A Master’s Degree is Key to Advancing in Business Intelligence

A Master’s Degree is Key to Advancing in Business IntelligenceBusinesses of all types are producing and analyzing massive amounts of data thanks to the emergence of collection technology. In fact, data production will be 44 times greater in 2020 than it was just a few years ago.

According to the McKinsey Institute, big data is the primary driver for economic growth, and the numbers prove it. The big data and business analytics market is expected to grow from $130 billion in 2016 to $203 billion in 2020.

As organizations continue to gather large amounts of unstructured data, there’s a growing need for experts to interpret and make use of it. Business intelligence (BI) analysts and data scientists handle this responsibility.

BI is one of the fastest-growing fields, and it spans several industries. Businesses of all types are seeking analysts. A great way to get a leg up on competition and prepare for the field is pursuing a master’s in business intelligence.

Why Business Intelligence is Important

BI is a branch of data science that acquires, analyzes and applies data from all sources to inform business decisions and strategies. Professionals in the field combine internal and external data to provide robust and continuous analysis and produce reports for stakeholders.

Some of the key benefits organizations get from BI are improved decision-making, increased efficiency and competitive advantage.

Industries of all types use BI, including finance, technology, government, politics, retail, higher education and health care.

Career Benefits of a Master’s Degree

People looking to break into BI or advance in the field should find plenty of opportunities.Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports the field is expected to grow by 14 percent through 2024, which is much faster than the average rate of other occupations. Companies are facing a shortage of up to 190,000 data analysts in the next few years, which means the most qualified individuals with advanced degrees can command better salaries.

BI analysts earn an average salary of $71,715, BI developers average $82,126, BI architects average $104,627 and BI managers take home $107,514 on average. While some companies require a bachelor’s degree with several years of experience for analyst and developer roles, most prefer candidates with a master’s degree. BI professionals who develop new technology usually have doctoral degrees.

Pursuing Advanced Education

Obtaining a master’s in business intelligence can prepare individuals for the ever-evolving and growing field. Master’s programs differ from similar quantitative fields of study such as computer science and engineering because they include topics such as business, marketing, communication, economics and management, which are critical to the profession. Saint Joseph’s University offers an online degree program specifically for BI, for example.

Programs offer a comprehensive education that includes practical application and theoretical knowledge. Coursework may include:

·       Operations analysis: the ability to develop business models for forecasting and business analysis

·       Technical skills: technical competence in decision and system technologies

·       Enterprise thinking: integrated viewpoints of the enterprise to maximize organizational goals

Some other courses include business analytics, database management theory, enterprise data, data mining, data warehousing, business process modeling/analysis, critical performance management and predictive analysis. Many programs also include an internship to give students practical experience.

Students pursuing a master’s come from various backgrounds. Though most have an engineering, computer science or mathematics backgrounds, others come from business, accounting or other sciences. Most programs prefer candidates have some experience in statistics or programming.

Data is everywhere these days, and organizations are looking to use it to their advantage. As companies seek professionals to analyze and make decisions with data, candidates with higher levels of education, such as a master’s degree, will be in the most demand.

Note: All salary information gathered in June 2017.

Learn more about careers in data science and educational opportunities.