Data Analytics: Jobs & Skills in Demand (2016)

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Data analytics is a hot new career field that includes a wide range of jobs involving some combination of statistics and computing, as well as other skills. The Master’s of Business and Science program published a blog post last year (2015) that discussed the skills sought by employers in online job ads for key jobs, including Data Scientist, Data Engineer, Data Analyst, Business Intelligence Analyst, Consultant (Analytics), and Big Data Software Developer. Overall, the analysis showed that employers are still figuring out how to define many job titles in this area of work, as there was a lot of overlap in the skill requirements for different job titles. This is not uncommon in emerging areas of work like data analytics and data science.

In this post, we take a fresh look at what jobs and skills data analytics employers were looking for in 2016 (like last year, following our 2016 Analytics Career Panel). Instead of diving into particular jobs, though, this time we looked broadly across the nation and the region to see which jobs were advertised most and which skills are preferred across all of these occupations.  Since there is a lot of overlap in the skills required for particular jobs, taking this broad view can give you a sense of which skills may be most flexible and transferable to a range of different roles (and which courses to take!). Using a tool called Labor Insight from Burning Glass, we examined the job titles in greatest demand over the last year, as well as the skills most frequently sought by employers. For more information on how we conducted the analysis, please see the section at the end of the post on methods. The jobs examined here are limited to entry-level positions (0-5 years of experience) that require at least a Bachelor's degree.

Job Titles in Demand: 2016

Across the U.S. in 2016 there were 56,871 jobs posted on-line for job titles that involve data analytics work. Using the same search criteria, this is slightly lower than last year, when we found just over 60,000 jobs posted. It is difficult to tell exactly why this drop occurred, given that data science is becoming increasingly popular across a range of different industries. One reason may be that automation is cutting down on the need for some types of workers. Several employers in the field said in interviews that more software is becoming available to clean data, as well as to do some of the tasks - and jobs - formerly done by statistics experts. In fact, the largest data analytics employer in the region, JP Morgan Chase announced at the Rutgers University Career Fair that they had switched their data analytics hiring priorities toward a software engineering skillset. Statistics knowledge is still important, but with the amount of automation and the demand for more advanced analytics software rising, they are placing more emphasis on software-related skills. This trend toward the IT side of data analytics is also evident in the list of top jobs. The largest number of job postings in 2016, for example, were for Business Intelligence Developers, who generally create the software that allows other users to make data driven decisions.There is still plenty of demand, though, for statistics-savy individuals who understand how to use software to extract business insights.

While demand is spread across many different job titles, the most frequently advertised data analytics related job in 2016 was Business Intelligence Developers, with 4,859 jobs, or about 8.5% of all jobs found (See Figure 1, below). Business Intelligence Analysts, which often use software and their knowledge of statistics, computing, programming, and business needs to help managers make decisions using data, make up 6.4% with over 3,600 jobs. Data Scientists, who often need advanced statistics, computing, and programming knowledge, select and apply algorithms to solve complex problems, comprise nearly 5% of jobs (2,768), while Intelligence Analysts, many of whom may be working on cybersecurity projects, make up 4.5% of jobs with over 2,500 jobs advertised this past year. Software development engineers and data engineers each make up a little over 2% of all data analytics jobs advertised last year.      

Figure 1. Top 25 Data Analytics Related Job Titles Advertised On-line December 1, 2015 - November 30, 2016, United States (N=56, 871) 

These jobs are not spread evenly across the U.S., however.  As Figure 2, below, shows the highest number of jobs are found in the New York/Northern New Jersey labor market. The San Francisco and Washington D.C. areas also have a much higher demand for analytics professionals than many other metropolitan areas, especially when taking into account the total number of people in the workforce. The map and Figure 3 below also highlights other area of the country where there is a concentrated demand for data analytics jobs. 

Figure 2. Map of Data Analytics Related Jobs Advertised On-line December 1, 2015 - November 30, 2016, by Major Metropolitan Area. 

