Explore the different educational pathways to a career in data analytics, including college degrees, advanced degrees, and certification programs. Learn about core components of these programs, their duration, costs, and the specific skills they offer, to help you make an informed decision about your future in this in-demand field.

Key Insights

  • Aspiring data analytics professionals can pursue a bachelor's degree from a four-year institution, with core components like statistics classes, discrete mathematics courses, and industry-relevant analytics training.
  • For more specialization and advanced skills, a master's degree in data analytics is an option, offering opportunities to learn programming skills in languages such as R and SQL, and data analytics programs like Tableau.
  • As of 2022, there are 250 programs offering master's degrees in Data Analytics or Data Science, contributing between 8,000 and 10,000 graduates to the workforce each year.
  • Certificate programs in data analytics are generally shorter, making them suitable for those who prefer quicker, more tailored training. They may focus on a single topic like R or Python programming languages, or provide a more comprehensive overview of a topic like data visualization.
  • Certificate programs in data analytics provide an opportunity for specialization in fields like predictive analytics, data visualization, or business analytics, often at a lower cost and shorter timespan than a college degree.
  • Noble Desktop offers hands-on data analytics classes and data science bootcamps for beginners and advanced learners, taught by industry experts. These courses cover a range of topics, from Python and SQL to Excel and data science.

Those who are interested in learning data analytics have several options for mastering this subject. While some elect to enroll in a four-year college or university degree (and then may decide to receive a master’s degree afterward), others enroll in a certificate program instead. The good news is that there are many paths toward learning data analytics and landing a great job in this in-demand field. However, how can you know which one is the right option for you?

College Degree in Data Analytics

Learners who choose to study data analytics in a college or university setting typically receive four years of instruction on a variety of general education subjects (which most institutions require), as well as more pointed coursework in math and science. Upon graduation, the student is prepared with a solid foundation in many core subjects, as well as those with direct application to data, which makes them a well-rounded candidate for a variety of jobs.

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Bachelor’s Degree in Data Analytics

Receiving a bachelor’s degree in data analytics or data science from a four-year institution is the most commonly selected option for aspiring Data Analysts. This undergraduate degree provides students with the essential coursework, experiences, and qualifications that will help them apply for a tech job, post-graduation.

The following are some of the core components of a bachelor’s degree in data analytics:

  • Statistics classes
  • Discrete mathematics courses
  • Analytics training with industry-relevant tools and techniques

In addition, it’s crucial for those pursuing a degree in data analytics to have a passion for analyzing data, as well as an interest in data science. Also, a hard-working attitude is a must to complete challenging coursework and pass exams.

A degree in data analytics can take many forms, such as:

  • Bachelor in Data Science and Analytics
  • Bachelor of Science in Data Analytics
  • Bachelor in Data Analytics
  • Bachelor in Computer and Data Science
  • Bachelor in Data Science and Analytics
  • Bachelor of Science in Statistics and Data Science
  • Bachelor of Science in Data Science

At institutions where data science or data analytics tracks aren’t offered, students can major in related subjects such as statistics, computer science, or another area related to data analytics.

There are both in-person study options, as well as online degree programs available for those interested in pursuing data analytics in college.

Advanced Degrees in Data Analytics

In addition to the bachelor’s degree in data analytics, a popular option for learners hoping to gain a more specialized and advanced set of skills is to pursue a master’s degree in this field. These degrees typically take between 12 and 15 months to complete.

Here are just a few of the reasons some learners wish to study data analytics for a master’s degree:

  • Master’s degrees teach dedicated learners how to directly apply the technical skills they learned in school to the real world.
  • Because this degree is more specialized than an undergraduate degree in data analytics, students often get to choose an area of focus in line with their career goals and electives that reinforce this trajectory. For example, some institutions offer graduate study in cybersecurity, financial analytics, or consulting.
  • Many of these programs teach programming skills in languages such as R and SQL, as well as data analytics programs like Tableau, which have direct applications for work environments.
  • Earning a master’s degree from an accredited, reputable program lets employers know that you have mastered more advanced skills than undergraduate education alone can provide, which may lead to a higher-level starting job or a promotion.

As of 2022, 250 programs offer master’s degrees in either Data Analytics or Data Science. This leads to between 8,000 and 10,000 graduates entering the workforce each year.

Certificate in Data Analytics

Those who are interested in obtaining a certificate in data analytics often opt for this course of study for several reasons:

  • Most certificate programs are twelve months in duration or less. This makes certificate study a good option for those learners who don’t want to spend four or more years enrolled in college courses but still want to receive industry-relevant training.
  • Certificate programs are generally offered as one course or a set of related analytics courses that yield a certificate upon completion. For example, data analytics certificates sometimes focus on just one topic, such as R or Python programming languages, or provide a more robust overview of a topic, such as data visualization.
  • Many certificate options in data analytics are currently being offered in the online format, which makes them a great option for learners who work, have family commitments, or may be traveling. In addition, because many certificate programs aren’t taught in real-time with a live instructor, students can study course material on their own time when it’s most convenient for their schedules. This format often involves recorded video sessions, uploaded course materials, and an instructor or reviewer who provides feedback on coursework.
  • When employers see that a candidate has a certificate in data analytics or a related sub-field, it signals to them that the applicant has advanced skills that may be an asset to their workplace.

The Bottom Line

There are many factors to consider when deciding whether to pursue a four-year college degree in data analytics or to opt for certificate study instead. Beyond the scope of the coursework itself, other factors that may affect this decision pertain to the cost of education as well as the duration of a program or certificate. In addition, four-year degrees are costly at most institutions, which is a major consideration for some students.

For learners who wish to complete their studies in a relatively short period of time, a certificate program is a smart option. Certificates provide comprehensive study options in a much more condensed timespan than a college degree, and often cost much less than college or university studies. In addition, certificates allow for specialization in data analytic fields such as predictive analytics, data visualization, or business analytics, whereas studying data analytics in a college setting would also require completing general education requirements, among other courses not specifically geared toward data.

Regardless of the path you choose, learning more about data analytics is a great first step toward landing a great job in this in-demand field.

Hands-On Data Analytics & Data Science Classes

For those who are interested in learning about the most current practices for analyzing, cleaning, and visualizing data, Noble Desktop offers data analytics classes for beginners as well as more advanced learners. These full-time and part-time courses are taught by top New York Data Analysts and provide timely and hands-on training for those wishing to learn more about topics like Python, SQL, Excel, or data science, among others.

Those who are committed to learning in an intensive educational environment may also consider enrolling in a data analytics or data science bootcamp. These rigorous courses are taught by industry experts and provide timely instruction on how to analyze and visualize large sets of data. Over 100 bootcamp options are available for beginners, intermediate, and advanced students looking to master skills and topics like data analytics, data visualization, data science, and Python, among others. These courses vary from 18 hours to 72 weeks, and range in price from $800 to $60,229.

Additionally, Noble’s Data Analytics Classes Near Me tool provides an easy way to locate and browse approximately 400 data analytics classes currently offered in in-person and live online formats. Course lengths vary from three hours to nine months and cost $800-$60,229.