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You’re a high school student with a knack for statistics and a keen eye for detail. You’re thinking about a BS in Data Analytics, but you’re not sure if the degree is right for you. We’ve got you covered! Use our guide to learn more about coursework, admissions requirements and tuition costs. Explore ideas for degree majors in data & analytics. Read more about job opportunities, employment demand in major cities & states, and starter salaries. Or skip ahead to our comprehensive listings of bachelor’s programs to start comparing schools.
What is a Bachelor’s Degree in Data Analytics?
A bachelor’s degree in data analytics (or a related field) is a 4-year undergraduate program that teaches students to collect, organize, and analyze vast realms of data in order to solve real-world problems. Working with a team, data analysts help answer questions like:
- How can we use advanced data analysis and predictive modeling to improve our major league performance?
- How can we monitor urban data to ensure that current transport systems are meeting people’s needs?
- How can we change our frontline response to pandemics by analyzing data on supply chains, human behavior, and healthcare resources?
Data analysts love the idea of harnessing big data and using it for the greater good—this is how we can improve procedures; this is why we’re having problems; this is where we can intervene. If this kind of work sounds interesting, read on!
How They Work: Bachelor’s in Data Analytics Overview
As an undergraduate in data analytics, you’ll be expected to complete 120-130 credits of lower division coursework (freshmen & sophomore years) & upper division coursework (junior & senior years). In many cases, you’ll be earning a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Data Analytics. However, our undergraduate listings contain a variety of degree titles.
- Lower Division (Years 1 & 2): The first two years of your bachelor’s degree will be a mix of liberal arts courses and core requirements for your degree in data analytics. Core requirements are often devoted to mathematics & statistical courses, as well as fundamentals in computer science.
- Upper Division (Years 3 & 4): The last two years of your undergraduate program will be focused on your major in data analytics. You’ll be learning about important methods, tools, and concepts in analytics, as well as industry applications. You may even be able to participate in a real-world internship.
Lower Division: Core Requirements/Foundation Courses
At the start of your degree, you’ll be taking foundation courses in data analytics. These subjects are designed to lead to in-depth studies in your final years:
- College-Level Math: To prepare you for complex data tasks, you’ll be required to take courses in areas like Applied Statistics, Linear Algebra, and Applied Calculus.
- Data Foundations: In addition to studying math, you’ll also be learning about fundamentals such as Data Literacy, Data Structures, and/or Intro to Data Analytics.
- Communications: To help you develop your “soft skills,” you may be expected to complete credits in Business Writing and Communication.
Lower Division: Liberal Arts Requirements
Universities will expect you to have a grounding in arts & humanities, sciences, and social sciences. You’ll usually have to take at least one course in each of these subjects. This is a good time to explore different fields—they may help spark new ideas about the use of data and the possibilities of analytics & data science.
Upper Division: Coursework in the Data Analytics Major
Once you have the first two years of learning under your belt, you can get stuck into advanced courses in data analytics. This is where the degree really gets interesting! During this time, you’ll be exposed to all kinds of challenging subjects, including:
- Data Analytics: You’ll be able to tackle coursework in practical subjects such as Advanced Statistical Methods, Programming in R & Python, Using SAS, Relational Database Management with SQL, Database Design, and Data Visualization (e.g. Tableau). Some degree programs are smart enough to cover topics such as Data Governance, Legal Concerns, and Data Ethics.
- Data Science: You could also be taking courses in advanced areas such as Business Intelligence, Data Mining, Big Data, Machine Learning, AI in Business, and Network Science.
Upper Division: Minors, Concentrations & Electives
Many bachelor’s degrees in data analytics will allow you to choose a minor or concentration in a specific field of interest (e.g. Business, Marketing, Network Administration, Information Security & Assurance, Healthcare, etc.). In some cases, you may be able to select your own electives.
Before you enroll in any undergraduate program, we recommend you ask the program coordinator if any of these courses will:
- Help you earn common industry certifications
- Train you in advanced tools & techniques
- Qualify you for specific job titles
This is where you can make the degree your own and impress employers with your tailored approach!
