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A Data Science Career vs a Business Analytics Career

November 21, 2017

Businesses across the country and around the world look to make the most of data analytics. Big data offers a chance to greatly improve an operation and meet ambitious company goals opening choices for a data science career or a business analytics career.

Which career path is right for you?

These are the two most popular jobs in this area. The good news is degree programs in either concentration can get you in the door to these growing, challenging careers.

But what is the difference between a data science career or one in business analytics? The following looks at potential career paths in either discipline.

The rewards of either career make earning an advanced degree worthwhile. Merrimack College offers convenient, flexible online master degree courses in both career fields.

A Business Analytics Career

Those who work in business analytics extract information from large data sets, both structured data and unstructured data.

Typically, this data is used to help decision-makers understand the past performance of a company, its current position and forecasts for future performance.

They also are adept at developing the right analytical models to present information to business leaders, aiding them in using data to drive the direction of a company.

Education for business analytics includes a strong foundation in data management and statistical analysis. They also become experts in analytical planning and predicative analytics. Data visualization is a key component for those in business analytics, as presenting data in a way that it provides actionable options to business leaders is a primary part of the job.

Because of the importance of data analysis to businesses, a host of job positions are available for those with a business analytics degree. They include business systems analyst, senior data analyst and senior business analyst.

A Data Science Career

Generally speaking, data scientists work more on the front end of the data collection and analysis business. They tend to develop more technical skills in the area of collecting and analyzing data.

They design algorithms to collect and analyze data, developing and deploying them.

While a business analyst typically focuses on finding trends in data and developing ways to leverage that information to improve an organization’s operations, data scientists tend to look more at what drives those trends.

Education for data scientists typically places more emphasis in areas such as mathematics and machine learning. They also become proficient in writing coding for the algorithms used to find data trends and for predictive analytics. Specialized certificates in data science or business analytics can help candidates develop these specific skills.

They may develop algorithms to find connections between different data sets. For example, how certain demographic statistics such as age and location affect how much a customer might spend. They also are often the people behind predictive recommendations made to online shoppers.

Jobs in the field are varied. They include data scientist, research scientist and senior data analyst.

Data Science Degree

The above is an overview of the differences between the two fields. Students make a wise choice in entering either career. Data-driven decisions have quickly become the standard for most businesses, because there already is a track record that such an approach works.

Anyone wanting to enter a data analysis field can do well in either discipline. It’s simply a matter of choosing the career path that best fits a person’s skills.