Wondering if a business analytics degree is for you? Sure, you love the idea of crunching numbers and running algorithms all day. You know you’ve got a head for the math and can make a difference at your organization. And you’ve always done well with computers, data science and machine learning – subjects that will help you get far as a data analyst.
But one question remains: Is a business analytics degree worth it? If you get a degree in business analytics, will you be able to pay back your student loans and live the comfortable life you deserve? What, in other words, can you expect to make if you sign on for a degree in this field?
These are all excellent questions, and ones to which you deserve the answer before you dive into a campus-based degree program or an online masters in business analytics. Below we will take a look at what some of the average salaries are for people in this field, how your salary will change in response to certain skills and degree level, and the best way to plot your own academic and career path.
First, though, what is a business analyst exactly?
What Does a Business Analyst Do?
Business analysts wear many hats, explains Villanova University. You can think of them like a bridge between different departments, between different systems, and between employees, clients and customers. Business analysts must have a range of skills, the university continues: “the ideal analyst has the versatility of various business functions, such as operations, finance, engineering, technology or architecture.”
SEE ALSO: How to Become a Business Analyst
In a normal day, an analyst: “works with the business to identify opportunities for improvement in business operations and processes; is involved in the design or modification of business systems or IT systems; interacts with the business stakeholders and subject matter experts in order to understand their problems and needs; gathers, documents, and analyzes business needs and requirements; solves business problems and, as needed, designs technical solutions.”
That’s a lot to juggle. So, is it worth it?
Typical Business Analyst Salary
You only need a bachelor’s degree to become a business analyst. Keep that in mind as we go through the following numbers and positions below. Also keep in mind that with a business analyst master’s degree, you can ake substantially more money, see greater career opportunity and put yourself up for management or leadership positions. That said, it’s smart to get work experience in the field before earning a master’s degree, so in any case you will likely get experience in a job like the following first.
According to Payscale, the average unspecified business analyst can expect to earn $59,466 per year, $3,896 as a bonus, $7,500 in commission and a further $2,028 in profit sharing. Together, this comes to more than $70,000 on average, and that’s before you take into account benefits and perks. Overall, this is a pretty good salary.
Factors such as experience have a significant impact as well. For an entry level career, drop all of these numbers down by about 9 percent. For someone who has been in the field for decades, you can bump them all up by about 16 percent. And the following skills can add even more to your salary:
- Project Management
- Business Intelligence
- Business Analysis
- Process Improvement
- Financial Analysis
Types of Business Analyst Jobs
Depending on the specific career path you take, if you earn specialties, you can make even more. Let’s take a closer look at some of the more refined jobs you can get as a business analyst, and the salaries they command.
As a management analyst, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), you will make an average of $83,610 per year or $40.20 per hour. In this role, says the BLS, you will “propose ways to improve an organization’s efficiency” and “advise managers on how to make organizations more profitable through reduced costs and increased revenues.” The job offers good security and hiring prospects, with positions growing at a projected rate of 14 percent between 2016 and 2026.
Computer Systems Analysts
Here is another role that can bump you up significantly from the average business analyst salary. Computer systems analysts make an average of $88,740 per year or $42.66 per hour, and jobs are growing at a rate of 9 percent – only about as fast as average. What you gain in salary, therefore, you do lose out on somewhat in job prospects, but with a good degree, you can still count on a job in the field. According to the BLS, computer systems analysts “study an organization’s current computer systems and procedures, and design solutions to help the organization operate more efficiently and effectively” as well as “bring business and information technology (IT) together by understanding the needs and limitations of both.”
SEE ALSO: Computer Systems Analyst Salary by State
Operations Research Analysts
Love thinking about complex systems and trying to make them better? You might be happy as an operations research analyst, which “use advanced mathematical and analytical methods to help organizations investigate complex issues, identify and solve problems, and make better decisions.” You can expect to make on average $83,390 per year or $40.09 per hour, with jobs growing at a rate of 27 percent. That growth rate alone makes this an amazing career into which to invest yourself.
Market Research Analyst
If you love learning about markets, this might be the role for you. According to the BLS, market research analysts “study market conditions to examine potential sales of a product or service. They help companies understand what products people want, who will buy them, and at what price.” This is a critical role in any business that puts out products or services – so in other words, all of them. While the job commands a lower salary than those above, $63,120 per year or $30.35 per hour, it is growing at a rate of 23 percent. It’s a great position to use to get your foot in the door and then climb the ranks.