Upper Division: Capstones & Internships
Look for bachelor’s degrees in data analytics that contain real-world projects, including a final capstone where you can use all of the knowledge that you’ve acquired over the past four years. When you graduate, you should have a well-organized analytics portfolio that you can show to hiring committees.
If you’re lucky, your data analytics undergraduate program will also offer internships and work-study opportunities.
Bachelor’s in Data Analytics: Admissions
Almost anyone can earn a bachelor’s degree in data analytics—it’s a field that welcomes all kinds of learners. The standard requirements for an undergraduate program will still apply, including:
- High school diploma or GED
- SAT or ACT scores
- Admissions essay
- Letters of recommendation
For a data analytics program, universities will favor applicants with strong grades in math & statistics, a willingness to learn new technical skills, and a love of storytelling & communication.
Bachelor’s in Data Analytics: Tuition Cost $
Calculating the Price
The total cost of your bachelor’s degree in data analytics will depend on a number of factors. Here are some elements to consider when you’re putting together your budget:
- Public vs. Private: Private universities are usually much more expensive than public universities. If you choose a public school in your state, you may qualify for a greatly reduced in-state tuition rate. However, we should point out that some private universities have excellent connections to employers and offer incredible scholarships.
- Online vs. On-Campus: Online bachelor’s degrees in data analytics tend to be cheaper than on-campus degrees. As a distance learner, you won’t have to pay for commuting or on-campus living expenses & course costs. But you may miss out on a lot of friendships, mentoring, and networking opportunities.
Real-World Price Data
You can get a broad sense of prices by looking at the cost links in our listings. You’ll notice that:
- Tuition for the best private schools often exceeds $50,000 per year.
- In-state tuition at public schools may be under $15,000 per year.
The good news is that your earning potential is going to be strong, even with a bachelor’s degree. Data analysts who apply for entry-level jobs can command a healthy salary. And the numbers will continue to go up as you gain experience.
Worried about money? You could consider completing an Associate’s Degree in Data Analytics at a community or technical college and transferring your liberal arts & core requirement credits into a BS in Data Analytics program at the halfway point. Talk to the program coordinator before you make any decisions. You need to make sure that the university will accept AAS or AS credit transfers.
Which Degree is Best for Data Analytics?
Common Degree Titles
Data analytics is a relatively new field, so you’re going to see a lot of variation in our degree listings. Your bachelor’s program will contain courses from multiple departments (e.g. Mathematics, Computer Science, Business, Management, Communications, etc.). And it will have plenty of unique elements that can’t be found in other offerings.
The most common undergraduate degree titles for data analytics majors are:
- BS in Data Analytics
- BS in Data Science with an Analytics Concentration
However, data analysts come from all walks of life:
- Tech- or Math-Focused: Some have chosen an undergraduate major in Computer Science, Statistics, or Applied Mathematics.
- Business: Others have earned a bachelor’s degree in Business (e.g. Finance, Economics, Management, etc.) and completed a concentration/minor in Data Analytics.
- Social Sciences: You’ll even find social scientists & psychologists in data analytics roles.
Want to learn more about your choices? Our guide to the best majors for analytics students can help you make some decisions.
What the Degree Should Cover
Whichever bachelor’s degree you end up pursuing, make sure it grounds you in the fundamentals of data analytics. We recommend you look for undergraduate programs that:
- Expose you to multiple types of analytics approaches (e.g. descriptive, diagnostic, predictive & prescriptive analytics) and all kinds of data sources (e.g. real-time, geospatial, social, etc.)
- Train you in the most common data analytics tools, programming languages & software (e.g. SAS, SQL, R, etc.).
- Prepare you for popular industry certifications
- Offer internship opportunities and chances to work on real-world projects
A strong program will give you a deep understanding of the entire analytics life-cycle. At the end of your senior year, you should be able to:
- Work with a team to define challenges & problems that can be solved through data analytics
- Source, mine & analyze complex sets of data
- Incorporate knowledge from other relevant disciplines (e.g. financial markets)
- Design, implement & evaluate analytics-based solutions to meet requirements
- Communicate your findings in a variety of settings & contexts
- Make judgments based on legal & ethical principles
Universities often lag behind the real world, so you should ask some careful questions about the professors and their experience. Talk to current students to see what classes are really like.
