There's no doubt about it - analytics isn't just the way of the future, it's the way of right now! Having been adopted in all sorts of different industries, you'll now find analytics being used everywhere from aviation route planning through to predictive maintenance analysis in manufacturing plants. Even industries such as retail that you might not associate with big data are getting on board, utilising analytics to improve customer loyalty and tailor unique offerings.
With such a boom in the use of analytics, having the skills required to work with data isn't just valuable - it's all but a necessity. The importance of these skills is only going to become more important in the future as more industries and businesses jump onto the bandwagon, which is why we're now seeing such a focus on data analytics during higher education.
1. Gain problem solving skills
At heart, analytics is all about solving problems. The problems just happen to be on a much larger scale than what many of us are used to - effecting entire businesses, along with the staff and customers that they serve. The ability to think analytically and approach problems in the right way is a skill that's always useful, not just in the professional world, but in everyday life as well. Venture Beat explains the value of deductive reasoning skills simply, explaining that:
"Being able to look at various pieces of data and draw a conclusion is probably the most valuable skill for any employee to have, and surprisingly it's something that's too often missing from otherwise technically advanced employees."
2. High demand
This is the obvious benefit to learning data analytics, and the one most often focused on by students in higher education. Put simply, data analysts are valuable, and with a looming skills shortage on the horizon as more and more businesses and sectors start working with big data, this value is only going to increase. In practical terms, this means graduates with analytics skills will be able to command higher salaries and enjoy their pick of the available jobs.
3. Analytics is everywhere
Aside from the financial benefits that the high demand for data analytics can provide graduates, the big data boom has also meant that there are all sorts of new opportunities cropping up for talented employees. This could be working in a variety of different industries such as aviation or government, or simply having the opportunity to travel the world. With so many organisations looking to capitalise on data to improve their processes, it's a hugely exciting time to start a career in analytics.
4. It's only becoming more important
As we've touched on, now is something of a boom time in the world of analytics. With the abundance of data available at our fingertips today, the opportunity to leverage insight from that data has never been greater. This will have a few impacts but primarily the value of data analysts will go up, creating even better job opportunities and career progression options. This makes now the perfect time to start a journey into the world of big data analytics, with many education experts pushing the topic's importance as so vital that it should be taught in secondary schools as well as higher education institutions.
This is similar to what we've seen surrounding coding in recent years, and while it may be a few years before we see data analytics as a common school subject, there's no denying how critical the discipline is likely to become in the very near future.
5. A range of related skills
The great thing about being an analytics specialist is that the field encompasses so much more than simply knowing how to work with data and solve problems. Yes, those are undoubtedly crucial elements, but data analysts also need to know how to communicate complex information to those without expertise. These communications skills are a vital part of any career, and with the added benefit of being a central part of an organisation's decision-making processes, analytics experts often pick up strong leadership skills as well.
Ultimately, there really isn't any doubt that analytics is going to be a huge element of enterprises in the future. Getting ahead of the curve by learning analytics now provides a pathway to success, as well as transferrable skills that can help in every facet of life.
Jonathan Osagie is a Data & Business Intelligence Analyst interested in understanding stories that data tells, actions it inspires through analysis & analytics, and the success it brings to businesses by aiding strategic decisions.
Follow me on Twitter - @iamosagie_ng