Careers in Analytics: Overview, Required Skills, Top Universities and Job Market Trends | Business Analytics vs Data Analytics

Be it because of the demand of the business, the fascinating nature of the jobs, or the popularity among students and seasoned professionals, the careers in the analytics field is one of the hottest trends these days. This article will give you an overview of careers in analytics, the required skill-set for analytics jobs, analytics job market trends, the difference between business analytics & data analytics, best online courses and best universities for Masters in Business & Data Analytics.

Careers and Jobs in Analytics

Careers in Analytics

Analytics is a fast-growing field and presents exciting career opportunities for students and professionals with strong quantitative and analytical skills. The analytics field combines extensive use of data, statistical and quantitative analysis, exploratory and predictive models, and fact-based management, as quoted by Thomas Davenport in his bestselling book “Competing on Analytics”.

The objectives are to investigate patterns, behavior, and trends, and to drive business decisions and actions. Analytics could be as simple as an exploration of sales made in the previous year. At the same time, it could be a complex neural network model to predict and target potential customers in a marketing campaign.

Analytics gets used in various sectors that include financial services, retail, FMCG, healthcare, travel, media, etc. However, unconventional sectors like education, manufacturing, and sports are also using innovative use of analytics to get a competitive edge.

Career Opportunities and Salary Structures for Analytics Professionals in India

India is currently one of the global hubs for analytics. Most of the top US companies, which have a significant analytics team, have got a presence in India. Besides, many India companies are also providing various analytics services to clients from all over the world. With increasing opportunities, the demand for analytics professionals is growing rapidly. Below is the snapshot of annual salaries in the analytics field at entry-levels and managerial levels.

Data Analytics Salary (Entry-Level)
Fig. 1: Entry-Level Analytics Manager Salary (Source: PayScale)
Analytics Salaries
Fig. 2: Analytics Manager Salary (Source: PayScale)

How to Build a Successful Career in Analytics

For a career in analytics, you need strong quantitative and analytical skills. Additionally, you must also possess excellent communication, problem-solving skills. The career growth in the analytics is very much merit and skill driven. So, if you also demonstrate strong leadership and people management skills along with creativity, you can expect rapid growth and salary hikes.

Fig.3: Career Paths in Analytics

Required Key Skills for Careers in Analytics

Domain Knowledge

You should know your business and must be a subject matter expert in your niche. You also need to know and understand your customers (consumers) and clients. You must not only understand customers’ needs; you should also know their paint points. The knowledge of terminologies and business jargons is essential. You also need to know about your competitors’ services and products, and the market trends.

Intellectual Skills

You should be an inquisitive person. Intellectual curiosity is a must for a successful career in analytics. The aggression to know the WHYs and HOWs of any business situation is very critical for your career.  You need to demonstrate a keen interest in understanding the business issues and working towards the specific solutions. The curiosity to challenge any assumption must be there.

Quantitative & Analytical Skills

This is the Holy Grail of analytics. You must be mathematically oriented to do well in analytics. This is not the career if you are scared of Mathematics. Besides, quantitative skills, you must be a logical and analytical person along with strong interpretation skills. Numbers don’t mean too much if you are unable to interpret the results in the business context. You need to assess the utility of the data and make business strategies on the basis of your data.

Communication Skills

Once you gather, analyze and interpret data, the next critical step is communicating your insights to the decision makers. You need strong verbal and written communications skills in order to convince your higher management or the board of directors about the positive impact of your findings on the profitability of the business.


You need to be a proactive person and must take initiatives. As an analyst, you can succeed far greater if you are confident and show initiative while working. Analytics is that kind of field where more often than not, the most useful and surprising insights come out when one thinks outside the box and take on tasks that might not necessarily be the part of the usual job profile. The career progression could be a little hard if your boss always needs to tell you what to do next. Passion, hunger, and self-motivation are the vital keys to a successful career in analytics.

Besides the above five key skills, you also need to possess attention-to-details, ability to see the big picture, team working skills, and willingness to learn. Learning never ends irrespective of any industry or career. But, the analytics field is very dynamic and fast-growing. So, you need continuous professional development. You must learn advanced tools and methodologies.