Career in Data Analytics: Is It Worth It?
What Can You Do with a Bachelor’s in Data Analytics?
A bachelor’s degree is the baseline requirement for an entry-level job as a data analyst—you’ll have plenty of options when you start your career! Thanks to the explosion of big data in recent years, analysts are needed in almost every industry and business. We’ve seen job postings at game companies, climate change non-profits, and even the NSA.
- Technology Sector
- Finance & Banking
- Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals
- Life Sciences & Biotechnology
- Automotive & Transport
- Energy & Utility
Entry-Level Job Titles
- Junior Data Analyst
- Associate Data Analyst
- Junior Data Scientist
- Database Administrator
- BI Analyst
- Business Data Analyst
- Market Research Analyst
- Risk Management Analyst
- Logistics Specialist
Daily Job Responsibilities
We recommend you look at current job postings to learn what you can expect. A data analyst working on cancer research and patient data is going to have a different day-to-day experience that someone analyzing financial trends or credit card spending patterns.
Generally speaking, employers are looking for entry-level candidates who can:
- Help identify challenges that can be addressed through data analysis
- Use a variety of data mining & statistical techniques to collect, clean, manage, analyze, and interpret large volumes of data
- Identify & acquire new sources of data
- Develop & present reports to senior leadership that highlight trends, patterns & predictions
- Act as an internal consultant by conducting ad-hoc analyses
- Organize, document, manage & improve data processes
- Design and maintain data systems & databases (e.g. fixing coding errors)
Communication is going to be one of your super-skills. Junior data analysts spend a lot of time chatting with supervisors, colleagues, clients, and experts in other departments. A solid chunk of the job will be devoted to answering technical questions, providing client support, presenting reports & data visualizations to diverse audiences, and conveying your findings through great storytelling. Employers are looking for team players.
Data Analytics Job & Salary Data
Data Analyst Employment Data
Data analysts are grouped under the category of Operations Research Analysts in reports from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). These are professionals who use math and logic to help organizations make informed decisions, collect & analyze data, and develop decision support services.
- Growth: According to the BLS, the job outlook for analysts is projected to rise a whopping 23% from 2021-2031. The average growth rate for all occupations is 5%.
- Cities: If you scan through the BLS’s state & regional data for this profession, you’ll notice a lot of employment in large metropolitan areas such as Washington DC, Dallas/Fort Worth, NYC, Houston, Atlanta, Boston, and Chicago.
- States: States with the highest employment levels include California (think of Silicon Valley), Virginia, Florida, New York (think of the financial district), and Maryland (think of the DC/VA/MD government corridor).
Keep in mind that cities with lots of data analysts may also have the most competitive job markets. If your school isn’t connected to any employers in these areas, you may want to consider starting in a smaller urban center. You won’t be competing against hundreds of other candidates.
You’ll also find plenty of opportunities overseas. According to a Big Data Analytics Market Research Report from Fortune Business Insights, the global big data analytics market is projected to grow from $271.83 billion in 2022 to $655.53 billion by 2029 at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 13.4%.
Data Analyst Salary Data
BLS Wages & Salaries
For the latest on data analyst wages & salaries, start with the BLS section on Occupational Employment and Wages for Operations Research Analysts. It will give you a baseline number for the mean annual wage.
If you scroll down to the wage maps, you’ll also be able to see—at a glance—where the money is concentrated.
- States: In recent years, top-paying states have included Virginia, Alabama (think of the Huntsville area), Maryland, Hawaii, and New York. But remember that many of these states also come with a high cost of living—Hawaii is a textbook example. So employers are compensating by offering better wages.
- Industries: As you might expect, top-paying industries tend to revolve around the technology sector, consulting & training services, the Federal Executive Branch, and manufacturing.
Entry-Level Data Analyst Salaries
BLS wage numbers include wages for mid-career and senior-level positions. So we suggest you cross-check these data with quotes for entry-level salaries on popular job sites. In 2022:
- Indeed’s section on Data Analyst Salaries noted that data analysts with less than 1 year of experience earned an average salary of $62,376.
