Demand for data analysts is soaring, with hundreds of thousands of listings for data analysts on LinkedIn Jobs alone. That’s good news for those who already have the analytical skills required to create and deploy data-based actionable insights to enhance decision-making. It’s equally good news for professionals looking to upskill and add credentials to their resumes to meet that demand. The question is, which credential? One Burtch Works survey found that 89 percent of data analysts with less than three years of experience have master’s degrees.
Earning a Master of Science in Data Analytics can help you advance as an analyst, but pursuing a degree while working can be challenging. What follows is a collection of real tips from distance learners who looked at Butler University’s graduate programs and chose to pursue the master’s in data analytics online. They are thriving in the program and were generous enough to share their thoughts about how new enrollees can court success.
Embrace the Challenge and Stick with It
“Most people in my cohort either came from a background of computer science or business/healthcare leadership. I come from the latter, making the former incredibly difficult at first. Stick with it. It will pay off, and your time to shine will come. You WILL retain the new knowledge even if you think there is too much. It’s tough because it is an elite program. If you are here, you can do it.” – Christiaan Campbell, President/Partner/Consultant at Campbell & Associates
“Take the risk and do it. You have the knowledge already because you know how business works and how to optimize companies’ profits–that’s a big part of data analytics. If you understand financial data, you’ll understand data on a larger scale. So, take the risk. It’s worth it. You’ll love the great community here.” – ZaKavia Reed, Financial Analyst at Asphalt Materials
Lean Into Time Management and Set Your Boundaries
“I’m big on making a schedule. To do that, I set my priorities. I know that I have to go to work at a certain time. And then how do I want to manage my day outside that? I typically get some homework done during the week. After work on Friday, I try to hang out with friends, and then I do some coursework on Saturday mornings and afternoons. I dedicate the rest of my Sunday to church, finishing coursework, and playing volleyball to have some personal time. You must have boundaries. For anybody who wants to join the program, make sure you have those set timeframes and boundaries so that you don’t lose yourself in all of the busyness.” – ZaKavia Reed
Get to Know Your Classmates
“As much as I enjoy the professors and coursework, getting to know and work with the other students in my cohort has been the best part. Several of my classmates currently work in technical fields or data analysis. It’s been really good to talk to them and work with them in these shared experiences, and it has solidified my decision that this is the path I should be on.” – Julia Brooks, Data Engineer at TriHealth
Take Advantage of What You’re Learning to Grow Now
“My role [at my organization] is also expanding. I get to use the things that I’m learning in class every day. I went to my boss and said, ‘Hey, I’m learning this stuff in school. I think it’ll be useful here.’ He let me apply my knowledge and work on projects for the company using my data analysis skills. I’m building models and automating some processes, and the company is very supportive of that.” – ZaKavia Reed
Get Curious and Ask Questions
“Data analytics is more about having a curious mind and a desire to solve problems than explicit math skills—because those can be taught. They teach you how to do the technical things in the program. As long as you’re interested in searching data for answers or using it to guide your organization, this is a good program for you. It’s a significant time commitment, but it’s worth it.” – Julia Brooks
Seek Out the Help You Need
“The first two coding classes in Python and R were a struggle initially. I just wasn’t grasping the logic behind it. But the professor was really helpful. He was willing to meet with me so many times during the week, schedule help for us as a group, host additional teaching sessions, and post additional videos. It’s been really great. There was [one] time I was struggling with an assignment, and it was due the next day. My code wasn’t running, and I didn’t know why I was getting this error. I scheduled time with my professor, and he helped walk me through the logic. It turns out I was on the right track, but there was just something I was missing. He helped me grasp the topic in that assignment and many others.” – ZaKavia Reed