Bachelor’s Degrees in Data Analytics

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The Bachelor of Data Analytics degree is a four year undergraduate program available across the United States. Sometimes it is under the department of Computer Science, while at some universities it can be a concentration of the Computer Science or Data Science degree.

Why Do We Need Data Analytics?

Being able to maintain large amounts of incoming requires skilled professionals in processing and analyzing this valuable information. In order to be successful in data analytics, not only does the individual need to have the technical skills to make accurate assessments, but they should have a strong background knowledge of the organization they work at.

There are different types of analytics that students can learn in their studies. Businesses will frequently look at information to determine why results have happened in a certain way, such as why certain goods and services have sold well in certain locations or failed to make their estimated profits. This is also known as business intelligence, which can separately be explored in its own discipline or concentration.

Why Data Analytics Jobs Are Needed at Businesses

Organizations will use data analytics to predict what outcomes will be. For example, when it comes to estimating profits, how much should the company invest and where should the goods or services be distributed in order to make the maximum amount of profit? This is also helpful when determining the potential to buy out another company, estimating if the process is worth it in the long term.

Bachelors in Data Analytics Degrees

Online Programs for Bachelor's Degrees in Data Analytics

There are minimal programs throughout the United States that both have a specific discipline in Data Analytics and is conveniently available online. However, there are many opportunities to learn concepts and subjects in data analysis in a variety of different programs. This includes disciplines such as Computer Science, Data Science, Information Technology, and Management Information Systems.

Analytical courses will often be found within the main curriculum of a general data science program. Prospective students should review what programs have further elective opportunities in data analysis or have a batch of courses that are within a concentration of this particular subject. Also consider what regional accreditation that the university has obtained to verify program success.

Bachelor of Data Science Degrees

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Washington State University - ONLINE BS in Data Analytics

The Global Campus distributes an online Bachelor of Science in Data Analytics, which is offered through the College of Arts and Sciences and Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture. When completing the degree, 40 total credit hours must be in the 300 to 400-course level. In order to declare for the Data Analytics, students must have completed 24 credit hours with a cumulative 2.0 GPA or higher.

Total credit hours and coursework included

A total of 120 credit hours are needed to complete the full Bachelor's degree program. There are seven courses in the data analytics major itself, and all courses in the certification process must be completed with a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher. Those include two levels of college-level Calculus, Data Analytics Systems and Algorithms and Program Design and Development in Java or C++.

This leads to upper division courses with topics consisting of ethics in working with big data, how to use statistical methods in research or in the engineering process, and computing with SAS and R programming languages. A capstone project is required in the data analytics field that shows what the student has learned during their studies.

One specialization track in Business is available for students to pursue, which will cover how data analytics can improve various aspects of an organization. This includes how to improve business intelligence, using data for financial accounting, and how to gain an advantage in marketing research and investment analysis.

Western Governors University's BS in Data Management and Analytics

An online Bachelor of Science in Data Management and Data Analytics is available through Western Governors University. This program is fully available to pursue in the online format with an average completion time of two years. WGU has locations in a number of different states, including Missouri, North Carolina, Texas, and Washington, and is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Courses are available asynchronously

Courses are distributed in a completely asynchronous format, meaning that students can complete all coursework at their own pace. This gives plenty of flexibility for students that need to take their time through the curriculum or want to complete the program quickly. Tuition format for WGU, when compared to traditional institutions, charges for a six-month term instead of per credit hour.

36 total courses will be pursued with this degree, and specific to data analysis, students will gain a skill set in the most common practices of the field. This includes gaining proficiency in R programming and visualization the information. Up to 27 credit hours can be transferred into the program, and this can be from other certifications obtained, an associates degree, or transferring from a different college.

In addition to receiving a Udacity Nanodegree, there are a number of vendor certifications that can be obtained, including CompTIA A+, Oracle Database SQL, and the CIW Data Analyst. To be accepted into the program, students must have a high school diploma and meet one additional criteria point, such as valid IT coursework, at least two years of work experience in IT, or holding certification in the field.

Strayer University's Online BS in IT with Concentration in Data Analytics

One of the disciplines students can consider for data analytics is the Bachelor of Science in Information Technology. This is offered at Strayer University online, and they add a specific concentration in Data Analytics. All 40 courses in the program can be taken online, and each of them are completed in an 11-week time frame.

With this program, students will have a deeper understanding of the analytical process when collecting and maintaining various types of data. They unlock the technical skills necessary to clean and organize this information, and these results lead to the optimization of business processes and solving other problems in the industry.

