The current business world is incredibly fast-paced. New technologies are emerging daily, and only competitive businesses that can withstand the test of time are evolving with the prevailing trends. One of the current trends is business analytics. The field of analytics is not what it used to be – just displaying facts and figures. Instead, it is now an essential aspect of every business since it is the main point of reference when it comes to making business decisions. In this article, we shall delve into job prospects for business analysts – the different paths they can take, salary expectations, and future opportunities. Take a look!
It’s essential to note that business analytics is a broad field. It entails data collection, mining, predictive analytics, data visualization, and so much more. That tells you how pursuing a master of business analytics online opens you up to endless opportunities. It is a field that brings other fields of business, such as management and computing, together. St Bonaventure University online designed their program to ensure you are qualified for high-demand roles when you graduate, with customizable electives and the flexibility to work anywhere.
Job prospects for business analytics professionals
There are many lucrative career options for business analytics professionals. Below are some of them.
- Business analyst
Business analysts use their knowledge and skills to help a company improve and streamline processes, leading it closer to its goals. They use data to form business insights and recommend changes to increase efficiency and reduce costs. This career path has gained tremendous traction recently as businesses have embraced the indispensability of data.
A business analyst needs a wide array of skills. First, they need technical skills, including data modeling and stakeholder management. They also need strong analytical skills to handle big data sets and develop valuable insights. A business analyst also needs to be an excellent communicator to put ideas across, even to non-technical team members. Business analysts also need excellent research skills to learn about trending processes and software. Most importantly, business analysts need problem-solving skills since they are primarily responsible for developing solutions to an organization’s challenges.
On average, a business analyst takes home about $82,710 per annum in the United States. However, the salary varies depending on years of experience, location, and company. The demand for business analysts is projected to continue, making it a career path worth consideration.
- Business development management
As the name suggests, a business development manager’s job is to drive business growth within an organization. Typical responsibilities include identifying market opportunities through networking, maintaining positive relationships with existing clients, and preparing financial projections and sales targets. Therefore, a business development manager should have the skills to build long-standing professional relationships. These include excellent communication skills and a drive to seek new business.
Ideally, a business development manager works closely with other departments. For instance, they work with sales representatives to expand existing business opportunities. On average, a business development management manager makes about $132,252.
- Financial analyst
A financial analyst is a professional who makes investment decisions after analyzing market trends, business news, and the company’s financial position. A financial analyst can work in different settings, from banks to businesses. Typically, a financial analyst focuses on financial data. They use this data to build financial models to make business decisions. They also study economic and business trends for context.
Notably, there are two types of financial analysts – buy-side and sell-side analysts. A buy-side financial analyst creates investment strategies for institutional investors like hedge funds and insurance companies. On the other side, a sell-side analyst provides guidance to financial services sales agents that sell investments.
A good financial analyst needs skills like financial reporting, data analysis, research skills, and corporate finance knowledge. They also need other workplace skills like negotiation, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication.
- Data analyst
Large data sets are collected, analyzed, and interpreted in a technology-driven business world to solve business problems. That places data analysts right at the center of business operations. In a nutshell, a data analyst crunches data – numbers and beyond. As a data analyst, you review data and draw critical insights about customers and other metrics. For instance, you can review customer behavior to determine the most suitable marketing strategy. You then relay this information to the company leadership so that they can take actionable steps.
Data analysts collect and analyze data using the software. Therefore, improve your technical skills, such as mastering scripting languages to organize data. You also need numerical skills to analyze data statistically.
Nearly every industry benefits from data analysis. However, the demand for data analysts is higher in some industries than in others. One of the industries that hire business analysts is business intelligence. This industry is the middle-ground between data gathering, storage, knowledge management, and analysis. Think of companies like Amazon and Netflix that use data analytics to model consumer products.
Another industry with a high demand for data analysts is healthcare. Data analysts can solve challenges like sorting clinical data, analyzing patient behavior, tracking practitioner performance, and so much more. Other top industries include entertainment and finance.
- Marketing analyst
The business world is very cutthroat. A company must understand what draws consumers to a particular brand to rise above the competition. That’s where a marketing analyst comes in. A marketing analyst’s main job is to use analytics to determine what people want. Is there a niche that the business could profit from? How much money are people willing to part with for a particular product? What is the target demographic? With this information, marketing helps the business curate profitable products and targeted advertisements.
The day-to-day duties of a marketing analyst vary greatly depending on the organization’s specific needs and goals. However, some tasks cut across. These include analyzing data related to a particular product or service, forecasting marketing and sales trends in that industry, and preparing reports to present to clients. As a marketing analyst, you can work in-house for a company or for consulting firms that do research for clients.
- Operations analyst
Operations analysts are also commonly referred to as operations research analysts. Ideally, an operations analyst researches a company’s internal operations and advises the company on how to streamline them. Picture a detective, but for a business. After thorough research, they recommend steps like reformulating policies, adjusting logistics, and more.
An operations analyst has a lot of options when it comes to choosing an industry to work in. Top options include healthcare, manufacturing, and even the government. It is a good choice if you thrive in a stable routine. You should not expect numerous business trips, and even when you travel, you will most likely attend a conference.
That doesn’t mean it’s all easy-peasy. It is an incredibly technical job. For instance, you could be tasked with improving a company’s logistics department. Most people think an operations analyst is the same as a business analyst. While some parts of the two roles may overlap, there are some notable differences. The main one is that a business analyst focuses on the overall profitability of a business, while an operations analyst aims at streamlining day-to-day processes.
- Supply chain analyst
Have you ever bought something overseas and stopped to wonder how it came all the way from the manufacturer to your hands? Today, global trade is more expansive than ever before. Therefore, businesses must look for ways to ensure the supply chain remains undisrupted. A supply chain analyst plays a crucial role in that. They analyze a company’s supply chain distribution to ensure there is no loophole so that products can get to clients on time and without breaking the bank.
