A Step in the Right Direction: Data Analysis for Decision-Making

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Pursuing a master’s degree in business analytics is a major step that can lead to a high-demand, high-paying career as a business analyst or data analyst. Ohio University’s Online Master of Business Analytics degree offers students an opportunity to learn about the complex world of data analytics. This master’s degree program can open the door to become a business analyst, data analyst, financial analyst or assume a similar position that requires an understanding of data analysis for decision-making.

Consider this brief definition of data analytics: the processing and analysis of historical data over a specific period of time. That sounds simple enough. However, data analytics is actually a complicated process businesses rely on for decision-making that can directly affect business operations and revenue. Analyzing data is the process of retrieving original data using specialized computer systems and applications. This original data is transformed into different formats or classifications of meaningful information that supports decision-making.

The data tells a company’s story in different formats, providing analysts and key decision-makers with valuable information about an organization’s operations and performance. The transformed data can help retail stores identify and analyze the consumer buying behavior and trends to determine, for example, how many products should be purchased or stocked on shelves, or how many employees should work on certain days. With specific data about the costs to manufacture products, or the amount of time to develop a software fix, the transformed data can also help companies create internal processes to boost productivity and profits. In essence, data analyst harnesses technology and data analytics to help companies make more informed and strategic decisions.

Skills Needed to Be a Data Analyst

The road to becoming a data analyst usually begins with completing a bachelor’s degree in math, statistics, computer science, or a related subject. This type of academic background gives students a strong foundation upon which to build their understanding of data and business analytics. They’ll need this foundation for the next phase of their academic journey: a master of business analytics degree.

Earning an Online Master of Business Analytics degree prepares students for the broad responsibilities of an analyst position. Students learn advanced analytical skills and are exposed to innovative analytics tools they can use for processing data. The Online Master of Business Analytics degree offers real-world learning experiences. For example, students learn to use data dashboards. This tool enables companies to visually track, analyze and view key performance indicators, metrics, and key data points to monitor the status of a business, department, or specific process.

Whether a professional is just getting started or already has some experience, they will need to develop and hone their business leadership skills. A versatile MBAn program builds on and further develops the foundational leadership skills newer professionals already possess. Yet it also offers a chance for experienced professionals to immerse themselves in advanced leadership principles and demonstrate a deeper understanding of their connection to business analytics, a marketable skill for those who are looking to advance beyond middle management.

Data and business analysts who have deep technical knowledge of different programming languages—such as SQL, Oracle and Python applications, as well as analytics tools—are armed with skills that can be applied across the business landscape. Most data analysts possess a high level of mathematical ability, analytical and problem-solving skills, and the capacity to analyze and interpret complex data. The combination of technical knowledge and relevant soft skills allows a data analyst to process, interpret, and analyze data and apply problem-solving skills to support decision-making.

Graduates of the Online Master of Business Analytics degree can effectively prepare for real-world business challenges, with technical knowledge, management skills, and the ability to make data-driven decisions for business and industry. Data analysts with advanced preparation in how to extract and interpret today’s data will likely be in high demand in today’s job market.

Telling the Story with Data

A data analyst tells a company’s story in a unique way: with data models and databases that help companies identify business trends and highlight complex organizational challenges. Organizations rely on data analysts to provide relevant and accurate information to make informed business decisions and address business challenges. Analysts often filter through vast amounts of data and translate it into information that can be used to answer questions, improve operations, and resolve business problems.

Needless to say, technology plays a large role in data analysis. For analysts and key leaders, technology can, in many ways, change a company’s story. For example, if data reveals that customers prefer a certain product, the company can decide how to offer that product, where to sell it, and how to price it.

Demand for Data Analysts Is Higher Than Supply

The need for data analysts has grown significantly in recent years, and that growth is expected to continue. The demand is reflected in almost every sector of the global economy and is spread across different industries: business, defense, health care, and finance to name just a few. Data analysts have the skills to bring together analytical insight, technology, and business objectives in a unique way. With this information, data analysts transform data to support the company’s goals and business objectives and achieve desired results.
According to PayScale, the salary range for a data analyst is $59,202 to $83,000. Jobs for data analysts, including market research analysts, are projected to grow 19 percent through 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is much faster than the average projected growth for all jobs.

The data analyst role is considered to be among the 20 best jobs in America because it showcases a strong use of technology skills, a highly rated factor on the top 20 job list. The analytics profession includes different roles: data scientist, business analyst, financial analyst, and operations research analysts. All of these positions involve some form of data analysis and information transformation, which in turn, helps support key decision-making for organizations that seek competitive success.

This demand for data analysts presents new and exciting career opportunities. Individuals who have an undergraduate degree in science, economics or finance, and are interested in an analytics career, can enroll in the Online Master of Business Analytics degree from Ohio University’s College of Business. The curriculum is designed to position graduates for numerous job options. Job Outlook

Trends in the data analytics field indicate not just robust job growth, but a broadening of opportunities across business, manufacturing, finance, and similar industries. Tech-focused careers—including data analysts, data scientists, business analysts, and market researchers—are projected to see the greatest growth potential, according to LinkedIn’s Most Promising Jobs of 2019.

Jumping Into This Hot Career

The data analytics profession is proving its high growth potential. This anticipated growth is a strong indicator that many individuals will jump into the analytics field. They will certainly be attracted to the expanding range of opportunities in different industries, as well as to the professions’ high salaries and occupational stability. Whether you are seeking to jumpstart your data career, launch a new career or seek a career change, learn more about the Online Masters of Business Analytics degree from Ohio University’s College of Business.  

Recommended Readings

Why Choose Ohio University’s Online Master of Business Analytics?

How to Empower Decision Making with Predictive Analytics

Online Master of Business Analytics Program Overview



CIO, “Data Dashboards: The One Crucial Tool for Making Better Decisions, Faster”
Entrepreneur, “Here are the Benefits of Data-Driven Decision Making”
Forbes, “Leveraging Data Analytics In Decision Making: The New Opportunity for Finance”
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Market Research Analysts”
Informatica, “What Is Data Analytics?
Gartner, “Top 10 Data and Analytics Technology Trends in 2019”

Payscale, “Average Data Analyst Salary”