Data analytics is a branch of data science, but in reality, there are many differences between the two. Arguably, Data Analytics precede Data Science by around 20 years. Whereas Data Science is about the extraction and processing of raw information, including the formulation of answers, Data Analytics is about finding solutions to questions already posed, or questions that have already existed but previously unanswered. Analytics has massive implications for science, engineering, government, and business and commerce.
Analytics can be used to answer the long-term question by analyzing environmental data sets such as sea level, ice melt, seismological events and temperature trends, for example. Unlike a Data Scientist, a Data Analyst will not be asked to build model - sometimes they will not even be expected to produce graphical outputs such as a GIS. A Data Analyst, then, will focus more on the data than on interpretation, projection and analysis. They may, however, be skilled in more technical areas and have more understanding of data extraction.
Courses in Data Analytics
Data science as a general area of study is growing exponentially; there is already a skills shortage across the globe. In 2016, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projected a 30% demand growth to 2026. This means that students with degrees in Data Analytics will experience high demand. Although there are some BS degrees in Data Analytics, most students approach the discipline from statistics and math. Courses of study in data analytics will include a number of courses and modules covering all the broad areas:
- Mining or gathering of data from a range of disparate sources
- Developing understanding of data architecture
- Tools and methods in data analytics
- Big data - what it is and how to use it
- Integration of big data
- Data management tools and methods
Data analytics is as much theory as applied science; each course may vary slightly depending on the focus. There are many options in health, business, regional planning and general studies. Most of these programs will have modules and courses that reflect the focus' unique properties.
Data Analytics for Environmental Sciences
All areas of data science have been used in environmental science for decades. Most commonly, data analytics in environmental science has allowed climate science researchers to examine and understand global temperature trends. Even more critically, it has allowed researchers to examine palaeodata for such things as prehistoric carbon levels and comparing the PPM between pre-industrial levels to today. Michael Mann's Hockey Stick graph is one of the most notable and obvious uses of data analytics in environmental science. Federal scientific organizations have used big data for many years, but the advent of Cloud technology and mobile data means this will continue to be a growth area across all sciences in the future.
New Developments in Data Analytics
As with data science, the biggest developments for data analysis in the next few years is expected to be the continued development of cloud technology, it's cheapness, expansion to provide more data online and powerful manipulation methods. There are already tools that allow researchers and data analysts to analyze more data much faster than ever before. According to IBM, 90% of the data that the world has ever generated has become available in the last five years; that's a lot of information for a lot of people and organizations with which to work. As more is acquired for business, science, commerce, government planning and other areas, this reliance is expected to only increase.
Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) could be large growth areas for data science and analytics in general, but the scope of environmental science is unclear at present.
List of Data Analytics Degree Programs
This is one of a few universities to offer a BS in data analytics. It is operated by the Raymond J. Harbert College of Business and so much of the focus of study will be on business data. Most of their graduates go on to applied roles within business and within government working with big data sets to help decision makers make better decisions with available data. They also offer online MBAs that permit analytics concentration.
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO
There are several relevant options for students wishing to pursue a degree in data science. The most notable are the Postgraduate Certificate in Data Analysis offered through the Department of Statistics. Students will learn to present statistical reports and to analyze big data sets in a variety of settings.
Colorado Technical University
Colorado Springs, CO (or online)
Offering both online and campus options, their Big Data Analytics Doctorate will allow students to develop analytical skills in a variety of settings for application in almost any industry. It is designed specifically for business leaders, government officials and other decision makers create a more effective solution by the acquisition and analysis of more informed data.
Their bachelor's degree in Big Data Analytics is one of a few to focus on the subject at undergraduate level. Students with this degree have gone through to work in retail planning, healthcare, finance and manufacturing. The application of the tools and science to solve real-world problems means students are well-placed for their future careers.
Few degree programs bridge the gap between data science and data analytics, but Georgetown's MS program does just that. Its full title is MS Analytics with a Concentration in Data Science. Students of this college will get the best of both worlds, using science and analytics to foster better decision-making no matter where they end up in their career.
Georgia State University
This university offers a Master of Science course where most of the learning will take place outside of the classroom. They have a strong focus on real-world problems and encouraging students to think critically about these problems. This program is ranked within the top 10 data analytics and related degrees in the US at present.
Their Master of Science in Analytics is an interdisciplinary degree that approaches the problem from a broad spectrum. Part of the degree focuses on business data analytics, but it is not the only area. Some of the problems examine common engineering issues. This is easily tailorable to the sciences.
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA
A collaboration between the Department of Experimental Statistics and Stephenson Department of Entrepreneurship & Information Systems, it prepares students for a career in data-driven decision making. At present they offer on an MS in Analytics; students will study statistics, operational research and big data.
San Diego, CA
This MS in data analytics focuses on giving students the tools to develop practical solutions to common science problems. The aim is to provide students with the tools for a career in applied science. At the end of the project, students will carry out a 3-month capstone project, looking at a real-world problem. They also offer a separate MS in Health and Life Science Analytics.
Northeastern offers one of the largest selections of data based degree studies including those that cover business analytics. Students have the choice to study at a campus or online with a range of postgraduate options including certificates and master's degrees.
Orange City, IA
Offering students a choice of minors and majors as well as a certificate in data analytics, the college examines predictive analytics, data and textual analytics - another growing area that could prove a great resource in the sciences in future, although with a lot of business and commercial applications at present.
Stanford is one of the world's best-known universities. As a global leader, it offers a range of options in the data sciences. Students will find options that cover statistics, data analytics, data science and data mining. Whichever area of study you wish to enter, you will find a range of options tailored to your interests and skills.
University of Alabama
They do not offer dedicated degrees in data analytics. What they do offer is MS in marketing with a strong focus on business data analytics. The student will need to take the relevant minors to ensure employability in the data analytics area following graduation. Students will learn to evaluation marketing campaigns for any industry type through the examination of big data results.
University of California - Irvine
Irvine is one of several UOC campuses offering data science related degrees. Their Data Analytics degree choice focuses on business intelligence and data warehousing, but they also offer generalized data science options too. Berkeley and San Diego campuses also offer variations on data analytics degrees too.
University of Chicago
The university offers a number of options to prospective students including MS in analytics, MS in Computational Analysis and MS' degrees in both healthcare and business analysis. Generalists should choose the former in their applications.
University of Montana
This research university provides a number of choices to study big data from BS in business analytics, data science certificates and master's degrees. Each focuses on the three major areas of study within big data, ensuring the most comprehensive education in the field.
University of Illinois
The Bloomington Campus has a number of choices for the prospective data analytics student including informatics, business analytics and data science. Some are campus-based but others are online only, offering students a range of choice.
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA
There are several options here, although some of them focus on healthcare data analytics and business analytics. Students who wish to pursue a career in data analytics in science unrelated to health ought to consider one of their data science programs.
University of the Pacific
This private university on the west coast offers a Master of Science in analytics in association with their School of Engineering and Computer Science. This broad, technology-focused approach should set up the student for a career in most scientific areas that require data analytics.
Data Analytics - Related Degrees
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