References: Edvancer & AnalyticsTraining

Ideal Educational Background for Careers in Analytics

There are multiple ways to end up in a career in analytics. Ideally, you must be from Engineering, Mathematics, Statistics, Actuarial Science, Economics, Business Studies or Data Science background (at Undergraduate level). So, you have to do Mathematics at 10+2 level. You could increase your careers prospects if you pursue a Masters degree in a specialized field.

You could do an MS in Business Analytics, Analytics, or Data Analytics. MBA is also a great pathway for a career in analytics. Options like MS in Business Analytics with a specialization in Finance, Digital Marketing, Healthcare, Media etc, are also excellent options. Another great option at the postgraduate level would be pursuing a Masters program that combines both Business Analytics and Data Analytics. Those programs will be discussed later in this post.

Recommended Reading: Careers in Actuarial Science: Introduction, Education, Top Universities and Jobs

Popular Sectors for Analytics and Job Market Trends

While 2015 saw the maximum hiring for the digital marketing professionals, the demand for marketing strategists, business analysts, data analysts and market researchers was also very high (see Fig. 4). All these roles require extensive use of analytics. 2016 was different, especially for digital marketers and IT professionals. After the euphoria of 2015, the job market saw major layoffs and a reduction in the hiring of fresh graduates overall. The demonetization in November last year also affected the construction sector and small businesses.

Analytics Careers and Jobs
Fig. 4: Hiring in 2015 (Source: SmartInsights)

According to the Economic Times, manufacturing, FMCG, services, and agriculture sectors will be looking at to hire technical and analytics talent in 2017. The trend will be there for few years also because of the global demand for talent-pool in analytics. Of all those sectors, the agri-tech sector is going to boom in the coming years in India and worldwide. Read more about Careers in Agriculture Sector.

The scenario of startup jobs will be very different in 2017. There were major layoffs in Indian e-commerce startup companies in 2016. However, technology-aided startups in education, healthcare, finance, media artificial intelligence and internet of things (IoT) are likely to invest in analytics talent. Campus hiring will remain on the lower side. It’s best to reach out to companies via different channels including off-campus job hunting. You need to remain open to challenges and be patient. Analytical and creativity skills are going to be very vital.

Companies are now looking beyond the skills. They are unable to afford you unless you are happy and engaged at work. Companies are stressing about cultural fit as that makes employees more productive and happy at work.

You must show also agility and resilience. You must continue to learn new skills and tools. Automation tools must be your best friend for a career in analytics in 2017 and in the coming years. So, do invest time in upgrading yourself constantly.

Popular Job Categories in Analytics

The most popular domains are Marketing Analytics, Market Research, Risk Analytics, Bio-Statistics, Business Analytics and Data Analytics. The majority of hiring is supposed to be within the fields of business analytics and data analytics.

It is often a little bit ambiguous when it comes to the nature of the jobs within the analytics domain. People are also confused with the terms analytics, business analytics, business intelligence, and data analytics.

Business Intelligence (BI) involves software and tools to collate, process, analyze and visualize data using dashboards. Business managers use the facts and figures to make informed decisions. BI is all about what’s happening in the business.

Analytics comes into play after BI. Analytics is the process performed on the date delivered by BI. The purpose of Analytics is generating insights to drive decisions, actions, and eventually business impacts, including revenue and profit. Analytics is all about the investigation – why it is happening and what’s likely to happen in the future.

The data that is used in BI and analytics is structured along with small (or not so huge) volume, variety, or velocity. If the data (which must be significant to the business) is very high in volume, variety, and velocity, then the big data analytics comes into play. Big data involves structured, semi-structured and unstructured (non-structured) data in high volume, extensive variety, and high velocity. Big Data Analytics is all about analyzing the big data to investigate patterns, correlations, trends, behavior and other critical and useful business information.


Business Analytics vs Data Analytics 

What does a Business Analyst do?

A business analyst manipulates and analyzes data using spreadsheet and database tools. As a business analyst, you could be an expert in a particular domain – finance, manufacturing, FMCG, retail, healthcare, or IT. Your primary job role will involve communicating the results (or conclusions) derived from the data to senior management, customers, and investors. If you are targeting job opportunities within a start-up company, you should also know the basics of SQL, R, and statistics. Common business analyst job roles are marketing analyst, financial analyst, digital analyst etc.

