Data Science vs. Business Analytics

Make a Data-Driven Decision for Your Career

As Big Data continues to grow, so does the demand for qualified business analytics and data science professionals. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, business analyst positions are expected to grow 36% over the next ten years — much faster than the rate of all other occupations. And while most organizations recognize that data is a powerful resource, they don’t know what to do with it, leading them to seek employees with both data analysis skills and business acumen.

Often used interchangeably, ‘data science’ and ‘business analytics’ are distinct domains that share the goal of using large amounts of data to understand information and solve problems. So, no matter which specialty you’re interested in pursuing, a relevant master’s program can provide the technical and persuasive skills you need to not only spur profitable action within your current or future organization, but to become an indispensable company asset.

What is Data Science?

Considered one of the most promising and in-demand career paths for skilled professionals, data science is the study of data to extract meaningful insights, which are then used to guide organizational decision-making and strategic planning. This domain is unique in its multidisciplinary approach that combines principles and practices from mathematics, statistics, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and computer engineering. Below are four leading careers in the field for those with an advanced degree.

  • Data scientists analyze complex raw and processed information to find patterns that benefit their organization and help drive strategic business decisions. The average salary for this position is $98,748.
  • Machine learning engineers research, build, and design the artificial intelligence responsible for machine learning and maintaining and improving existing artificial intelligence systems. The average salary for this position is $113,649.
  • Applications architects create and maintain documentation surrounding software architecture, application design processes, component integration, and testing guidelines. The average salary for this position is $119,957.
  • Data architects review and analyze the data infrastructure of an organization, plan future databases, and implement solutions to store and manage data for organizations and their users. The average salary for this position is $127,851.

*Salary data sourced from

What is Business Analytics?

Offering strong salaries and plentiful job opportunities, business analytics is the process of using quantitative methods to derive meaning from data to make informed business decisions. Success with business analytics depends entirely on educated analysts who understand technologies and business — skills that can only be gained through advanced education and experience. Below are four prominent careers in the field that can be pursued by prepared graduates.

  • Business analysts conduct research and analysis to assess how organizations are performing and help them improve their processes and systems. The average salary for this position is $65,573.
  • Analytics consultants gather and analyze business data to provide solutions, improve efficiency, and increase revenue levels. The average salary for this position is $87,448.
  • Quantitative analysts design, develop, and implement algorithms and mathematical or statistical models intended to solve complex financial problems. The average salary for this position is $87,903.
  • Data engineers build systems that collect, manage, and convert raw data into usable information for data scientists and business analysts to interpret. The average salary for this position is $94,250.

*Salary data sourced from

Infographic explaining data science vs business analytics

University of Cincinnati’s Master of Science in Business Analytics Program

Whether you see yourself pursuing a career in business analytics or data science, UC’s Master of Science in Business Analytics from the Carl H. Lindner College of Business will provide you with skills in descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive analytics to take you there. Ranked as the #1 MS Data Science school in the country, we proudly boast a 97% job placement rate, with an average starting salary of $106,000 for recent graduates — graduates who go on to work as data scientists and business analysts at world-leading

Which is Right for Me?

Business analytics and data science may have their differences, but they share the goal of using large amounts of data to understand information and solve problems. No matter which you decide is best for you, UC’s master’s program provides the expertise needed to successfully stand out from the competition and succeed in your role, regardless of location or scope.

Ready to learn more? Explore our online program to discover how you can achieve your goals with an advanced degree from the University of Cincinnati Online; or take the first step in advancing your career by beginning your application today.

birds eye view of students working at a round table with laptops and study materials
Need additional student resources?
Already an online student? UC Online has additional tips and tricks to ensure you are on the path to success. Check out our Student Resources section for what you need to maximize your learning.
Corporate Taxation professionals having a meeting
Helping You Build a Better Business Through Continuing Education
Employee recruitment and retention is crucial for the growth and profitability of an organization and should be a high priority for every business. At the University of Cincinnati Online, we want to help develop and retain your employees through our Business Partnership offering.

Sign up for updates from UC Online

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.