Study: Desired Skills for Business Analysts


I recently let my students look up job perspectives for business analysts. In March 2016 there were more than 72,000 jobs in the field of business analytics posted on LinkedIn alone; surely business analysts and data scientists are in demand. In 2011, or 5 years ago, McKinsey estimated that there will be a need for 140 to 190 thousand more deep analytical positions and more than 1.5 million additional data-savvy managers to take full advantage of big data in the United States alone (Manyika et al. 2011).

This situation led to an increasing number of new degrees – undergraduate and graduate programs – in data science and business analytics and, like so many other universities, Trinity University has also recently added a major in Business Analytics and Technology (BAT). What the programs have in common is the vision of preparing the aspirants in analytics in a more and more data-driven economy. Here is where the similarities end. There are various approaches to how this goal can be achieved, depending on the department that is hosting the program. While this is not a bad thing, one question arises frequently when talking to students: What do I need to know in order to get a job in the data analytics market? Looking at this question, the answer might be obvious at first, however, upon further examination, the question is more difficult to answer than it might appear. There is only so much you can study, especially when getting a bachelor’s degree, so what should you focus on?, what gives you the best starting position?, and what prepares you best for a career in this field? There are, first of all all, the different statistical models. Surely you need to have more knowledge in statistics than basic descriptive statistics, but do you really need to understand complex multivariate analysis models as an undergrad student in a business school? And what about software? Should you learn SPSS, SAS, or packages like R, Python, or Julia, which are becoming more popular? What about Hadoop, Pig, Hive, HANA, Cognos, Tableau, etc.? And while already wondering about all of this, what about professional skills like presentation, technical writing, etc? Not to mention the business domain knowledge.

Since all of this is very unclear and there is no study about it out there, Trinity students have created a survey to assess the needs and requirements of companies in regard to business analytics.

If you work in, hire, or manage those in business analytics, please take a few minutes to share your insights to improve Trinity University’s business analytics program and help students to better prepare for a career in business analytics. The survey takes on average less than 5 min and the students and I really appreciate your feedback. We would also like to ask you to share this survey with as many people as possible so we can get the broadest picture possible.

You can start the survey here:

We will share the results as soon as we have them available. If you have any questions regarding the survey or the academic program at Trinity University, please feel free to contact me ( Thank you so much for your help.


Manyika, J; Chui, M.; Brown, B.; Bughin, J; Hobbs, R.; Roxburgh, C.; Byers, A. H. (2011): Big data: The next frontier for innovation, competition, and productivity. White paper McKinsey Global Institute.

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