The talent gap in analytics and data science is motivating Statistics departments in universities across the US to quickly adapt their curriculum at the Bachelors, Masters and PhD level to help fill this void in analytics talent. This shift is allowing IT professionals that may not have direct analytics experience to go back to school full-time or at night to gain the needed experience to sometimes double their existing salaries.
Holly Regan with Software Advice references a McKinsey report that, "The US is facing a shortage of up to 190,000 analysts and 1.5 million managers within the next four years." She says that universities are seeing people applying for Business Intelligence programs with backgrounds in software engineering and data science but also marketing and business analysts that want to expand their careers. The article points not only to universities developing Business Intelligence degree programs but also BI certifications. North Carolina State University introduced their Master of Science in Analytics program in 2007 and has a "90% job placement rate by graduation" with starting salaries averaging near $100,000.
Some universities have designed their programs around graduating Bachelors students that immediately want to continue with a Master’s degree but most colleges cater to working professionals that already have a basic understanding of analytics in a professional environment. Texas A&M University introduced their Masters of Analytics degree in the fall of 2013 and one of the requirements is 3 years of work experience. The program targets working professionals by having classes at night over 5 semesters and allows students to "go to class" via a live video feed into the classroom.
"The option of providing this degree via live video expands our area of relevance, the industries represented in class, as well as provides flexibility in delivery. Occasionally our face-to-face students travel for work and the live video allows them to still attend class," said Myra Gonzalez, Director of the Masters of Analytics program at Texas A&M. "We anticipate doubling our entering class each Fall for the next few years. Offering live video allows us to have a reach beyond the region and into North America."
Gonzalez explains why the university requires 3 years of work experience prior to entering the program. “We deliver this degree in an executive-learning environment in which one learns as much from their peers as they do from their professors. To sustain meaningful discussion of applying analytics in the workplace, we believe a minimum of three years full-time work experience is key.”
Who should pursue a degree in Analytics and Business Intelligence? The answer is anyone with a passion for data and numbers but not someone that is just trying to chase a hot data science job market. The number of jobs posted online in the “big data” market is topping 575,000 and is proving to be the fastest growing market across all industries, but it's not everyone. Although managers and executives in analytics departments need to have deep experience in data science, other requirements include strong business and communication skills, financial planning, team building and management experience are just as important.
Will you make $100,000 if you get an Analytics degree? If you truly have a passion for data, are excited about the power and potential of big data, question existing assumptions and processes, and want to dedicate yourself to a career that is transforming every aspect of how companies do business today, then an advanced degree in Analytics and Business Intelligence will be the best career decision you ever make and $100K is just the beginning.