Course Examples Vary

Examples of courses that students will take in the program include Computer Programming Design, Networking Security Fundamentals, Decision Support and Business Intelligence, and Data Warehouse Planning. Other concentrations are available to customize the program in Data Management, Information Technology Project Management, and Software Development.

Students enrolled in the states of Arkansas and Maryland will need to follow specific education guidelines that are set in their state. Only the online format of the program is available in the states of New Jersey, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. Formerly a business college, Strayer University locations are in 16 different states and it is headquartered in the Washington DC area.

Eastern Michigan University's BS in Data Science and Analytics

Students will learn how to manage big data with a Bachelor of Science in Data Science and Analytics through the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Business. They will have an ability to gain various skill sets in quantitative and qualitative analysis that will help business make sense of various sources of information that can help them implement better goods and services with more efficient processes.

Credit hours and coursework for each concentration

A total of at least 124 credit hours are needed to complete the Bachelor's degree, and 70 to 74 credits are reserved for the major itself. The rest of the curriculum consists of general education that is required at the university and 12 to 15 credit hours toward the concentration itself. There is no minor requirement needed as the concentration is a similar path, and all courses taken must be above the 100 level to count.

There are three different concentrations that students can choose when pursuing the degree: Advanced Data Analysis, Theory, and Web Analytics. Advanced topics include further studies in big data with NoSQL databases, information retrieval, and biostatistics. Theory explores the concepts in organization and computer operating systems while providing skills in multivariable calculus and probability, while the web content involves how to gather information from websites and social media.

In addition to data analytic studies, students will need to complete a Writing Intensive Course within the curriculum. Other requirements for graduation include gaining at least 30 credit hours at the EMU campus and holding a 2.0 cumulative GPA. No more than 60 credit hours can be earned in one subject, and a minimum of 30 credit hours that are unique need to be earned in the major and 20 unique credit hours in the minor.

St. Mary's University of Minnesota's BA in Data Analytics

There are a few opportunities to gain data analytics education, including the Bachelor of Arts in Data Analytics with a Computer Science major. While the program will focus on analytics in business, there will be various skills gained in mining and analyzing various sources of information to make better decisions for the company represented. This program is only available at the Winona campus in a non-online format.

Core coursework and admissions information

122 total credit hours are needed, which will take students approximately four years to complete. Computer science courses will consist of various levels of computer programming, database design, and foundational topics in cyber security. There are also six total courses that students will take that directly involve data analytics in a business setting.

In addition to the core courses, there will be six additional credit hours of computer science-related electives or an internship that can be fulfilled. Three more credits are needed in the subject areas of accounting, business, or management.

Admission requirements include having a high school transcript with the completion of an ACT or SAT standardized test. Prospective students should also write a 250-word essay at maximum that describes an accomplishment within the subject being pursued or what goals the student has with the degree. Letters of recommendation are helpful in the application process, but not required.

Part-Time vs. Full-Time Online Format for Data Analytics Programs

There are different paths that students can take when completing a data analytics program at the undergraduate level. For full-time enrollment, Bachelor's degrees can usually be completed in a span of four years. This requires a full slate of courses in the fall and spring semesters with minimal need for summer education during the program, unless students are looking to graduate at an earlier time.

Full-time enrollment does not typically allow for students to continue as working professionals with the requirement of numerous credit hours in each semester. If the university allows, programs can be expanded into part-time, taking two or three courses within each term. By doing this, even when taking some courses during the summer, this can expand program length to five or six years.

With all the general education requirements needed, along with the amount of credit hours usually needed for the major declared, it is recommended for students to complete the program on a full-time basis. This opens the door for further education if the student is considering a Master's degree in a related field. Some institutions will provide plus-one programs where a Master's degree can be obtained in just one additional year.

If neither full-time or part-time enrollment for a Bachelor's degree is viable for the individual, there is an opportunity to pursue certification in data analytics. This can be done with a two-year associates degree or directly through a vendor. For example, Microsoft offers MCSE certification in Data Management and Analytics, which provides expertise verification in working with SQL servers, data warehousing, and business intelligence.

Specific Coursework in Data Analysis

Data Mining

In the analytical process, it is very important to have the skill set needed to gather information from unstructured and structured sources. Students may discover different concepts and theory behind retrieving data, and different methods in cleaning the information for easier analysis. Skills can also be gained in checking the accuracy of the data and determining its relevance in certain situations.

Data Warehousing

Provides an overview of computer networks and storage solutions for organizations to handle big data. These courses may include design structures and best practices for different kinds of companies. Planning ahead for a proper structure of data organization can provide easier access to information and better opportunities to implement new features and innovations.

