What to Know About Online Master's in Data Analytics Coursework
During a master's in data analytics program, degree-seekers learn how to implement, design, and populate databases used for operational and informational data in warehouses. Students learn how to manipulate large data sets to make important business decisions and evaluate the use of data through cleansing, warehousing, visualization, and analytics.
During the rigorous curriculum, students learn to communicate effectively with audiences across backgrounds, focusing on how to develop a code of ethics and values dedicated to social and personal understanding. Learners develop leadership and teamwork skills.
Learners leave their programs prepared to use quantitative and statistical methods, computational tools, and predictive models to help nonprofits, government agencies, and businesses evaluate risk and make important decisions. Earning a master's degree in data analytics typically takes about two years, and most programs comprise 60 credits of coursework.
What Common Courses are Offered in a Master's in Data Analytics Program?
Courses in master's programs for data analytics can vary depending on the college or university, but students should expect to develop the necessary skills and knowledge to pursue a variety of advanced career opportunities. Below are a few example courses.
Foundations of Data
During the foundations of data course, degree-seekers learn how to verify data, use open source tools, and analyze data. Throughout the course, degree-seekers study big data and the impact it has on the business field, reviewing life cycle approaches to data analytics problems.
Predictive analytics courses allow learners to examine the elements used to build the reliable predictive models used in performance predictions. The course explores the art and science behind predictive analysis and allows learners to focus on developing predictive models.
Advanced Data Analytics
Students in the advanced data analytics course explore the advanced analytic strategies used throughout the life cycle of the data analysis process. Students use a comprehensive, case-study-based approach and work to expand their skills in data analytics. Students also learn how to create project proposals.
Enterprise Data Management
In the enterprise data management course, degree-seekers study data management systems and evolving technologies essential in making data-focused decisions. The course also covers export data management and enterprise information management.
Decision Methods and Modeling
During the decision methods and modeling course, students learn how to collect, interpret, and analyze data. They also learn to evaluate data in context, understand data trends, and use analytical algorithms.
What Specializations are Available in a Master's in Data Analytics Program?
Data analytics master's students can choose a specialization to better prepare themselves for a particular career path. Specializations allow degree-seekers to tailor their programs to their specific areas of interest, aligning their coursework with their unique career goals.
- Business Analytics
Students in a business analytics specialization learn how to use quantitative methods, statistical tools, and predictive models to cultivate success in data-rich environments. Courses in this specialization focus on data-driven decision making, small business management, and entrepreneurship.
- Marketing Analytics
During the marketing analytics specialization, students learn to combine marketing management strategies with data management. Courses cover digital marketing strategies, marketing management, and marketing analytics.
- Financial Analytics
The financial analytics specialization allows learners to explore different aspects of budgeting and finance through the lens of data and business analytics. They explore financial services analytics, accounting analytics, algorithmic trading, and quantitative investment strategies.
What Exams or Projects Should I Expect?
Master's students earning a degree in data analytics experience different exam and project requirements depending on the college or university where they enroll. Many master's programs have capstone requirements that learners must satisfy prior to graduation. Capstones allow learners to combine everything they have learned throughout their program to pursue new ideas or make discoveries in the field.
In addition to capstone requirements, many master's programs have final exam requirements. Degree-seekers in these programs must complete a comprehensive exam, demonstrating the competencies they developed through their coursework.
How Can I Choose a Quality Online Master's in Data Analytics Program?
Before enrolling in a data analytics master's program, learners should check program quality. Part of choosing the right program is understanding the differences in accreditation types and identifying which type of accreditation their particular college or university should have. There are two main types of accreditation: regional and national.
Coursework at regionally accredited institutions typically features liberal arts coursework while coursework at nationally accredited colleges and universities focuses more on career and technical education. Credits at regionally accredited institutions easily transfer to other programs while credits from nationally accredited colleges and universities often do not. Because of this, regionally accredited institutions are considered more prestigious than nationally accredited institutions.
Students seeking a career in data analytics should choose a program from a regionally accredited college or university.
Career Opportunities With a Master's in Data Analytics Degree
Graduates who earn a master's in data analytics can pursue a variety of career opportunities after graduation. Many of these careers focus on analytics and computer systems and have high average salaries, ranging from $80,000-$100,000 each year. Earning a master's degree places professionals in a higher pay bracket than those who earn a bachelor's, also opening them up to a wider selection of career possibilities.
- Operations Research Analyst
Operations research analysts work to find and solve problems in day-to-day operations in healthcare, logistics, business, and other fields. These professionals collect and organize information from various sources, including sales histories, customer feedback, and computer databases, while simultaneously gathering input from employees. Analysts complete reports detailing their findings and their recommendations, which are then passed on to managers, executives, and other leaders.
