative position, and thus you must first have several years of work experience in this field.
Look for a position as a database developer or data analyst with a focus on building qualifications and being able to report accomplishments on your resume or in your portfolio of work. These are not necessarily entry-level roles, however, so you may need prior internship experience or a college job as an IT assistant.
As you progress toward becoming a data analytics manager, look for projects in which you:
- Manage databases
- Analyze data, or
- Design the databases themselves
Step 3: Obtain Professional Certifications
Professional certifications are very important for the role of data analytics manager. These certifications demonstrate that you are committed to developing your skills and that you are up to date with current technologies. Good options include the Microsoft Certified Professional or the Certified Analytics Professional via the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences, both of which you achieve through qualifying exams. Some roles also require certifications in the specific software used by a company such as SAS/SQL certified practitioner qualifications.
Step 4: Get Promoted to Be a Data Manager
After you have work experience as a data analyst or database developer, you can apply for jobs as a data manager. This role requires database design skills and 1-5 years of experience in the field and consideration for hiring will often just highly weigh or value the academic qualifications on a candidate’s resume, which is why step five is an essential component in pursuing long range data analytics management career goals.
Step 5: Pursue an Advanced Degree
Master’s degrees are a preferred if not required qualification in high-level management positions. Since the role of the data analytics manager has as much to do with team leadership and project management, a master’s of business administration is generally the best option, though master’s degrees in mathematics, statistics, or computer science are also beneficial and frequently applicable to data analytics management job descriptions. For example, one of the most standard degrees held by candidates who have advanced to this role would be an MBA program concentrated on information systems. If you are interested in a particular industry or specialization, you can also consider a master’s in that field or concentration.
Step 6: Become a Data Analytics Manager
After you have built up significant work experience, completed professional certifications, and earned an advanced degree, you can look for roles as a data analytics manager. Though these postings often list a higher preferred range of qualifications, education, and/or experience, the return on investment in salary, job security, job projections, and industry impact equally outrank similar industry positions and standings.
Data Analytics Manager Job Description
- Identify and address client needs; develop client relationships
- Manage teams of data specialists and produce project deliverables
- Analyze purchase trends and customer data to gain business insights
- Develop strategies to solve problems in logical yet creative ways
- Create custom reports and presentations accompanied by strong data visualization and storytelling
- Present analytical conclusions to senior officials in a company and other stakeholders
Skills Needed to become a Data Analytics Manager
Unlike most of the other roles in the data science team, exceptional business and interpersonal skills are of equal importance to technical skills, if not more so. However, all of these are fundamental for overall success in this role and specialization, as the data analytics manager must be able to translate between the technical side of data analytics and the business side. The manager’s role often includes presenting technical information to non-technical colleagues in an understandable and actionable way.
- Superior communication and interpersonal skills
- Ability to meet deadlines and manage project delivery
- Excellent report-writing and presentation skills
- Critical thinking and problem-solving capabilities
- Proficiency with the programming languages of R, SAS, Python, MATLAB, and Java
- Database systems of SQL and NoSQL
- Data analytics and data visualization tools, such as Tableau, QlikView, and D3
- Operating systems, especially UNIX/LINUX
- Machine learning
- Big data tools, such as Hadoop, Hive, and Apache Cassandra and Spark
- Understanding of cloud platforms, such as Microsoft Azure, IBM, and Google
- Data mining and data cleansing techniques
- Data modeling and data architecture
Data Analytics Manager Salary
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn’t track the average base pay for data analytics managers specifically, but they do provide informative salary information for computer and information systems managers — a broader yet similar role within a corporate structure.
According to the BLS’s May 2021 employment survey, computer and information systems managers have a median annual salary of $159,010. However, the lowest 10% of earners in this role typically earn closer to $95,220 while the top 10% sometimes make $208,000 and up.
While that may seem like quite a large range, it’s indicative of just how many industries data analytics managers and their computer systems colleagues can work in. Like with any industry, a data analytics manager’s potential salary range is highly dependent on location, industry, and the size of the team they manage.
Higher earnings are associated both with experience and skills in SAS, R, big data analytics, as well as business analysis. This is a role that many people often stay in for several years before advancing to roles such as senior manager or director of analytics, vice president of analytics, or Chief Technical Officer.
Data Analytics Manager Job Outlook
The BLS projects a breakneck growth of 36% in data scientist employment through 2031. That means at least another 40,500 data science job openings over the next decade. Some of those professionals will become managers. The rest will require data analytics managers to lead them.
Businesses recognize both the importance and the rarity of skills that a good data analytics manager provides in improving their company’s efficiency and cost control. Many people are able to excel at either the technical aspect of the job, or at the communications side, but data analytics managers must straddle both worlds with ease. Therefore, they are highly sought-after individuals in the big data revolution.
It’s important to note that some companies prefer promoting their data analytics managers from within, beginning with entry-level positions all the way up to management. These same companies also often support or provide learning opportunities and career advancement through earning your degree. For both of these reasons, candidates who consider building with consistency and investment as they plan their career, are those who find themselves best positioned for long-term success.
Gain the skills and necessary degree to pursue your career as a data analytics manager. Explore Data Analytics and Visualization Degree Programs or data science program degree level options and take the next step in your journey. Your future as a data analytics manager awaits you!
2021 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary and employment figures for data analytics managers and computer and information systems managers reflect national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed January 2023.