SQL Programming

Known as Structured Query Language, this type of programming focuses on manipulating and extracting information from a relational database management system, specifically with structured data. There are various types of courses that will explore this subject, including database management, cloud architecture, and network administration. Topics may touch on the history of the programming, different design tables, and positive and negative aspects of this programming language.

Ethics and Legal Issues

When gathering and analyzing information, the process must be completed while following organization and government regulations. Data privacy must be protected for sensitive information toward company matters, employees, clients they represent, and customers that utilize their goods and services. These courses will focus on gaining expertise in the rules and regulations.

Statistical Methods

Knowing the fundamentals of linear algebra, calculus, and statistics, students will utilize these needed skills to analyze the information and determine useful aspects of it for the organization’s advantage. Various methods include knowing the difference between quantitative and qualitative data, linear regression, multivariate statistics, and more.

Majoring vs. Minoring in Data Analysis

When students select a discipline for their Bachelor’s degree, they can emphasize a major during their studies. Depending on the institution, they may be able to select a broad category, such as Data Science, or choose a category that is more definitive, such as Data Analytics. This emphasizes that the eventual graduate has the capability to enter into an analytical position that may involve collecting and organizing big data.

Pursuing a major in any category will typically require around 60 credit hours to complete based off of a traditional 120 credit hours for the whole program. These courses will generally be taken in later half of the student’s tenure. In many cases, students will have the ability to choose electives to customize their major, further gaining skill sets in specific future positions they are looking toward.

A Data Analytics minor is also an option for students that may be looking at a larger focus in a different category, such as data architecture or business administration. Significantly less credit hours will be needed in comparison to the major. Prospective students should note that not all programs will offer a minor in their studies for a Bachelor’s degree.

Minor in Data Analytics

Many institutions will offer students the ability to add a Data Analytics minor to their Bachelor’s degree. This will typically require around five or six courses to complete and will give a quick overview of various statistical methods, such as predictive analytics, and how to manage big data for an organization. There is usually a set of core courses required for all students and a few electives for further customization.

As an example, Ohio State University offers a minor in Data Analytics through the Fisher College of Business. The required courses are all under the topic of business analytics and students will be able to collect and manipulate data, use predictive modeling, and be able to develop successful business solutions with their findings. There are electives in data mining, customer analysis, operations research, and further statistical modeling.

The University of Syracuse also offers a minor in Data Analytics through the School of Information Studies. There are 18 total credit hours needed, which are spread out over three required courses and three electives. Students can add optional subjects in data visualization, data mining, data management, and using social media when analyzing information.

Admission Requirements for Bachelor’s Degree in Data Analytics

In order to gain acceptance into a Bachelor’s degree, individuals should hold a high school diploma with high academic merit or be transferring from a regionally accredited institution. There are usually different requirements needed for these two candidates. For first-year students getting out of high school, they should first select what program of study to pursue, such as Data Analytics.

Being undecided for the major is available at most institutions, giving students an ability to think about what they want to pursue for a year into their studies. In many cases, the curriculum for a Bachelor’s degree is front-loaded with general electives unless candidates are able to test out of a number of courses.

General Requirements in the Application Process

First-year students into an undergraduate program will often need to submit additional items with their high school accomplishments. In many cases, this includes standardized test scores, such as the SAT or ACT. Standardized testing is becoming less of a requirement for institutions, but applicants should review whether these are still mandatory to send.

Transfer students must submit their official transcripts from the school they are attending at the time, and any applicable transcripts from other institutions if necessary. If under 30 credit hours have been completed at the undergraduate level, the high school transcripts will also need to be sent. An application form will need to completed online and there is usually a fee for the admission process.

Optional Requirements in the Application Process

Students should always review the application checklist given by the institution they are considering to study with. In addition to academic accomplishment, other items may be required or recommended for applicants to stand out from other submissions. For example, they can submit recommendations from teachers they have studied under or employers in a related working field.

Common additional items for submission include brief personal essays or letters of intent. This establishes why the student has chosen the particular school to study at and what they hope to accomplish in their career by gaining this degree. There may also be situational questions or the ability for applicants to list their accomplishments they already have within the industry.

Tuition Costs for Bachelor’s Degrees in Data Analytics

It can be a costly endeavor to pursue a Bachelor’s degree at many institutions across the United States. When adding up the tuition of a 120 credit-hour program, costs can range from $10,000 to $40,000 on an annual basis. Prospective students must also consider additional education fees that are charged by the university, and room and board if they are planning to pursue the degree on campus.

For example, the online Bachelor of Science in Management Information Systems through Colorado State University costs $1,050 per course, or three total credit hours. The annual tuition is estimated at $8,400 if the student is taking an estimated 24 credit hours in the academic year. If individuals come in with half of the curriculum completed, the estimated cost for the entire degree is at $21,000.