Making an average of $74,600 per year or $35.86 per hour, logisticians need no work experience in order to step into the role. While jobs are only growing at a rate of 7 percent, which doesn’t offer as much job security as some of the ones above, it is an interesting career that tasks you to “analyze and coordinate an organization’s supply chain” and “manage the entire life cycle of a product, which includes how a product is acquired, allocated, and delivered.”
Think you might enjoy a role as a business analyst? Hopefully you now see that the salary can back up your career ambitions, help you pay off your loans and live comfortably, and supply steady room for growth. If that sounds like a career path for you, get in touch to learn more today.
Highest Paying Cities for Business Analyst Jobs
*As of Jan 27, 2020, the average annual pay for a Business Analyst in the United States is $82,291 a year. Here’s a look at the best-paying cities:
|City||Hourly Wage||Annual Salary|
|Palo Alto, CA - Business Analyst Salary||$46.79||$97,318|
|San Francisco, CA - Business Analyst Salary||$46.34||$96,378|
|McLean, VA - Business Analyst Salary||$42.76||$88,949|
|Princeton, NJ - Business Analyst Salary||$42.49||$88,369|
|Washington, DC - Business Analyst Salary||$41.73||$86,788|
|Jersey City, NJ - Business Analyst Salary||$41.00||$85,272|
|Irvine, CA - Business Analyst Salary||$40.94||$85,147|
|Fairfax, VA - Business Analyst Salary||$40.79||$84,846|
|Minneapolis, MN - Business Analyst Salary||$40.52||$84,276|
|Chicago, IL - Business Analyst Salary||$40.50||$84,239|
|San Diego, CA - Business Analyst Salary||$40.43||$84,101|
|Springfield, MA - Business Analyst Salary||$40.36||$83,955|
|Sacramento, CA - Business Analyst Salary||$40.28||$83,780|
|Baltimore, MD - Business Analyst Salary||$40.23||$83,680|
|Sterling, VA - Business Analyst Salary||$40.22||$83,655|
|Cheshire, CT - Business Analyst Salary||$39.75||$82,684|
|Dallas, TX - Business Analyst Salary||$39.66||$82,491|
|Bakersfield, CA - Business Analyst Salary||$38.73||$80,561|
|Honolulu, HI - Business Analyst Salary||$38.72||$80,544|
|Madison, WI - Business Analyst Salary||$38.53||$80,152|
|Plano, TX - Business Analyst Salary||$38.44||$79,965|
|Jackson, MS - Business Analyst Salary||$38.39||$79,851|
|Aberdeen, MD - Business Analyst Salary||$38.35||$79,775|
|Frisco, TX - Business Analyst Salary||$38.23||$79,526|
|St. Louis, MO - Business Analyst Salary||$38.16||$79,370|
|Indianapolis, IN - Business Analyst Salary||$37.89||$78,819|
|Katy, TX - Business Analyst Salary||$37.75||$78,512|
|Reno, NV - Business Analyst Salary||$37.64||$78,285|
|Fort Lauderdale, FL - Business Analyst Salary||$37.44||$77,872|
|Memphis, TN - Business Analyst Salary||$37.36||$77,703|
|Charleston, SC - Business Analyst Salary||$37.20||$77,384|
|Frankfort, KY - Business Analyst Salary||$36.98||$76,924|
|Jacksonville, FL - Business Analyst Salary||$36.97||$76,892|
|Tampa, FL - Business Analyst Salary||$36.77||$76,479|
|Norfolk, VA - Business Analyst Salary||$36.75||$76,443|
|Huntsville, AL - Business Analyst Salary||$36.75||$76,430|
|Birmingham, AL - Business Analyst Salary||$36.72||$76,380|
|Lincoln, NE - Business Analyst Salary||$36.71||$76,353|
|Melbourne, FL - Business Analyst Salary||$36.56||$76,035|
|Virginia Beach, VA - Business Analyst Salary||$36.52||$75,956|
|Buford, GA - Business Analyst Salary||$36.35||$75,613|
|Greenville, SC - Business Analyst Salary||$36.05||$74,979|
|Chesterfield, MO - Business Analyst Salary||$36.04||$74,967|
|Corpus Christi, TX - Business Analyst Salary||$35.67||$74,189|
|San Antonio, TX - Business Analyst Salary||$35.63||$74,108|
|Bentonville, AR - Business Analyst Salary||$35.42||$73,684|
|State College, PA - Business Analyst Salary||$35.06||$72,934|
|Conway, AR - Business Analyst Salary||$34.69||$72,145|
|Lake Mary, FL - Business Analyst Salary||$34.66||$72,096|
|Lebanon, VA - Business Analyst Salary||$33.84||$70,385|
Source: Ziprecruiter.com, January 2020.