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CAREER GUIDE Master of Science, Data Analytics

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Career guide: data analytics.

From basic business intelligence to advanced analytics, big data is transforming how organizations improve efficiency, increase revenue, and gain a competitive advantage. But finding highly skilled business and IT professionals with the proven expertise to harness meaningful data and turn it into smart decisions isn't easy. In fact, the demand for data analytics experts far outpaces the number of qualified candidates in today's executive job market. 

Throughout government, healthcare, business, and almost every industry, recruiters are on the lookout for data analytics professionals with the specialized knowledge and skills to forecast trends, solve problems, and leverage the power of big data. Earn a master’s degree showcasing an up-to-date understanding of data mining, manipulation, analysis, and visualization (along with the industry-recognized certifications to prove your technical know-how), and your résumé can end up in some pretty exciting places. 

The bottom line is this: Informed analysis of big data makes modern businesses succeed, and the smart money's on the ones with senior-level leadership that can apply industry standards and best practices to an organizational decision-making process. 


Job listing growth 2016–2026.

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Career opportunities.

Big data analytics has the power to transform productivity and business performance in every industry. This is fueling an unprecedented demand for professionals with a proven track record for using statistical analysis and simulations to analyze and solve business problems. If you have the ability to forecast trends, solve problems, and leverage the power of big data, you'll have your choice of exciting career opportunities. 

Positions in the field.

  • Data analyst
  • Business analyst
  • Information research scientist
  • Statistician
  • Advanced analytics expert
  • Operations research analyst
“WGU’s advantage is its flexibility. The education itself is top-notch, and the flexibility allows busy people to get through school. I recommend WGU to everybody, particularly in IT fields. The certifications you get at WGU are fantastic—some of the best in the industry.” Ken Krauss
M.S. Information Security and Assurance, 2015

Job market forecast.

Number crunching has become an advanced science, and spreadsheets just don't cut it in today's big data environments. If you know how to utilize industry-standard tools to interpret and represent data, you'll find a growing demand for a broad range of careers. For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment of operations research analysts to grow 27% from 2016 to 2026. The time is right, and with the right credentials, you can target of a variety of integral roles across the public, private or non-profit landscape.

Job growth 2016–2026.

Work environment.

Data analytics professionals typically work in office settings, and your day-to-day experience will depend on the industry in which you choose to work. In organizations like government agencies, healthcare organizations, modern businesses, and insurance companies, you'll spend your days forecasting trends, solving problems, and leveraging the power of big data to transform business. 

Professional organizations.

There are many organizations that can help you prepare for a future in data analytics. Check out these links to learn more about growing opportunities and the education and training required to take advantage of them.

Job search resources.

The search is on for business and IT professionals with experience in data manipulation, data analytics, and programming. With the right education, training, and industry-recognized certifications, you can take advantage of open positions across the country and in nearly every industry. Take a deep dive into the exciting field of data analytics!

Salary stats.

Data analytics is a growth industry, and it's being reflected in the salaries being offered to statisticians, analysts, data managers, programmers, and other business and IT professionals. For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that in May 2017, the median annual wage for operations research analysts was $81,390. For statisticians, the BLS reports the median annual wage for statisticians was $84,060. Clearly, the numbers can work in your favor if you have the right qualifications on your résumé. 

Average salary of jobs with related titles


The digital age has resulted in massive amounts of data being generated daily. Successful businesses need to manage information effectively to get ahead and stay ahead. This has created a growing demand for data analytics professionals with the specialized knowledge and skills to forecast trends, solve problems, and leverage the power of big data. It's an increasingly important role that requires career-focused professionals to stay current with industry-recognized certifications from organizations like Oracle and the SAS Institute. The market is hot and recruiters competing for candidates to fill open positions. How's your résumé looking?

Next Start Date.

Jun 1

Start the 1st of any month—as soon as you complete enrollment!


Your career’s next step: Earn a degree.

Ready to jump-start your career in Data Analytics? The next step could be earning your M.S. Data Analytics. Accredited, competency-based WGU offers this degree online for at a surprisingly affordable flat-rate tuition. Flexible enough for a working adult’s schedule with the option to accelerate, your degree may be closer than you think!