Typically, a supply chain analyst works on specific products. For instance, when a company is launching in a new country, the analyst helps to map out routes and find suppliers to keep the cost of doing business as low as possible while still delivering high-quality products. The supply chain analyst also keeps track of the inventory to know when it’s time for a restock. Supply chain analysts are usually in demand in retail or e-commerce companies.
Since a supply chain analyst acts as the liaison between the company and its suppliers, they need excellent communication skills, especially since they might have to interact with cross-cultural teams. A supply chain analyst also needs organizational skills to maintain records across various tools and to stay on top of simultaneous projects.
- Business intelligence analyst
A business intelligence analyst is a professional whose main job is to analyze data to prepare market intelligence and financial reports. These reports reveal patterns and trends, which act as a business decision-making framework. A business intelligence analyst uses tools like programming languages to draw insights from data.
Besides data analysis and modeling, business intelligence analysts work closely with all stakeholders, presenting and sharing knowledge gained from data.
Specialization options for someone with a degree in business analytics
Once you earn your master’s degree, you can specialize in a particular area of business analytics. This comes with added benefits, such as increased value to employers. You will be in a position to provide in-depth expertise in a specific area, meaning you can handle more rewarding projects, not to mention increased job security.
Besides, specializing gives you a competitive advantage over other candidates. That increases your chances of career advancement and gives you leverage when negotiating for a salary and other perks.
You can also specialize as a way of staying true to your passion. As you’ve read above, there are several paths to choose from. Therefore, you can specialize in one that feels most fulfilling to you.
Let’s take a look at specializations available to people with a degree in business analytics.
- Predictive analytics
Predictive analytics is a specialization that tries to answer the question, “What might happen in the future?” A professional who specializes in predictive analytics uses historical data to predict what the future will look like for a business. They could predict something in the near future, such as a software malfunction later in the week, or something in the distant future, such as booming sales in the upcoming financial year.
There are several ways of forecasting; among them is regression analysis. This technique entails studying the relationship between given variables and using the findings to predict an outcome. A good example of predictive analytics is determining staffing needs in the hospitality industry. As a predictive analytics professional, you can help a company hire just the correct number of employees depending on factors like seasonality.
- Data mining
Data mining involves turning raw data into useful information using programming languages like R and Python. Unlike predictive analytics, data mining only looks for patterns that already exist in data. To successfully reveal these patterns, you need a deep business understanding, and a degree in business analytics gives you a solid foundation.
Specializing in data mining also means understanding complex data concepts, such as modeling, sorting, evaluation, outlier detection, and regression analysis. You can then present this data to help a business make informed decisions.
- Risk analytics
Risk analysis is a specialized field within business analytics that focuses on identifying, quantifying, and managing risks in a business. A risk analytics specialist gathers data from various departments in the business, from finance to customer data, and uses it to identify patterns or trends that could indicate exposure to risk. Therefore, a business can take the proper steps toward mitigating these risks.
Several businesses heavily rely on risk analytics. These include finance, supply chain management, and marketing. For instance, in marketing, risk analytics can help a business understand potential threats to the brand reputation should they participate in a trending online campaign. Some of the techniques used in risk analytics include decision trees and sensitivity analysis.
- Text analytics
Someone with a degree in business analytics can major in text analytics, a subfield that entails analyzing unstructured text data, like customer feedback and news articles. Insights from that data are used to inform business decisions. To specialize in text analytics, one needs strong technical skills, such as machine learning and natural language processing.
A good example of text analytics in action is analyzing social media captions to understand customer sentiment and identify loopholes in products and services. This field is rapidly growing with several opportunities since more companies are starting to appreciate the value of unstructured text data.
- Business intelligence
As a business intelligence specialist, you will help businesses draw strategies and tactics based on data collected from various sources. These sources of data include market research reports and internal databases. You will also report and visualize the data. It is also the BI specialist’s job to ensure the data is appropriately managed, secured, and easily accessible to relevant stakeholders.
BI specialists need skills like SQL, PowerBI, and Excel. Potential industries to work in include retail, healthcare, and technology.
Deciding which path to take
As you have seen, the world of business analytics is incredibly broad. While that means there is something for everyone, deciding the path to take can be challenging. Here are some tips you should take into consideration as you decide:
- Identify your interests in business analytics
You have to start by identifying which field of business analytics piques your interest. For instance, are you more inclined toward numbers or towards consumer behavior? Once you know this, you can narrow down your options. You might wonder what the best way to figure out your interests is. Consider thinking about your natural strengths and how you can apply them in your career.
It would also be a great idea to get practical experience in different areas of business analytics to get a gist of what it feels like in real life. You can do so through volunteering or taking up internships. Other ways to learn about a particular field include attending networking events and reading relevant business articles.
- Research career opportunities
It is crucial to find out as much as you can about each job prospect and specialization in business analytics before you make up your mind. You can look up metrics like the average salary and employee benefits. You can find this information in job postings and industry reports. Besides compensation, finding out about each field’s job security and posterity is essential.
- Get a mentor
A mentor can offer you much-needed guidance on picking a business analytics specialization. While it’s not a rule of thumb, the best person to be your mentor is someone in that field already. They can tell you the pros and cons of each choice and offer guidance as you explore. They can even introduce you to opportunities that can further open your eyes.
- Assess your current skills
What are you currently good at? That can act as your foundation. For instance, if you are already proficient in a programming language like Python, you might find it easy to transition into a field like data analytics.
- What are your values?
Identify what you want to gain for your career. Perhaps your goal is to enter a role that allows you to work remotely. Or you want a job that doesn’t require you to travel often. Once you identify what you want, you can narrow down your search.