In today’s highly competitive job market, students and professionals are constantly seeking ways to make themselves more marketable and valuable in the eyes of potential employers. One of the best ways to improve one’s marketability is to continue one’s education beyond a bachelor’s degree.
Big data is taking the world by storm, and those who wish to aim their career in the direction of data science and business analytics might consider a Master of Science degree in Data Analytics (MSBDA).
Conversely, anyone pursuing a career in business and finance will likely be drawn to a Master of Science in Finance (MSF) degree instead. However, even financial planners and stockbrokers may want to consider the broader technological scope of an MSBDA at a time when big data is expanding exponentially. The narrower focus of an MSF may result in fewer job opportunities in the years to come.Learn More
The Finance Route
Corporations, banks, and various organizations will always need competent, well-trained financial experts. People wishing to grow and evolve into a specialized financial field can achieve their professional goals with an MSF.
“Some degrees give you a broad education on a topic, such as business,” according to Master-Of-Finance.org on its “5 Benefits Of Completing A Master’s In Finance Online” page. “If you get a business degree, you’ll naturally be learning about finance somewhat, since finances are a major part of operating a business. However, if you get a financial degree, you’ll be able to offer niche expertise to any future employer.”
Niche proficiencies, or highly specialized fields, are great for those who have a very well-defined direction in which they’re headed. Those who want nothing more than to work in finance-focused positions may do very well with an MSF. But the niche nature of this degree leaves little latitude for alternative career paths.
Postgraduate financial training involves a substantial amount of coursework including accounting, economics, corporate finance and financial modeling, investments, and business management, according to Johns Hopkins’ MS in Finance sample curriculum. Additional coursework can be selected from a list including wealth management, hedge fund strategies, and mergers and acquisitions, with data analytics curtailed to a mere elective.
Students attracted to those topics and specialties may find an MSF degree ideal for them.
The Data Analytics Route
In sharp contrast to a degree in finance, students with an MSBDA degree have a wide-open field of possibilities in front of them. Big data is growing so fast that new functions and jobs are being introduced almost daily. A master’s in data analytics may appeal more to out-of-the-box thinkers with active imaginations, while an MSF degree is more attractive to those who prefer to focus on the stringent guidelines of accounting and banking.
The responsibilities a data analyst will face once hired are myriad in nature. MastersInDataScience.org presents a brief list of potential business analyst job responsibilities in its “The Life Of A Business Analyst” blog post. Business data analysts may be called upon to:
- Establish business and IT systems’ objectives.
- Identify organizational problems and supply data-driven solutions.
- Conduct statistical analyses, surveys, and tests.
- Recommend process, personnel, or product changes to make internal departments more efficient.
- Invent new systems or alter existing ones.
- Make IT recommendations and present a plan for implementation.
- Act as liaison between IT and management.
As corporations expand their data capabilities and strengthen organizational infrastructure with data specialists, analyst job responsibilities will become even more eclectic. Also, the growing popularity of Internet of Things (IoT) technology among both consumers and businesses will create invaluable data that will be instrumental to business decision-making in the near future.
The overall growth of the data industry is undeniable. Demand for data analysts is rising steadily across the board in technology, marketing, financial services, government, retail goods, healthcare, and academia, according to tech writer Jay Taylor in his KDNuggests.com article, “Advantages Of A Career In Data Science.”
Students who pursue a master’s in data analytics will be exposed to a timely, cutting-edge education in data science. Coursework includes data analytics, database principles, data warehousing, forecasting and predictive modeling, and data mining, all of which can be applied in productive, inventive ways to a vast array of tasks.
Which Degree to Choose?
Job prospects for students who obtain an MSF degree are more limited in number and scope than those available to MSBDA graduates because of the highly specialized nature of positions requiring advanced financial degrees. Also, competition for financial positions is steep. But once employed, an MSF graduate will probably have a long, stable, and rewarding career.
Job prospects for holders of an MSBDA degree, on the other hand, can be found almost anywhere, with new opportunities popping up all the time. Data analysts are working at the forefront of a technological revolution, and many analysts are still defining the terms and dimensions of their own jobs. New technology is being constantly developed with the aim of getting more value out of data, so a data analyst’s job may be completely different next year than it is this year.
Data analytics is a high-octane field that will appeal to people who love variety and challenging scenarios. The finance industry is generally not considered exciting, but it is stable and intellectually demanding. In the end, as with most educational decisions, the choice between MSF and MSBDA boils down to personal preference.
Maryville University’s Master’s In Data Analytics
The demand for data analytics experts lies at the heart of Maryville University’s online Master of Science in Data Analytics degree. Graduates of this online degree program will be fully prepared to enter the workforce as an actuary, data analyst, data scientist, or a statistician.
At Maryville University, students learn how to handle datasets, orchestrate multiple infrastructures, monetize data, and make decisions based on valuable analytics insights. Graduates will have the training and knowledge to combine business operational data with the latest analytical tools, making them invaluable to employers.