There are many opportunities to lower the cost of an undergraduate education. First, individuals should consider their options in the state of residence. Many public institutions will have an additional charge for out-of-state students, and this can be a significant upcharge for candidates that are not from within the area.

Students may consider starting at a community college or receive a vendor certification prior to entering a university. They may be able to pass and show credit for general education courses, which are often cheaper at smaller, local colleges when compared to four-year institutions. Many programs will only require a quarter of the 120 total credit hours to be taken on campus where it is available.

Online programs can also offer some savings for students. In the case of nationally recognized institutions, tuition rates may be similar to the on-campus version, but the student will be able to avoid potential resources fees, room and board, meal plans, and more. For institutions completely based online, tuition rates are frequently even lower as there is no physical campus to maintain.

Internship Requirements for Data Analysis

In some cases, students will need to complete an internship that applies their skills in data analytics to the real world. This provides an ideal situation for students to gain an understanding of what potential industry they would like to get into after graduation. Data analysts positions are widely available in the private business sector, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations.

Optional internships offered through the institution should be considered by the student pursuing them. In many cases, this will enhance the networking capability they have and can get their foot in the door at potential companies. While there are many positions available that require the skill set of organizing and analyzing data of various types, it is also a competitive market for these careers.

Internship Alternatives

If an internship is not being considered, students have other opportunities to gain and apply their analytical skills. Many universities provide resources and workshops that will enhance certain abilities, such as improving data cleaning processes and being comfortable with working with different types of data sources. This may include the ability to become certified by a vendor within data analytics.

One example of a vendor certification is the AWS Certified Data Analytics specialist from Amazon. Passing the exam will designate that the individual has a full understanding of the AWS platform and is able to perform many analytical tasks required by the organization. Suggestions for prerequisites include having five years of professional experience with data analytics and two years of working with the AWS platform.

Job fairs also provide a solid opportunity for students or recent graduates to get connected with organizations in the area. Graduates will be part of alumni associations, which increases their networking capability and open the door to further job opportunities that may not have been found on their own. Individuals may also consider gaining further studies, such as a Master’s degree, to improve their chances of getting an analytical career.

Career Opportunities with Bachelor’s Degree in Data Analytics

Similar to data science in general, it can be difficult to exactly pinpoint what data analytics is with there being numerous disciplines available. Duties will change based on the type of analyst, but in general, they should be familiar with at least one programming language and have strong critical thinking skills when reviewing information.

Based on the size of the organization, skill requirements and daily tasks may be similar to more scientific or engineering roles. Smaller companies may combine more roles together if there is not enough information for multiple positions, or they are beginning to implement more data-driven processes into their information technology sector.

Types of Data Analysis Positions

Operations research analyst is a role that can be interchangeable with data analyst in some organizations. This broad position can be applied to many different industries, including health care and retail. They are responsible for improving efficiency within the supply chain and cutting costs, which could involve transferring resources to other aspects of the company or changing goods and services offered.

Having technical capabilities are important for this position as they may need to simulate predictive analysis to determine the best course of action. It is important for them to match statistics with qualitative information that can give them better insight into any problems they may be facing. This can be accomplished with consumer feedback or looking at prior use and sales history within the organization.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, operations research analysts make an average of $84,810 annually across the United States. Some of the highest-paid positions can be found at the federal government, manufacturing processes, and enterprise management. This is due to the importance of efficiency with the supply chain of a manufacturing company, or working with management to find data-driven solutions in the company.

Mining and analyzing information from social media has also given some companies an advantage on the competition. This can provide locational consumer feedback where the organization can offer certain goods and services that are requested. It is also important to determine validity of the data as social media can provide misleading information with fake accounts or false statements.

Machine learning analysts are one of the top-paying positions in the field as companies are relying on the automation of big data. It is becoming very difficult to keep up with the information that is available on a constant basis, and this has led to the creation of algorithms that can learn and adapt to make decisions. Analysts in this position will determine validity of the results and improve the artificial intelligence of this process.

Differences Between Data Analyst and Business Analyst

Business analysts are one of the most popular positions within data analytics. These opportunities often require less programming and technical work, and emphasizes reviewing business data and determining the best solutions for the company they work for. They must have strong communication skills and create influential visualizations and reports based on their findings.

Overall, when it comes to developing strong business strategies for problems or optimization, a business analyst is usually the defined position when handling these responsibilities. May professionals in this position have education in a different background than data science, such as business administration or finance. They are also paid less on average when compared to professionals in data analytics, with PayScale estimating that this position makes an average of $60,562 annually.