How to Learn Data Analytics

By CSU Global - August 18th, 2021

Woman Learning Data Analytics

Recently, we explored what data analytics is and what data analysts do, and here, we’ll explain how to learn the skills needed to start a career in the field.

If you’d like to get a job as a data analyst, computer and information systems manager, computer programmer, computer systems analyst, operations research analyst, database administrator, or statistician, then this post is the perfect place to begin.

We’ll explain how to learn data analytics best practices, covering your options for doing it all yourself, finding an on-the-job training program, or studying with a traditional degree program, then we’ll explain how to choose which type of degree would work best for you based on your career goals and interests.

After you’ve learned about how to gain the skills and background knowledge you need to become a data analytics professional, we encourage you to fill out our information request form to receive details about our 100% online Bachelor’s Degree in Business Analytics, or our online Master’s Degree in Business Analytics. If you’re ready to get started, submit your application today.

Three Approaches to Learning Data Analytics

There are three common strategies for learning data analytics, and the course you choose to take should depend on your own unique needs and goals, but in the end, your three main options will be:

  1. Teaching yourself data analytics
  2. Getting on-the-job training
  3. Completing a degree program

Let’s look at each of these three potential paths in detail to talk about what they involve, what their pros and cons are, and how to determine which option will work best for your specific needs.

Can You Teach Yourself Data Analytics?

Yes, you could attempt to teach yourself data analytics best practices and principles, studying them by reading books, taking free online courses, following industry-relevant blogs, licensing popular data analytics platforms, and essentially doing everything entirely on your own.

However, this isn’t necessarily the best approach to picking up modern data analytics skills, and while it may be cheaper than paying for a full-fledged degree program, it’s also likely to be confusing, difficult, and potentially ineffective.

You could end up learning the wrong sorts of skills, getting the wrong ideas about modern best practices, or simply misinterpreting information without realizing that you’ve made a mistake or taken the wrong idea from something that you read.

In short, doing it all yourself won’t offer the chance for any sort of third-party review of the value of the skills you’re developing or the accuracy of your new knowledge, making it more likely that you could end up wasting your time.

Additionally, even if you do end up developing the right knowledge and skills needed to become a professional data analyst, proving your competence to a hiring manager without any sort of academic credential can be difficult. 

It’s certainly possible to teach yourself data analytics, but there are so many potential drawbacks to pursuing this approach that we don’t recommend it.

Can You Learn Data Analytics via On-the-Job Training?

This is a better option for learning data analytics than studying it entirely on your own, because at least if you’re being taught how to do it by someone who has expertise in the process, you’ll have a sounding board and mentor who you can rely on for qualified feedback.

If you’re able to find a great organization with knowledgeable mentors and a great training process, you’ll be in luck, because getting to pick up these valuable skills without having to dedicate your own time and money toward learning industry best practices via a traditional degree program would be a great opportunity.

However, the odds of finding a position that offers on-the-job training in data analytics for somebody with zero experience are quite long, as most relevant positions in this industry will require at least some experience in the field, or an academic background spent studying relevant concepts.

While some people will luck out and end up getting trained to become professional data analysts on a company’s dime, this is a longshot option and one that is much less likely to work than signing up for a dedicated degree program, and pursuing the knowledge and skills you need the traditional way.

Can You Learn Data Analytics via a Degree Program?

Yes, you can learn data analytics via a degree program, and this is the ideal process for anyone looking to break into the industry.

Why should you consider getting an actual degree in the field?

Completing a Bachelor’s or Master’s program in analytics is highly likely to provide you with all of the background knowledge, skills, and even hands-on experience required to land a competitive job in the industry.

Getting your degree will be especially helpful if you choose to study at a school that’s well-known for preparing successful data analytics professionals.

Not only would you graduate from the program ready to provide value to any organization from day one, but you’d also have the all-important academic credential (an actual degree!) that many hiring managers will require before agreeing to give you a chance at their organization.

Earning respected academic credentials in data analytics is certainly the best way to launch a career in the industry, as it gives you the best chance for achieving both short-term and long-term success.

Is a Data Analytics Degree Really Worth Getting?

Yes, completing a degree program in data analytics is worth it, as this should be viewed as a valuable investment in yourself and your future. 

Finishing a degree program is the best way to develop the skills, abilities, and foundational knowledge you’ll need to launch a successful lifelong career in this challenging field.

While it may take hard work and dedication to complete a bachelor’s or master’s degree in analytics, it’s also highly likely to help increase the chances that you’ll be noticed by hiring managers looking to fill analytics positions, allowing you access to that all-important first job in the industry.

Which Analytics Degree Should You Choose?

We recommend choosing the degree that will best meet your professional needs and long-term career goals, and typically, this will require choosing between a bachelor’s or master’s degree in the field.

To determine which degree is right for you, think about your existing education credentials, your current industry knowledge, skills and experience, and your goals for long-term professional development.

If you’re new to the analytics industry, or you don’t already have a Bachelor’s Degree, then you’ll almost certainly want to complete a Bachelor’s-level program, and CSU Global’s online Bachelor’s Degree program in Management Information Systems and Business Analytics would be the perfecting stepping stone for launching your career.

Alternatively, if you’ve already got some analytics experience, if you’ve already completed a bachelor’s degree in any subject, or if your goal is to land a leadership or managerial role in the industry, then our online Master’s Degree program in Data Analytics would probably be a much better fit for you.

If you’re having trouble choosing between a bachelor’s or master’s degree, consider contacting an Enrollment Counselor by calling 1-800-462-7845, or by emailing

Should You Get Your Degree Online?

Yes, you should at least consider getting your degree online, as long as you’re going to attend a well-respected and regionally accredited program.

CSU Global’s accelerated online programs are widely respected and regionally accredited, and they also offer far more flexibility than traditional in-person programs.

Designed entirely for online students, our programs will make it far easier for you to juggle your educational pursuits with existing work and family responsibilities since we offer:

  • No requirements to attend classes at set times or locations.
  • Monthly class starts.
  • Accelerated, eight-week courses.

If you’re looking to get your degree, but need to organize your studies around an already busy schedule, then there’s no better way to complete your education than by choosing to get it done online. 

Why Should You Choose to Study With CSU Global? 

Our Bachelor’s Degree in Business Analytics and our Master’s Degree in Data Analytics are both regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and were designed to provide important real-world skills, not just background information.

In fact, our program curriculum was designed specifically for the workplace, and both programs are taught by educators with relevant and recent industry experience.

Our programs also rank extremely well, with each of them recently earning a top 5 ranking, including:

  • A #1 ranking in Best Online Bachelor’s in Management Information Systems Programs from Best Colleges for our B.S. in MIS and Business Analytics program.
  • A #3 ranking in Best Online Master’s Degree in Data Analytics by Best Masters Programs for our M.S. in Data Analytics program.

We also recently received several distinguished rankings as well, including:

  • A Top 10 ranking for Best Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs and Top 7 ranking for Best Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans from U.S. News & World Report.
  • A #3 ranking for Best Colleges in Colorado from Best Value Schools.
  • A #3 ranking for Best Value Online Graduate School from Value Colleges.

Finally, CSU Global offers competitive tuition rates, a Tuition Guarantee to ensure your rate won’t increase as long as you remain enrolled with us, and for our undergraduate programs, Alternative Credit Options like Credit By Exam, Self Study Assessment (SSA), and Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) to help save you time and money.

To get additional details about our fully accredited, 100% online degrees in analytics, please give us a call at 800-462-7845, or fill out our Information Request Form.

Ready to get started today? Apply now!

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