 

Figure 3. Top 15 Hiring Regions for Data Analytics Jobs, December 1, 2015 - November 30, 2016

Top Analytics Employers

Looking across the U.S. in 2016, the business intelligence consulting firm Accenture is the employer who advertised data analytics jobs most often on-line (See Figure 4, below). Amazon.com, the large retailer was the second largest employer, while the third and fourth spots were filled by health insurance companies, United Health Group and Anthem Blue Cross. Deloitte, another large consulting firm, rounded out the top five employers nationwide.   

Figure 4. Top 25 Employers Advertising Data Analytics Related Jobs in the U.S., December 1, 2015 - November 30, 2016,

  1. Accenture
  2. Amazon.com
  3. UnitedHealth Group
  4. Anthem Blue Cross
  5. Deloitte
  6. Oracle
  7. JP Morgan Chase Company
  8. Wells Fargo
  9. Booz Allen Hamilton Inc.
  10. PricewaterhouseCoopers
  11. American Express
  12. Verizon Communications Incorporated
  13. AT&T
  14. General Electric Company
  15. Capital One
  16. IBM
  17. Aetna Incorporated
  18. Travelers Insurance
  19. Motorola Inc.

 

Looking more locally, we see a slightly different mix of employers in the top 10 list of those advertising the most jobs on-line for data analytics. As Figure 5 shows, JP Morgan Chase is the largest employer in the region advertising for these jobs.  Accenture and Deloitte are in the second and third spots, while Verizon and IBM complete the top five. Overall, we see less focus on the insurance industry in our local region, which comprises New York City, New Jersey, and the Philadelphia metropolitan areas.  

Figure 5. Top 10 Employers in the New York/ New Jersey/ Philadelphia, PA Region Posting Data Analytics Related Jobs On-Line in the U.S., December 1, 2015 - November 30, 2016

  1. JP Morgan Chase Company
  2. Accenture
  3. Deloitte
  4. Verizon Communications Incorporated
  5. IBM
  6. Citi
  7. Comcast
  8. Oracle
  9. Johnson & Johnson
  10. PricewaterhouseCoopers

 

Skills in Demand

We examined the top skills requested for all analytics job titles across the U.S. and also looked locally to see which skills were in particular demand in our region. As Figure 6 below shows, nearly half (49% or 27,370) of the 55,933 data analytics related job postings in the U.S. that listed skill requirements expect candidates to have SQL skills. Nearly 30% or 16,389 jobs require business intelligence skills, while approximately one-quarter of jobs require Python and/or Microsoft Excel skills. Around one in five jobs listed at least one of these skills, as well: big data, Apache Hadoop, data analysis, SAS, JAVA, or data warehousing. 

Figure 6. Top Specialized Skills Requested in Data Analytics Related Job Ads On-Line in the U.S., December 1, 2015 - November 30, 2016 (N=55,933 - 938 job postings had no data on skills) 

When we look at the baseline work readiness skills employers expect for data analytics positions, we can see clearly that the communication, leadership and business skills taught in the Master's of Business and Science program are particularly valuable. As Figure 7, below indicates, Communication is the most frequently requested baseline skill in data analytics job ads, as it is present in nearly 40% of the 55,933 jobs with skill requirements included. Writing, Teamwork/collaboration, problem solving, and mathematics are requested in approximately 1 in 4 data analytics job ads. Planning, detail-orientation, creativity, and presentation skills are each found in approximately 1 in every 10 job ads. So, there is significant demand for not only the right technical skills to do data analytics work, but also for "soft" skills like communication and writing (Business + Science), as well as other career readiness skills. 

Figure 7. Top Baseline Skills Requested in Data Analytics Related Job Ads On-Line in the U.S., December 1, 2015 - November 30, 2016 (N=55,933 - 938 job postings had no data on skills) 

If you are curious about the software skills most commonly requested in job ads, Figure 8 shows that, in addition to the skills shown in Figure 5, skills in Tableau, R, Oracle, and Microsoft PowerPoint can be valuable skills for landing a job. Tableau was present in about 17% of the 55,933 job ads with skills listed, while R, Oracle, and PowerPoint were each listed in between 12-13% of job ads. 

