Careers in Data Analytics

A data analyst working on computer monitors.

Reliance on data analytics to uncover solutions in business and society is surging. As such, there’s a growing interest in careers in data analytics. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), data scientist roles, including data analyst jobs, will grow by 35% from 2022 to 2032. This growth rate is faster than the average for all occupations reported on by the BLS. 

Prospective technology professionals may want to take advantage of opportunities in this growing field. An academic degree, such as a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Data Analytics, can set them on the path to a successful career in data analytics. 

Data Analyst Professionals: Duties and Skills

Data analysts collect, clean, model, and interpret data. These professionals transform complex data into useful insights. The data analyst role requires key skills, including a mix of the following:

  • Mathematical proficiency and technical skills
  • Expertise in statistical software packages, such as SAS
  • Knowledge of programming languages (Python, R), database query languages (SQL), and spreadsheet tools (Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets)
  • Data visualization skills, which include knowing how to use data visualization tools (Microsoft Power BI, Tableau) to make data accessible and understandable
  • Familiarity with machine learning and industry-specific tools to enhance analysis capabilities 

The more advanced the role, the broader the skill set. For example, aspiring analysts might have SQL, Excel, and data visualization skills and an understanding of statistics. However, in midlevel positions, individuals may need advanced skills in Python or R, statistical analysis, and machine learning. 

Senior and lead roles demand deeper expertise, including advanced data manipulation, industry knowledge, strategic thinking, and leadership skills that are crucial for complex problem-solving and guiding teams. Each stage builds upon the last, preparing analysts for the challenges of data-driven decision-making. 

Beyond technical skills, data analysts need strong communication capabilities to share insights, critical thinking skills for problem-solving, and industry knowledge to contextualize data. 

8 Popular Careers in Data Analytics

While all data analyst roles focus on data, specializations vary. Below are examples of popular careers in data analytics. 

1. Data Analysts

Data analysts turn raw data into usable insights. They start by identifying problems. Then, they collect data from diverse sources, such as surveys and website analytics. They clean and structure data findings for analysis, employing artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance efficiency. Their analysis — from descriptive to prescriptive — uses statistical methods and machine learning to forecast trends and inform strategies.

The median annual salary of data analysts was approximately $67,000 as of March 2024, according to Payscale.

2. Data Engineers

Data engineers are the architects of data management systems, and their goal is to make data findings easy to access for analysis. They create systems for data storage and analysis, including databases, data warehouses, and data lakes. Their work, which is essential for handling vast volumes of information, involves developing software for efficient data sorting and analysis. Data engineers ensure seamless data flow and build and keep scalable, reliable systems for accessing and analyzing information. 

The median annual salary of data engineers was about $97,000 as of March 2024, according to Payscale.

3. Data Scientists

Data scientists leverage advanced statistics and machine learning to predict trends and behaviors. This requires deep knowledge of math models and algorithms. The role combines the expertise of mathematicians, scientists, statisticians, and programmers, using analytics and scientific principles for predictive modeling. Through comprehensive analytics techniques, they forecast future trends, serving as a bridge between data analysis and actionable insights. 

The median annual salary of data scientists was about $100,000 as of March 2024, according to Payscale.

4. Business Analysts

Bridging data and business decisions, business analysts leverage complex data sets for strategic insights. They use visualization tools for clarity, aiding in executive decision-making. Business analysts formulate approaches to solve business challenges and improve processes, creating more data-driven strategic decisions. This data analytics career is crucial for translating insights into actionable business decisions and enhancing process efficiency. 

The median annual salary of business analysts was approximately $68,000 as of March 2024, according to Payscale.  

5. Health Data Analysts

Health data analysts use data from many sources to improve patient outcomes. They manage hospital data, evaluating information from electronic health records (EHRs), cost analysis, health apps, and patient surveys, with the aim of optimizing healthcare delivery. Their analysis helps healthcare leaders make data-driven decisions to improve patient care quality. Their work is pivotal in leveraging data for better healthcare strategies and operational goals. 

The median annual salary of health data analysts was about $71,000 as of March 2024, according to Payscale.

6. Intelligence Analysts

Intelligence analysts interpret national and international data to prevent security threats and criminal activities. From countering terrorism to fighting organized crime, they play a key role in national security. Collaborating closely with governmental intelligence agencies, intelligence analysts synthesize information into strategic insights, identifying threats and vulnerabilities. Their analyses are crucial for proactive risk mitigation and understanding. 

The median annual salary of intelligence analysts was about $78,000 as of March 2024, according to Payscale.

7. IT Systems Analysts

Information technology (IT) systems analysts use data and techniques such as data modeling to design organization-specific systems, such as those for finance or engineering. They create diagrams for programmers and architects to build IT systems. These analysts also collaborate with team members to guide business leaders on the value of computer systems. By analyzing trends and conducting tests, they enhance system performance. 

The median annual salary of IT systems analysts was about $82,000 as of February 2024, according to Payscale.

8. Marketing Analysts

Marketing analysts help companies understand their markets and customers through data analysis. They examine market research, purchasing trends, and customer surveys to develop effective marketing strategies, aiming to connect with customers and enhance market presence. Their ability to translate complex data into actionable insights is key, presenting findings in understandable formats for nontechnical teams. With backgrounds in marketing, economics, or statistics, marketing analysts can drive customer engagement and business growth.

The median annual salary of marketing analysts was approximately $61,000 as of March 2024, according to Payscale.

Advance Your Career in Data Analytics

Careers in data analytics demand foundational education. The online BS in Data Analytics program at Mid-America Christian University teaches students key skills through a curriculum that covers topics such as ethics, programming, analytics management, advanced languages, mathematical modeling, regression analysis, and business intelligence. 

Alternatively, students interested in cybersecurity data insights can pursue MACU’s Associate of Science (AS) in Network Management and Security or BS in Cybersecurity. Whether you’re looking to prepare for your first technology role or advance in your current field, our programs allow you to reach the next professional milestone through flexible online and on-campus learning options, transfer-friendly credit policies, and supportive faculty and staff.

Learn how the technology programs at MACU can help you launch a successful career in data analytics.