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The Importance of Earning Credentials In Data Science and Business Analytics

February 23, 2018

For those who want to start a career in data science or business analytics, it’s important to consider the level of educational attainment and the credentials you will need for success in these growing fields.

Depending on the employer and the nature of the industry, job candidates will need at least a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree.

However, earning further credentials can spark advancement in your career. This proves especially true for those who earn a master’s degree in either field.

Here’s a look at both fields.

Data Science

Data science is one of the hottest careers in the United States and around the world. A continued movement by private business, nonprofits and government agencies into the use of data to make decisions has been the driver behind this growth.

Federal government projections call for 19 percent growth in the field by 2026, far faster than the 7 percent average growth for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which categorizes data science jobs under “computer and information research scientists.” Median pay in the field reached $111,840 in May 2016.

The majority of data scientists have earned master’s degrees. The BLS notes that some government jobs may hire those with a bachelor’s degree in a related field. However, those wishing to earn the best jobs in data science will need a graduate degree.

Credentials beyond a master’s degree can give job applicants an edge. Some of the best areas to earn credentials, according to, include:

  • Optimizing Big Data
  • Certified Analytics Professional
  • Certificate of Engineering Excellence Big Data Analytics and Optimization
  • Certification of Professional Achievement in Data Sciences

Also, it is beneficial to attain credentials for working with specific analytics programs offered by such companies as Cloudera, Microsoft, IBM and Oracle.

Business Analytics

Business analytics continue to evolve. The term can cover many different jobs, including market analyst, financial analyst and online marketing analysts. All of them are growing professions.

For example, the BLS lists market research analysts as growing a staggering 23 percent by 2026.

Most employers will require at least a bachelor’s degree in the profession. However, earning a master’s degree in business analytics opens the door to the top jobs in the industry. That includes jobs such as senior business analyst and business systems analyst.

Pay ranges in these professions typically ranges from the high $60,000s on up to $80,000 and beyond.

Beyond earning a graduate degree, additional credentials and data science certificates can also improve career prospects. Credentials for business analysts include Certified Business Analysis Professional and Certification in Competency in Business Analysis. Both are earned through the International Institute of Business Analysis.

The bottom line is that additional credentials can boost your career. However, the first step in both data science and business analytics fields is to earn a master’s degree. That’s the most important step on your journey to a career in these growing fields.