Figure 7. Top Software Skills Requested in Data Analytics Related Job Ads On-Line in the U.S., December 1, 2015 - November 30, 2016 (N=55,933 - 938 job postings had no data on skills) 

Focusing on the local job market in the New York/ New Jersey/ Philadelphia, PA area, we found a similar mix of skills required, in terms of the percentage of job ads in which skills occur. To get a different view, Figure 8 below ranks the top skills for data analytics jobs in the region by their location quotient, which highlights the relative importance of these skills in the region compared to the U.S. as a whole. A location quotient above one indicates a higher than average demand for the skill in our local area compared to the nation as a whole. Economics tops the list with a location quotient of 2.4 - showing there is more than twice the demand for this skill in our region as there is across the U.S. This most likely represents the high concentration of finance firms, such as JP Morgan Chase, in the area. Microsoft PowerPoint and Excel, Optimization, SAS, Data Visualization, and R all share a location quotient of 2 or above in this area, making these important skills to be competitive in this job market. In fact, all of the skills on the list below share location quotients above 1, making them valuable skills to have in the regional job market.  

Figure 8. Top Specific Skills Requested in Data Analytics Related Job Ads On-Line in the New York/ New Jersey/ Philadelphia, PA Region, December 1, 2015 - November 30, 2016 (N=55,933 - 938 job postings had no data on skills) 

Conclusions

While there has been a slight decrease in the total number of jobs available in the data analytics field compared to last year, the field is still on track to grow overall as more businesses begin to see the value of investing in understanding their data.  This analysis showed that the mix of jobs in demand was similar to last year, with Business Intelligence Developers and Business Intelligence Analysts topping the list of in-demand jobs. Demand for data analytics jobs is highest in the New York/ Northern New Jersey area, providing plenty of opportunity for Master's of Business and Science students who want to work in the area after graduation. While consulting and health insurance carriers comprise the largest employers nationally, in the New York/ New Jersey/ Philadelphia, PA region, a financial firm, JP Morgan Chase, as well as business consulting firms, top the list of large employers and there is less focus on insurance in the region. 

When examining skills needed for data analytics jobs it is clear that technical skills such as SQL, Microsoft Excel, and Python are commonly requested, but business and communication skills are also highly valued by employers. Communication, writing, problem solving and other career readiness skills were nearly as common in job ads as more technical skills, indicating employers are seeking well rounded professionals. In the local region, employer place a particular premium on some important skills, including economics, Microsoft products, and optimization. 

According to the program's Director, Professor Deborah Silver, "The Master's of Business and Science program concentration in Data Science and Analytics is designed to provide students with the full range of technical, business, leadership and communication skills they need to enter and advance within a wide array of in-demand data analytics roles. We design our curriculum based on the trends we see in data like the Burning Glass job ads data, as well as in-depth discussions with employers in the field. Our goal is to equip students to solve real-world business problems using data analytics and data science methods, as well as give students the education they need to communicate about their work effectively with business leaders, clients, and co workers of all types." 

Methods

To do this analysis, we used a tool called Labor Insight from Burning Glass. It allows you to mine data from on-line job postings so you can see trends in the job market, such as job titles and skills in high demand and where jobs are concentrated, among other things. Because many jobs are posted several times in different places online, the system uses several methods to eliminate as many duplicate postings as possible (See here for more information: http://burning-glass.com(link is external)). To get to the interesting information, Labor Insight breaks up all the pieces of the job description into fields that can be analyzed.

This analysis included on-line data analytics job postings. We examined jobs posted from December 1, 2016- November 30, 2016. To help students and other entry-level job seekers, we limited the analysis to jobs requiring at least a Bachelor’s degree and 5 years or less experience.

While this analysis can show you important trends in the job market, there are limitations. Not all jobs are advertised on-line and not all of those on-line are captured by Burning Glass. The unstructured nature of job ads can make it difficult for the system to identify individual pieces of information effectively in some cases. So, there may be some irrelevant jobs caught in the net and some relevant jobs may get left out. Overall, however, I hope that this analysis of “real-time” jobs data gives you a basic understanding of what is in demand in your area of interest.

See here for our related posts:

By the Numbers (2015)
Hot Job Topics (2015)