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 manage, represent and manipulate large, complex data stores; to abstract, model and effectively analyze such data; and 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 is transforming 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 must complete the required prerequisite course work at Ohio State 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 and public health analytics
- Business analytics
- Computational analytics
- Data visualization
- 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.
Students in the data analytics major have a wide array of opportunities for internships. From industries such as finance, banking, retail, health care and professional sports, analytic talent is always in high professional demand.
Data analytics students may be interested in Ohio State's Big Data and Analytics Association, which hosts hands-on workshops with industry professionals to encourage students to think analytically and create connections with potential employers.
Although a relatively new field, data science and analytics has been described by the Harvard Business Review as the “sexiest job of the 21st century.” Glassdoor, one of the world's largest job and recruiting sites, rated data scientist as the Best Job from 2016 to 2019. Companies in a wide range of fields actively recruit employees with specialized skills in data analytics.
Career prospects in data analytics are promising. A broad analysis by McKinsey & Company showed data analysis to be an integral business function in nearly every segment of the economy. Yet, there will be a large shortage of prospective data-analytic employees in the near term.
Upon graduation, 75% of students have at least one job offer. Another 12% plan to attend graduate school. Companies hiring data analytics graduates include Accenture, Cardinal Health, Columbus Blue Jackets, Ford, Infoverity, JPMorgan Chase, Nationwide Children's Hospital, PwC and Zillow.
The median pay for data scientists was $122,840 in 2019 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which classifies data scientists as computer and information research scientists.
For recent graduates of the data analytics major at Ohio State, starting salaries ranged from $60,000 to $80,000.
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
Students can participate in Ohio State's annual American Statistical Association DataFest competition, in which undergraduate students tackle a data analysis challenge with mentorship from professional data analysts, faculty and graduate students. At the end of the weekend, teams present their findings to a panel of judges and prizes are awarded for excellence in several categories (such as best visualization, best insight or best use of external data).
Established in 2016, the Veeam Software Endowed Scholarship in Data Analytics provides scholarship awards to undergraduate data analytics majors. As of 2020, nearly $400,000 has been awarded to 110 students.
Interested in a career in the STEM fields?
Check out the STEM Pathway to discover the many majors Ohio State offers that can lead to a career in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.