By Scott Wilson
Business analytics is revolutionizing every industry in the world today. Executives capable of taking advantage of the deep streams of data originating from digital tracking and operations offers unprecedented opportunities for:
- Increasing business efficiency
- Getting ahead of looming problems
- Jumping through the product lifecycle to outpace the competition
But many businesses have a problem when it comes to actually using the advanced analytics capabilities built into their systems: there are relatively few professionals with the proper training to analyze and act on that data.
Just about every business degree offered today includes at least some business analytics coursework. But that’s no help for anyone who has already graduated. And the complexity of business analytics means that additional study is often required to truly master the field.
This is the perfect case for going back to earn a certificate in advanced business analytics or business analytics leadership.
The Difference Between a Certificate and Certification Matters in Analytics Careers
Certificate programs in advanced business analytics and leadership sound like they must be related to important industry certifications in the field, but that’s not the case. There is a big difference between certificates and certifications.
A certificate program offers an education in the field; a certification is a way of proving that you have learned what was taught.
Like other tech-heavy fields, there are many relevant certifications available in business analytics or related areas:
- Certification in Business Data Analytics (CBDA)
- Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP)
- Certificate Foundation Level Business Analyst (CFLBA)
- Professional in Business Analysis (PBA)
These certifications are offered by third-party professional organizations like the Project Management Institute, which require a combination of educational background, experience, and often rigorous testing to certify you.
A certification is a great way to prove your chops… but only after you earn a degree or graduate certificate in business analytics from a college or university.
Advanced Business Analytics and Leadership Certificates Open New Job Opportunities in Any Industry
Certificates are useful for either improving your promotion or advancement opportunities from your current position, or to re-skill and take your career in a new direction.
For current managers or executives, an advanced analytics and leadership certificate puts you in a position to be the person with all the answers in your organization when the big questions come up about big data. It’s a natural fit for anyone working in:
- Market research analysis
- Management analysis
- Computer and information systems management
- Strategic leadership
If you’re not already in one of those roles, a certificate offers a quick boost to your credentials to land one of those jobs.
Expect a Salary Boost From a Certificate in Advanced Business Analytics or Leadership
In many cases, building up your expertise toward those kinds of jobs is also going to be building your compensation. In a hot field like data analytics, demand outstrips supply for qualified professionals. And as any business student learns on day one, low supply and high demand leads to rising prices.
How much of a bump can you expect for your certificate? It’s going to depend on where you are starting out. But the types of jobs associated with advanced business analytics and leadership paid the following median salary levels in 2021 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
- Management analysts – $93,000
- Computer and information systems managers – $159,010
- Top Executives – $98,980
Of course, a certificate alone isn’t enough to qualify you for these jobs. You’ll also have to depend on your college degree. An MBA graduate with a business analytics and leadership certificate is going to land a more prestigious position with a higher salary than someone with the cert and only a bachelor’s degree, for example.
Picking the Right Advanced Business Analytics or Analytics Leadership Certificate Program
Certificates are common in the IT and big data world, which changes too quickly for traditional higher education to keep up. In the past, they were most commonly offered by private for-profit educational companies, which specialized in tech training.
Today, however, traditional business schools are catching up quickly. Many certificate programs in advanced business analytics and leadership are actually offered by universities and comprised of some of the same college courses that are part of their MBA or BBA programs.
That means you can rely on the reputation and academic credentials of some big-name schools for this kind of training. And it also means you should consider some of the same factors that you would in selecting a degree program in business:
- Quality of instructors – Faculty with recent experience in the field and active research projects in data analysis are who you want to be learning from in this active specialty area.
- Business and professional ties – Schools with strong ties to industries with big data needs and expertise make it more likely you’ll work on real-world use cases to build your knowledge.
- Resources and support – Similarly, schools that have strong support for computational resources and offer access to cutting-edge lab tools offer state-of-the-art training.
- Specialty accreditation – Business schools accredited by one of the big three specialty business accreditors (AACSB, IACBE, ACBSP) have the stamp of approval from the business community.
How Certificates in Business Analytics Prepare You for New Responsibilities in High-tech Jobs
Certificate programs offer a highly focused dose of information in a short period of time at a relatively affordable cost. Although the per-credit costs may be similar to what you would pay at the college toward any degree, these programs have only a handful of courses and may only award between five and fifteen credits… much cheaper than a degree.
You can typically complete them in only a few months. Many are offered on a part-time basis, giving you more flexible options for scheduling.
Online Certificate Programs Offer the Ultimate in Flexibility
In this day and age, most business analytics and leadership certificate programs are offered online. It’s a good fit for any kind of post-degree studies, one that makes it easy for you to work your education around your lifestyle and job.
That’s because online certificates are typically conducted in a largely asynchronous format, where course materials and lectures are available for you via 24/7 streaming. You can work on assignments at any time, and upload them within the program timeframe for review and grading. Online discussion boards and real-time chats keep you connected with instructors and fellow students for questions and discussions.
So, if you are jammed up during the workday with your already busy career, and have a family to take care of after work, online certificates are still an option for you. Watch a lecture on your phone at your kid’s soccer practice; complete an assignment and send it off just before breakfast. In a few months, you’ll have new tools and knowledge without having to put your life on hold.
A Focused Curriculum Fills in the Gaps in Your Analytics Knowledge
The coursework you will complete in certificate programs is often identical to what you would find in a concentration in business analytics and leadership. It bridges the gap between strategic leadership training and the detailed, in-the-trenches understanding of modern data analytics tools like:
- Python and SQL
- Data visualization tools
- Big data mining
You’ll learn how to approach the problem of unstructured or unreliable data, how to merge and make use of disparate data types, and how to polish and present analysis to other business leaders for strategic decision making.
Along the way, your leadership skills will be polished through a thorough understanding of the unique skillsets data science professionals develop. Coursework in information strategy and case studies in executive use of analytics helps you plan how to use the vast powers of analysis that are available. And you’ll develop the language and understanding of data analytics techniques to get what you need from the professionals you lead.
Executives without a firm understanding of analytics and the role it plays in modern business will soon be left behind. A certificate program in advanced business analytics and leadership can keep you well ahead of the curve.
2021 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary and job market figures for Computer and Information Systems Managers, Top Executives, Market Research Analysts, and Management Analysts represent national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed in September 2022.