Business Analyst: Big Data Creates Big Job Market

Here’s what you need to succeed as a business analyst

As sophisticated new software technologies become more adept at managing and compiling in-flowing data, business analysts with knowledge of business processes and data-mining techniques find themselves in high demand, poised to make an impact in the race to capitalize on big data’s potential.

So what skills do business analysts (average salary is $96,000 in the D.C. region) need to become highly-sought-after contributors to this data-driven success?

Here are some of the most frequently cited attributes:

Strong communication skills—an ability to tell the data story; to communicate across a spectrum of business and IT leaders to accurately convey both the potential rewards and risks

Team-building expertise—strong partnerships between business and technology are cited as the key factor in successful big data initiatives

Problem-solving thought process—with a proven understanding of data analytics and data mining techniques

Comprehensive knowledge of business processes—paired with an IT sensibility and quantitative aptitude

Curiosity—and the drive to search for valid new meanings and correlations

Creativity—an ability to see new patterns and connect dots across contexts.

With nearly 70 percent of Fortune 1000 executives citing big data projects as critical to their success, business analysts who can wade through volumes of complex information to improve processes and bottom lines are in high demand—and will be for the foreseeable future.

To take advantage of these growing career opportunities, the George Mason School of Business offers an MBA in Business Analytics.  The degree incorporates advanced coursework in data mining, marketing analytics and fraud examination. Learn more at

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Janet Palmisano

Janet Palmisano is a member of the Recruiting and Admissions team at the George Mason University School of Business.

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