Careers and Jobs in Analytics
Fig.5: Business Analyst

The finance and investment banking sectors usually produce the maximum number of job openings for business analysts. Those sectors also offer extremely lucrative paychecks. Another booming sector nowadays for business analyst roles in the e-commerce sector. You can also go for new-age and yet very exciting and well-paid job roles like within the news and media sectors. For example, if you are good with statistics and analytics and have got a passion for cricket, you should explore companies like ESPN Cricinfo, CricBuzz etc. If you have got passion for higher education and technology, you could also be a part of the Stoodnt Team.

What does a Data Analyst do?

A data analyst is primarily responsible for collecting, manipulating and analyzing data. As a data analyst, you will be preparing reports. The reports could be presented (or visualized) in the form of graphs, charts, dashboards or infographics. You are also expected to conclude the findings from those reports.

Here is one of my previous articles, which contains infographics on the Early-Action Acceptance Rates (Undergraduate) of the Ivy League Schools for the Class of 2021. From the trends, it is very clear that if you apply early to the Ivy League Schools, your admissions chances are better. Getting admission in the Ivy League Schools is tougher if you apply for the Regular Application Deadlines. This is a basic example for your understanding. At Stoodnt, we provide tools and analytics to the students for career exploration, career counseling, test-preps, college applications, and admission consulting for top universities including Ivy League Schools.

For data analytics jobs, you should possess strong knowledge of relational databases like SQL. You should also know about data storage and data retrieval. You must also have a thorough understanding of relationships that exist between various databases within an organization. You should also know advanced tools like Hadoop, Hive, Pig, MongoDB, and Cassandra etc. for commanding higher salaries. See the image below.

Careers and Jobs in Analytics
Fig. 6: Skills and Salaries in Data Science & Analytics (Source: Datanami)

Recommended Reading:

Careers in Big Data Analytics – Career Prospects in India & Abroad And Top Universities for Masters

Top MS Programs for Data Science in the US

Best Masters Programs for Data Science & Big Data Analytics in Canada

Beginners Guide to Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), NLP, Deep Learning, Big Data Analytics and Blockchain Technology

You can always go for a Masters in Analytics, Business Analytics, Data Science or Data Analytics. But, if you are confused between which field to choose between business analytics and data analytics, or you want to get a feeling of both worlds, then pursuing specialized courses from abroad can really boost your CV. Have a look at the following programs put equal emphasis on both business analytics and data analytics.

Best Online Courses & Certifications for Careers and Jobs in Analytics

Introduction to Data Analytics for Business

Excel to MySQL: Analytic Techniques for Business

Statistics with R

Advanced Business Analytics

Data Analysis and Presentation Skills: the PwC Approach

Data Analytics for Lean Six Sigma

Business Analytics Specialization

Digital Analytics for Marketing Professionals (Marketing Analytics)

Operations Analytics

Strategic Business Analytics

If you are looking for full-time Masters (classroom-based) programs, then the following courses will be suitable for you.

Top 20 Universities for Masters in Business Analytics in Combination with Data Science & Analytics

University of Texas at Austin

University of Illinois at Chicago

Georgia Tech

University of Texas at Dallas

Imperial College London

ESSEC Business School

University of Texas at Arlington

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

IE Business School

Iowa State University

University of San Francisco

Arizona State University

University of Southern California

New York University (Stern Business School)

York University (Schulich School of Business)

University of Dallas

University of Cincinnati

Bentley University

Nanyang Technological University (NTU)

National University of Singapore (NUS): MS Business Analytics & MTech Enterprise Business Analytics

Need Help with Applications

I covered the universities in USA, Europe, Singapore, and Canada because that’s where students are looking at to study. Have a look at the screenshot below. This is the results of a poll we conducted during our Webinar on How to Secure Scholarships & Financial Aid for Study Abroad. If you are looking for other countries and a bigger list, please refer to Top Universities for Masters in Data Science & Analytics. If you need any assistance with applications and admission (UG & PG) at top universities, please feel free to avail Stoodnt Services.

Careers in Data Analytics

Related Articles:

Jobs and Salaries for MS Business/Data Analytics Graduates

Best Universities for MS Business Analytics in USA

Top Universities for Big Data and Analytics in Canada

Top Universities for Business/Data Analytics in Australia

Best Universities for Data & Business Analytics in Europe (Part 1)

Best Universities for Data & Business Analytics in Europe (Part 2)

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