Online Master’s in Data Analytics – Guide to Choosing a Program
By Kat Campise, Data Scientist, Ph.D.
An online master’s in data analytics is a graduate degree program with a strong mathematical and programming focus. This degree is geared towards students with a strong STEM background who have a goal of working as a professional data analyst.
In This Guide
- Step 1 – Choose Focus Industry
- Step 2 – Determine Timeline
- Step 3 – Review Curriculum
- Step 4 – Consider Cost
- Step 5 – Determine Admission Criteria
- Step 6 – Review Schools
When it comes to the projected job growth for data analysts, the focus tends to center on the data science side of analytics. The difference between data scientists and data analysts has been covered here. That being stated, the purpose here is to guide you through considering whether an online Master’s in Data Analytics might be a better fit for your career objectives.
If you enjoy working with data to analyze trends via business intelligence (BI) or other analytical software programs — but you aren’t interested in building machine learning models — then data analytics is likely the career path for you. As the field evolves, the aforementioned building of machine learning models may become a requirement of certain data analytics jobs. But, as of now, that domain is still relegated to the field of data science and machine learning engineers.
For data analyst jobs you’ll still need a solid background in both math and, more specifically, statistics. While there are plenty of statistical analysis and BI programs on the market (e.g., SPSS, SAS, Tableau, Microsoft Power BI, etc.), you should understand the what, why, and how of the underlying statistical algorithms used for analysis. Indeed, the more skill you have in math and statistics, the more likely you’ll be viewed as a prime candidate by employers. Eventually, this may lead you to secure a job as a data scientist — if that is your goal.
The job outlook metrics for data analysts is frequently lumped in with data scientists and data engineers. However, the growth in the demand for analysts, regardless of the actual job title, is staggering. According to a 2019 report completed through a partnership between IBM, Burning Glass Technologies, and the Business Higher Education Forum (BHEF), the number of jobs for “data and analytics talent in the United States will increase by 364,000 openings, to 2,720,000” by the end of 2021. The finance, insurance, and IT industries are driving this demand.
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|School Name||Level||Program||More Info|
|Concordia University, St. Paul||Master||Master of Science in Data Analytics||Website|
|Georgetown University||Master||Master of Science in Business Analytics||Website|
|Johns Hopkins||Master||Online MS in Data Analytics and Policy||Website|
|George Mason University||Master||Online MS in Data Analytics Engineering||Website|
|Utica College||Master||Online MS in Data Science||Website|
|Drake University||Master||Online Master of Data Analytics||Website|
|Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota||Master||100% online M.S. in Business Intelligence and Data Analytics||Website|
|Northern Illinois University||Master||Online Master of Science in Data Analytics||Website|