How to Become a Data Analytics Manager

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Think about all the data you use, provide, or come in contact with on a daily basis: recent purchases, browsing history, social media interactions, online ads, mobile apps, fitness trackers, product recommendations — the list is practically endless.

Data is everywhere, and companies are looking to track and analyze this valuable information for a variety of reasons: to learn more about their competitors and their customers, to see what is (and isn’t) selling, and to predict the latest trends. In fact, within the last few years, companies have been spending upwards of $180 billion on the analysis of big data, and according to CareerFoundry, the big market data is expected to be worth $229.4 billion by 2025.

The question then becomes — who are the skilled professionals analyzing all these data sets? That’s where the role of data analytics manager comes in.

If you’re in an entry-level or mid-level data analytics role with managerial aspirations, this career guide is for you. It’s also helpful if you’re looking for more information about different positions within the popular field of data analytics.

Keep reading to learn more about the data analytics manager position, including typical responsibilities, career possibilities, technical and business skills needed — and much more.

What Is a Data Analytics Manager?

Good question! A data analytics manager leads a team of data professionals. This is common in larger businesses and organizations but not as much in smaller companies where there isn’t a need for a managerial position. A data analytics manager not only needs to possess advanced technical data science skills but also key project management and leadership experience.

What Does a Data Analytics Manager Do?

Here’s a comprehensive job description courtesy of Discover Data Science:

“The data analytics manager coordinates the different tasks that must be completed by their team for a big data project. Tasks may include researching and creating effective methods to collect data, analyzing information, and recommending solutions to a business. The data analytics manager motivates the data specialists to complete projects efficiently.

Data analytics managers communicate with managers in different departments in a company in order to strategize and align goals. They must also manage project forecasts and schedules for future developments, and implement technological improvements of a company’s databases.”

Where Do Data Analytics Managers Work?

The short answer — practically everywhere! Have you encountered product recommendations or dynamic pricing on Amazon? Do you use a loyalty rewards app that tracks your purchases and offers free products or discounts when you hit a certain threshold? All of that is due to data science and data analytics.

The bottom line — most, if not all, industries use data analytics in some capacity. Some of the top industries include finance, business intelligence, transportation, entertainment, healthcare, retail, entertainment, and telecommunications.

But no matter which industry you’re interested in, there’s a good chance a data analytics manager position is available.

6 Types of Data Analytics Manager Careers

Even though this guide focuses on data analytics managers, you’ll likely come across a variety of data-related positions in your job search. Here are some others to keep in mind:

  • Management analystThis type of analyst strives to improve efficiency for a business or organization. Also called management consultants, a person in this position looks for ways to improve and makes recommendations based on his or her findings.
  • Business intelligence (BI) analystA BI analyst is responsible for transforming data into insights that drive value for their organization and communicating such opportunities to company leaders and decision-makers.
  • Operations research analyst Rated within the top 20 of U.S. News & World Report’s list of 100 Best Jobs, professionals in these positions are described as “high-level problem solvers who use advanced techniques, such as optimization, data mining, statistical analysis and mathematical modeling, to develop solutions that help businesses and organizations operate more efficiently and cost-effectively.”
  • Data engineer Data engineers try to make use of data sets by finding trends and developing algorithms. This is a highly technical position, but good communication and project management skills are usually required.
  • Data architectData architects create and oversee the large-scale management plan for a company or organization’s current and future data. Through these “blueprints,” data architects ensure that data is always clean, accessible, and secure.
  • Data scientistRanked within the top 10 of U.S. News & World Report’s list of Best Technology Jobs, data scientists typically possess a combination of coding, math, statistics, analytical, and machine learning skills.

Data Analytics Manager Education Requirements

It will depend on the company and the specific position, but in many cases, an advanced degree is preferred — if not required — for a data analytics manager role.

One of the main reasons is that a master’s degree can offer candidates leadership and project management experience, which is often required for more senior-level positions.

Discover Data Science explains that a Master of Business Administration is a popular choice, in addition to degrees in data science, data analytics, mathematics, statistics, and computer science.

