Many of us have had a lot of time to stop and reflect over the last year about what we are doing with our careers, and whether now is the time to make changes to make our jobs more satisfying.

Even if we’re sure we want to make a change, it can be difficult to know which change is the right one, especially in the current climate. It seems as though the way the world is operating is in a state of flux, and it’s tough to know which career paths are likely to be good ones. 

Business Analytics is a field that certainly looks promising. There’s a lot of talk about it, and many businesses are crying out for a strong business analytics team. 

Let’s talk about what business analytics is, and whether the current buzz about it is likely to be something that endures.

In a nutshell

The role of business analytics is to gather data on a business or sector and use this information to predict trends. These trends can then be used to form effective business strategies.

A business analytics team will utilize many different tools to gather as much information as possible. They will then organize and store this data in such a way that it can be interrogated and used to create models. These models can be used to make predictions.

For example, a business analytics team working at a clothing manufacturer might have been gathering information on the sale of sweatpants. They might note that their sweatpants generally sell well over the winter months when people are in their homes more, and more concerned with comfort than with looking smart. They might also note that during the pandemic and lockdown over the summer months, they sold more sweatpants.

They could use this information to predict that the lockdown over the winter months is likely to see sales of sweatpants rise even further.

This is a crude example, designed to illustrate the point that business analytics can be used to predict consumer behavior.

Watch what industry leaders are doing

Now we’ve talked a little about what business analytics is, let’s discuss how good of a career choice it is.

Over the past year, Amazon has shown itself to be a savvy operation that is rapidly expanding. Business analytics is one of the ways that they are doing this, and as such, this is the type of skill they are most looking for when they are recruiting new employees.

They particularly focused their efforts on analytics when lockdown first started, as they knew that the way the world was operating was changing. They needed analytics to help them to formulate a strategy that would help them to get ahead as the world changed. And it worked!

Other businesses have seen Amazon’s success for themselves, which is why there is now increased demand for business analytics professionals. Analytics can be used to take advantage of any trend, and it doesn’t have to be a global pandemic! More businesses are beginning to see this, which is why data analytics is a great career choice.

What skills should a business analytics professional have?

If you are considering making the most of the increased demand for business analytics with a career change, business analytics masters will furnish you with the skills you need.

You will need to be able to:

  • Evaluate large amounts of data. You will use multiple different tools to extract large amounts of data, and then evaluate it to come to meaningful conclusions.
  • Make predictions. You will analyze your data to find patterns so that you can predict what might happen in the future.
  • Suggest solutions. It will be your role to suggest ways that the predictions you are making might be used to improve the performance of the business.
  • Communicate clearly and in several mediums. A large part of your job will be communicating what you have found to people who don’t share your analytics background. You will have to be able to get them to understand the benefits of your ideas by communicating them well.

Business analytics is a highly technical role, but it is also one where excellent communication and leadership skills are essential. This is especially true if you would like to move into more senior positions.

What careers are there in business analytics?

Learning business analytics can lead to a variety of different roles and can lead to work in almost any sector. Some of the roles that you might consider are:

Business Analyst (BA). Business Analysts serve a unique function in that they are a kind of hybrid between a technical role and a more business-focused one. They will have a good knowledge of the needs of the business they are working for, as well as a good technical understanding. Using this unique knowledge set, they will analyze problems that the business is trying to solve or strategy that they want to implement and propose solutions that are both technically viable and meet the needs of the stakeholders within the business. It’s important for a BA to be a good communicator, as well as being able to carry out independent research and analysis.

Data Analyst. As you might have guessed from the name, data analysts are much more data-focused than business analysts. Their role is to take large quantities of data and analyze to find patterns and make predictions. Although their role is a lot fewer people facing than that of a BA, they will need to be able to communicate their findings well.

Market Research Analyst. The role of a market research analyst is to use data to understand who a company’s customer base is, what they want when they want it, and how much they will pay. They are incredibly valuable in defining the business strategy.

These are just some of the roles that a business analytics graduate will be able to consider, and there are a lot more! As you can see, a lot of them share similar qualities, but it is possible to carve out a career that is both lucrative and suits your individual preferences and temperament.