Big Data in Business: Careers in an Expanding Field

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Students and professionals pursuing advanced degrees in business can choose from several careers. A growing field is big data and business analytics (BDA). According to the IDC, BDA revenues are expected to increase by 12% in 2019 over 2018, with continued growth projected through 2022. With a Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA), graduates can pursue management roles across different industries, including BDA. Students who want to learn more about big data in business should consider the Online Master of Science in Business Analytics from the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business.

Engineers analyzing data.

What Is Big Data in Business?

Big data comprises the organized and unstructured data a business receives daily that must be analyzed to have value. Data analysts discover trends and patterns to provide information about customers, services and products. In the past few years, more businesses have placed increased emphasis on big data in their daily activities. This focus on big data in business has generated a greater demand for professionals with strong data analysis skills.

Big Data Careers in Business

As big data inundates more organizations, big data careers in business become increasingly prominent. Employers seek professionals with BDA skills to increase profits and gain market share. Many business careers incorporate big data in different, sometimes unique ways.

Data Engineer

One of the most common big data careers is data engineering. Data engineers design, build, maintain, manage and test big data solutions for organizations. They collect data about consumers to identify trends and create algorithms to organize data and data structures. They must have knowledge of databases, data management and manipulation, and engineering practices. According to October 2019 data from the compensation site PayScale, data engineers make a median annual salary of around $91,000.

Big Data Analyst

Data analysts identify how data is categorized by demographics, gender, race, age and economic status, among other characteristics, to measure how consumers interact with products and services. Data analysts rely on four types of analysis: descriptive, diagnostic, predictive and prescriptive. According to October 2019 data from PayScale, big data analysts make a median annual salary of around $68,000.

Business Analytics Specialist

Business analytics specialists develop and test scripts to analyze past business performance, make recommendations for improvement and construct predictive models to project future results. This role requires excellent communication and management skills, as well as analytical and technical expertise. According to October 2019 data from PayScale, business analytics specialists make a median annual salary of around $67,000.

Solutions Architect

Solutions architects design and manage the solutions for specific business problems. They address business problems by altering the structure of software to meet the changing needs of their business. A solutions architect position requires both business and technical skills. According to October 2019 data from PayScale, solutions architects make a median annual salary of $111,000.

Big Data Business Careers: Necessary Skills and Education

Many big data business careers share necessary skills and educational requirements. Data engineers, architects and specialists must all have at least a bachelor’s degree. They must also have a range of business and technical skills. Big data jobs require a knowledge of data mining, strategy analytics, SQL, decision analytics, and accounting or finance skills. While many positions only require a bachelor’s degree, a master’s can help an aspiring or a current professional earn a higher salary, qualify for a more competitive job or work for a more prestigious organization.

Professionals who pursue higher education can gain fundamental skills and knowledge to help them succeed in their careers. The University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business Online MSBA program includes coursework covering topics from big data and artificial intelligence for business to data mining and predictive analytics.

Students in the MSBA program can pursue core courses, advanced courses and application courses while earning their degrees completely online. They learn about the growing complexities of data in different industries and how to effectively communicate information about that data. Students can also enhance their skills in data analysis and business communication and gain expertise in SQL and dataset interpretation. The coursework integrates opportunities to grow students’ managerial and leadership skills to prepare them for data-driven decision-making in the modern business world. Graduates of the program are equipped for big data careers, with expertise in quantitative modeling.

Begin a Big Data Business Career Today

Students pursuing business careers in big data can benefit from pursuing higher education. Professionals who want to increase their career options and salary potential and students who want to gain a solid foundation of big data knowledge should consider earning an MSBA. Learn more about how you can pursue a career in big data business by exploring the Online Master of Science in Business Analytics from Maryland Smith.


Recommended Readings

The Benefits of Big Data: How Business Analytics Can Increase Inclusion

What Is a Management Analyst? Using Data Analytics to Improve Organizations

What Is It Like to Be a Data Analyst?



CIO, “What Is a Data Engineer? An Analytics Role High in Demand”

Investopedia, Data Analytics

PayScale, Average Analytics Specialist Salary

PayScale, Average Experienced Data Analyst Salary

PayScale, Average Data Engineer Salary

PayScale, “Average Solutions Architect Salary