Data Analyst Degree and Certificate Program Overviews
Read up on degree and certificate programs available for aspiring data analysts. Get program overviews, and learn about commonly offered courses and career options associated with these programs.
There are a number of degree options available for aspiring data analysts. Degree options include a bachelor's degree in computer science, a master's degree in information science and a graduate certificate in applied statistics. Each of these programs includes intense studies in mathematics, statistics and data analysis. Admission to graduate programs requires applicants to hold a bachelor's degree, sometimes with prerequisite math coursework. Graduates are prepared for careers in technology, finance, economics and more.
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
Data analysts work in a number of industries where they gather and interpret data, as well as check for accuracy, such as sales figures, statistics and company projections. A bachelor's degree program in computer science is an option for students who desire to become data analysts because it is a science intensive program that teaches students to manage and analyze data. The computer science major consists of studies in statistics, information systems design and management, programming databases and more. Traditional coursework is combined with hands-on experience working with computer hardware, applications and software. Prospective students typically need a high school diploma or GED certificate to qualify for enrollment.
Computer science courses are comprised of studies in telecommunications, system architecture, database design and more. Students learn about topics such as:
- User interfaces
- Computer-aided design
- Network systems
- Digital networks
- Storage device analysis
Popular Career Options
Graduates are prepared for a variety of careers outside of a data analyst, including jobs in business, technology and healthcare. Some career paths that graduates can pursue include:
- Computer programmer
- Information manager
- Business analyst
Master of Science in Information Science
This data analyst-related program is research oriented and typically two years in length. The curriculum consists of traditional coursework, directed readings, workshops and an internship experience. Students gain critical thinking and research skills, professional ethics and tools for developing information systems. Research and study areas include database and network design, operating systems, search languages and electronic communications. Graduate admissions requirements may include a bachelor's degree, letters of reference, a personal goal essay and satisfactory scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT).
Courses in the program include studies in Web programming, systems analysis, information architecture and more. Other focus areas are:
- Data creation
- Information retrieval systems
- Web development
- Markup languages
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Although specific employment statistics for data analysts are not available, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 22% employment growth for computer systems analysts between 2010 and 2020 (www.bls.gov). In May 2012, the BLS reported that computer systems analysts earned $79,680 as an annual median wage.
Graduate Certificate in Applied Statistics
This post-bachelor's program is designed for both degree and non-degree seeking students with backgrounds in mathematics and statistics. Intensive studies in statistics prepare students to be effective researchers and data analysts. Studies in data analysis teach students about design structures and solutions for organizing inefficiently stored data. Applicants to the program typically need a bachelor's degree and have completed prerequisite coursework in linear algebra and calculus; some schools require students to be enrolled in a master's degree program.
Applied statistics courses consist of studies in quantitative data analysis, statistics for economics and forecasting. Topics that are covered in this program are:
- Interval estimation
- Hypothesis testing
- Linear models
- Variance analysis
- Block designs
Popular Career Options
In addition to advanced careers in data analyst, graduates are prepared for a number of other jobs where they can use statistics and data analysis. Common job titles include:
- Financial analyst
- Advanced data analyst
- Operations research analyst
- Computers system analyst
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