- Median Salary: $83,390 per year
- Currently Employed: 109,700
- Expected Job Growth in Next 10 Years: +26%
- Computer Network Architect
Computer network architects are in charge of creating plans and data layouts for communication networks, often designing plans for managing a company's digital information. These architects focus on information security, researching up-and-coming networking technologies to decide which technologies could best support their company or organization in the future. Computer network architects also upgrade company hardware, including adapters, routers, and software such as network drivers.
- Median Salary: $109,020 per year
- Currently Employed: 159,300
- Expected Job Growth in Next 10 Years: +5%
- Software Developer
Software developers work with other computer specialists to create effective software programs and document the application of systems to make future maintenance easier. These professionals analyze user needs and then design, develop, and test new software programs to meet those needs. They also make sure that the programs they use continue to function properly through regular testing.
- Median Salary: $105,590 per year
- Currently Employed: 284,100
- Expected Job Growth in Next 10 Years: +21%
- Computer Systems Analyst
Often collaborating with managers, computer systems analysts manage information technology systems within an organization, researching and implementing new technologies to improve the efficiency of their organizations. They also train system users, write instruction manuals, and conduct regular tests to ensure the systems work properly.
- Median Salary: $88,740 per year
- Currently Employed: 633,900
- Expected Job Growth in Next 10 Years: +9%
- Database Administrators
Database administrators maintain databases for companies and merge old databases into new ones, ensuring they all run smoothly with no errors. These professionals are also responsible for data security and backing up and restoring data to prevent loss. To effectively create and administer databases, they must identify user needs and make modifications whenever necessary.
- Median Salary: $90,070 per year
- Currently Employed: 116,900
- Expected Job Growth in Next 10 Years: +9%
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019
What's the Expected Job Growth for Data Analytics Careers?
The job growth for data analytics careers varies depending on the particular specialization. Individuals interested in operations research analyst and software developer roles experience job growth rates of more than 20% — much faster than the average U.S. career. Database administrators and computer systems analysts both have job growth rates of 9% — also higher than the U.S. average — while computer network architects have a growth rate of 5%.
Professional Organizations for Careers in Data Analytics
Pursuing membership at a professional organization in data analytics exposes individuals to a variety of unique benefits. Professional organizations often host events that allow learners to network with other professionals in the data analytics field. Additionally, organizations sometimes feature seminars and training opportunities, allowing professionals to develop professionally.
- DAA aims to advance data use and improve the digital world through community and professional development. The association connects web analytic professionals, end-users, and consultants to promote common interests around the world.
- IIA is an independent advisory and research firm that collaborates with enterprise analytics teams to improve analytics effectiveness. The institute boasts a large network of analytics experts and professionals dedicated to leading companies and creating successful analytics programs.
- DSA is a nonprofit professional association of data scientists dedicated to improving the data science profession. It provides ethical data science and enhances diversity in the field. Membership opportunities are available to students, scientists, data scientists, academics, and other individuals interested in the data science profession.
- Functioning as the main professional organization for statisticians and related professionals in the U.S., ASA is the second-oldest continuously operating professional society in the country. The association serves quantitative scientists, statisticians, and statistics users across academic areas.
- Launched in 2013 as a community-driven initiative, RDA encourages researchers to share data across technologies and disciplines to build the technical and social bridges necessary to reuse data and promote open sharing. RDA highlights technical and cross-disciplinary links to enable sharing across the global.
How to Pay for a Master's in Data Analytics Degree
Degree-seekers pursuing a data analytics master's program can explore a variety of avenues to help them pay their tuitions. All students are encouraged to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine what types of federal financial aid they can receive, but students can also explore scholarship opportunities through professional organizations and specific programs, including graduate assistantship programs.
- Federal Financial Aid
All degree-seekers should complete their FAFSA forms to determine what types of financial aid and how much financial aid they might be eligible to receive, including grant and loan opportunities. While grant awards do not require repayment after graduation, learners need to pay back their loan amounts once they graduate.
- Professional Scholarships
Students can explore scholarship opportunities offered by professional organizations. Most professional organizations feature scholarship opportunities relevant to their particular fields, requiring applicants to meet a specific set of guidelines to qualify for awards. Guidelines usually include merit or financial need, depending on the particular organization and award.
- Program Scholarships
In addition to scholarships from professional organizations, degree-seekers can pursue program scholarships offered by their specific colleges or universities. These scholarships cater specifically to their related area of study, often using merit-based criteria to select students.
- Graduate Assistantships
Graduate students can also explore graduate assistantship opportunities, which allow them to complete part-time work experiences to expand their knowledge and skills while receiving funding for tuition. Graduate assistantships also provide learners with the chance to carry out special projects and assignments.