College: Arts and Sciences
Data analytics applies fundamental scientific principles to the analysis of large, complex data sets. This rapidly growing field needs practitioners with expertise that cuts across core disciplines of computer science, mathematics and statistics and with highly developed critical-thinking, problem-solving and communication skills.
Data analytics includes the set of skills necessary to identify how to manage, represent and manipulate large and complex data stores; how to abstract, model and effectively analyze such data; and how to create quantitative visual cues to help explain and make informed decisions from those data. By making sense of a vast information landscape, data analytics has the potential to—and is already starting to—transform the way we understand and interact with the world.
Students declare a pre-major in data analytics when they apply to the university. To move from the pre-major to the major, students should meet with a data analytics major advisor and fill out the online application form at data-analytics.osu.edu.
The requirements for the major are broken down into two components: core fundamentals and an area of specialization. All students take courses covering the fundamentals of data analytics, including:
- Calculus and linear algebra
- Data mining and statistical learning
- Database design and cloud computing
- Probability and statistical inference
- Regression modeling and statistical decision making
- Software design and programming
Each student also chooses one of the following specializations to learn how data analytics is applied in a particular field:
- Biomedical informatics
- Business analytics
- Computational analytics
- Social science analytics
Course work in some specializations can be tailored based on a student’s interests. Each specialization includes a capstone or integrative experiential component. It is recommended that students choose their specialization early on with the help of their academic advisor.
Data analytics is the most in-demand technology needed according to the Harvey Nash/KPMG 2016 CIO Survey. Students in the data analytics major have a wide array of opportunities for internships due to this high demand for analytics talent in the professional world. Data analytics students have accepted analytics internship positions in industries such as finance, banking, retail, health care and professional sports.
Data analytics students may be interested in Ohio State's Big Data and Analytics Association (BDAA), which hosts hands-on workshops with industry professionals to encourage students to think analytically and create connections with potential employers.
Although it is a relatively new field, data science and analytics has been described by the Harvard Business Review as the “sexiest job of the 21st century.” A major in data analytics will prepare students to work in a wide range of fields. Companies both locally and nationally are actively recruiting employees who have core and specialized skills in data analytics.
Career prospects in data analytics are very promising. A broad analysis of labor statistics, census data and economic indicators by McKinsey & Company has shown that data analysis is now an integral business function and important factor for production in nearly every segment of the economy and that there will be a large shortage of prospective employees with data-analytic skills in the near term.
The median pay for data scientists was $110,620 in 2015 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, who classifies data scientists as computer and information research scientists.
A student graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in data analytics will demonstrate:
- An understanding of and ability to apply computer science principles relating to data representation, retrieval, programming and analysis of big data
- An understanding of and ability to apply statistical methods, models and concepts to data analysis and to draw conclusions supported by data
- Critical thinking skills associated with problem identification, problem solving and decision making
- The ability to apply knowledge gained from one area to problems and data in another
- The ability to communicate findings and their implications and to apply them effectively in organizational settings
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The data analytics major and the Department of Statistics held Ohio State's second annual American Statistical Association (ASA) DataFest competition spring 2017, in which nearly 120 undergraduate students competed in a 26-hour data competition searching for insights in a large data set provided by Expedia.com.
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