- Payscale’s section Average Data Analyst Salary stated that data analysts with less than 1 year of experience earned an average of $58,172. This number rose to $62,285 for analysts with 1-4 years of experience.
Industry-Specific Data Analyst Salaries
Thinking about a particular industry? Do a little bit of extra digging. Detailed salary statistics are available for Data Analysts in the U.S. Government; data analysts at Google, Meta, Apple; and more. You’ll also find plenty of salary data for analysts at big financial institutions such as Wells Fargo and JP Morgan Chase & Co.
Remember, too, that holding common industry certifications may give you more leverage in salary negotiations.
Bachelor’s in Data Analytics FAQ
Do I Need to Know How to Code for Data Analytics Programs (Undergraduate Level)? If So, Which Languages?
No. Any necessary coding training will be included in the undergraduate curriculum. Look for data analytics programs that cover programming languages such as Python, R, and SQL—these are in high-demand with employers.
If you follow the curriculum links & examine sample plans of study in our bachelor’s degree listings, you’ll notice that:
- Bachelor’s programs in data science tend to include a solid chunk of coding & programming coursework. That’s because data scientists are often responsible for inventing unique data solutions.
- Bachelor’s programs in data analytics may focus more on using existing structures & programs to analyze processes and tell a story.
What Math Do I Need to Take for Data Analytics Programs (Undergraduate Level)?
You should be comfortable with statistics & calculus—your undergraduate degree program in data analytics will build on high-school level coursework in these two subjects.
To get a sense of what you’ll encounter, check out the section on core requirements in the Sample Curriculum above.
What Does It Take to Succeed in a Data Analytics Program (Undergraduate Level)?
You don’t have to be a computer science lover or a prodigy in coding in order to do well in an undergraduate program. But it helps to have a:
- Curious & analytical mindset that leads you to: 1) explore how systems and people interact; and 2) learn more about what data points are produced in the process
- Deep interest in applied statistics & calculus—it’s not just about learning the math, it’s about discovering what you can do with it to solve real-world problems
- Ability to take a step back from all the details in order to envision trends, patterns, and opportunities
- Willingness to learn new technical skills for the rest of your education & career
- Love for communicating with all kinds of audiences, including non-technical listeners
- Talent for creating data visualizations & interactive tools like graphs, maps, charts, and infographics—a picture is worth 1,000 words in data analytics
- Meticulous attention to detail
Are Data Analytics Programs at the Undergraduate Level Hard?
The answer will depend on the school, the professors, the depth of your data analytics undergraduate program, and your own strengths & weaknesses. Earning a BS in a technical field is not going to be a walk in the park. On the other hand, you may find that learning R comes completely natural to you!
You can short-circuit some of your worries by:
- Talking over your options and concerns with the program coordinator
- Completing an introductory program like the Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate
- Asking to sit-in on a few classes in foundation courses (e.g. Intro to Data Analytics, Applied Statistics, etc.)
- Chatting to current freshmen about their experience and asking them what they’re finding most challenging
Data analytics is a rapidly evolving field, so get ready for curve balls in your studies. As time goes on, some common tools & processes will be automated; other systems will become increasingly complex. Data analysts are always adapting to new realities.
I’ve Earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Data Analytics – What’s Next?
It’s graduation day. You’re holding a freshly minted BS in Data Analytics (or a related field) in your hand and wondering what happens now.
If you’ve chosen a strong data analytics degree in our listings, you won’t have to worry about answering this question! Your professors and mentors should have already prepped you for the workplace by helping you:
- Build a portfolio of real-world analytics projects
- Participate in industry-specific internships
- Earn common industry certifications
- Take part in job fairs, career seminars & mock interviews
- Attend informational meetings with employers
Your undergraduate program will qualify you for a large number of entry-level positions, so you don’t need a master’s degree to start working.
In fact, we would recommend that you take the first few years to learn where your interests lie. Data-focused graduate degrees are available in a huge range of disciplines (e.g. Data Science, Data Architecture, Data Analytics Engineering, Marketing Analytics, Health Data Analytics, etc.). You want to be sure of your passion before you lay your money down.