Key Technical Skills for Data Analytics Managers

If you’re interested in data analytics, here’s a list of some of the most desired technical skills:

  • Proficiency in programming languages (R, Python, Java, etc.)
  • Knowledge of SQL and NoSQL database systems
  • Knowledge and experience with data visualization tools and operating systems
  • Machine learning experience
  • Data mining
  • Data architecture

Key Business Skills for Data Analytics Managers

There is more to a data analytics manager position than just technical skills. Since this is a managerial position, it’s expected that you will demonstrate solid leadership and excellent communication. Here are some skills you will likely need to succeed:

  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Ability to meet deadlines
  • Project management skills
  • Organization
  • Good written and verbal communication skills
  • Critical thinking
  • Problem-solving

Top Certifications for Data Analytics Managers

Obtaining a certification shows you are interested in furthering your data analytics education. In some cases, certifications may be required, depending on the position. Here are some of the most popular ones to keep in mind:

Data Analytics Manager Salary & Career Outlook

The outlook for all types of data-related jobs is extremely promising. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, management analysts earned an average of $93,000 in 2021; the highest 10 percent earned more than $160,000. Employment for this position is expected to grow 14 percent from 2020 to 2030.

Here are some additional numbers to keep in mind:

  • PayScale — The average analytics manager salary is around $100,200 a year Comparably — The average data analytics manager makes $117,700 a year (with those in San Francisco making around $135,000)

It’s important to note that salaries are dynamic and may fluctuate daily.

Top Companies Hiring Data Analytics Managers

If you’re interested in a career in data analytics, there is no shortage of available jobs across a wide variety of industries. A recent search on LinkedIn revealed more than 20,000 job postings — with more being added every day. Here is a sample of some top companies and organizations that are hiring for these types of positions:

  • American Chemical Society
  • Verizon
  • Microsoft
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Salesforce
  • Proctor & Gamble
  • Fidelity Investments
  • Major League Baseball
  • DraftKings, Inc.
  • Starbucks
  • Adidas
  • Patagonia
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Boston Medical Center
  • Deloitte

5 Reasons You Should Pursue a Data Analytics Management Career

Are you interested but not quite sure if a data analytics manager position is right for you? Consider these reasons to explore this popular career path:

  • Ability to help a business grow and succeed. This position is often instrumental in using data to transform business practices and help companies and organizations meet their goals.
  • Opportunity to manage and lead a team. This managerial position offers direct leadership and management experience.
  • Positive job outlook. As we’ve mentioned, any type of data-related career is a popular one. There’s no shortage of open positions.
  • High-paying salaries. Many managerial positions offer well into the six-figures. Plus, gaining additional credentials, education, and experience may put you in a better position for salary negotiation.
  • Have the chance to combine your knowledge and experience into a meaningful role. Data analytics managers use a combination of math, statistics, data science, and computer science.

5 Steps to Becoming a Data Analytics Manager

Here is a general overview of how most people become data analytics managers.

  1. Earn your undergraduate degree in a related field. Computer science, business, statistics, and information technology are all popular choices.
  2. Obtain an internship or entry-level position. Get your foot in the door with an entry-level data analyst (or related) position. Internships and IT assistant positions may also be a good first step.
  3. Earn at least one professional certification. Figure out which certifications align with your career goals.
  4. Consider an advanced degree. If you’re eyeing more managerial positions, a master’s degree could be the ticket you need to gain experience and set you apart from other candidates. Many programs offer flexibility so you can continue working while you further your education.
  5. Apply for data analytics manager positions. Since this is more of a senior-level role, you need experience, though exactly how much will vary by company. In the job postings we examined, you typically need at least a few years of management experience and at least 4–6 years of technical/analytics experience.

FAQs About Data Analytics Manager Careers

How much do data analytics managers make?

It depends on a number of factors, including the specifics of the position, the company, and where the job is physically located. In general, data analytics managers make around $100,000.

How much experience do I need?

This is not an entry-level position. You will need some experience — typically at least a few years of managerial experience and 4–6 years of technical/data-related experience.

Do I need a master’s degree to become a data analytics manager?

In many cases it’s preferred, if not required. Either way, a master’s degree is a great opportunity to further your education and show potential employers you’re serious about growing in the field of data analytics. Plus, it just might be the thing that sets you apart from other candidates.

This information was brought to you by the University of San Diego’s Master of Science in Applied Data Science. This program is designed to equip graduates with the technical strategies and skills they will need to apply powerful, modern analytical tools to real-world applications. Designed to be completed in 20 months, this advanced degree is ideally suited to those with a background in science, mathematics, engineering, or technology but is also structured to train those from other backgrounds who are motivated to transition into data science.

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