As the world is becoming more digitally engaged, the amount of data available is growing exponentially. This volume of data is providing significant opportunity for organizational leaders to make greater decisions and achieve sustainable success. As organizations become more analytical, using analysis, data, and systematic reasoning to make decisions rather than educated guesses and gut feelings (Davenport et al., 2010), they have a growing need for individuals who can translate data into useful information for the purpose of decision-making. It is this need that data analysts fill. Finding, developing, managing and deploying analysts is becoming a critical ingredient to organizational success (Davenport et al., 2010). A successful data analyst has business acumen, communication skills, and statistical training (Lytle, 2016), along with business domain knowledge, and modeling skills (Watson, 2012). Locating individuals with these skills is currently a challenging endeavor (Lytle, 2016). Often, those qualified to be analysts are spread throughout an organizational structure or pigeon-holed as spreadsheet architects rather than contributing members of the decision-making process (Davenport et al., 2010). As organizations recognize their need to properly use data, the identification of qualified analysts will be of paramount importance.
One place organizational leaders can find qualified data analysts is on the university campus where students are being educated to meet the growing demand organizations have for data analysts. Rated as the Big Data Graduate Program that provides the greatest value, Carnegie Mellon University offers several degrees, including a Masters in Informational Technology Strategy (MITS) where graduates possess skills such as cyber war, computer security, cryptography, software architecture, political strategy, risk management, entrepreneurship, and data mining among other things. An analyst with such a skill set will provide a vast amount of expertise and understanding to any organization privileged enough to hire them in the shallow talent pool of data analysts.
Davenport, T. H., Harris, J. G., & Morison, R. (2010). Analytics at work: smarter decisions, better results. Boston, Mass: Harvard Business Press.
Lytle, T. (2016). Help Wanted: Hr Analysts. HR Magazine, 61(1), 32.
Watson, H. J. (2012). The Necessary Skills for Advanced Analytics. Business Intelligence Journal, 17(4), 4–7.