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Kansas State University launches data analytics online graduate certificate to meet high-demand job market

Thursday, March 31, 2016


MANHATTAN — The study of big data is bringing big opportunities through Kansas State University with the launch of a new online graduate certificate in data analytics in fall 2016.

Data analytics is a rapidly growing interdisciplinary field that involves collecting, processing and analyzing large data sets. Analysts then effectively communicate research findings to key decision-makers who use the data to strategize changes or solve problems in their companies or institutions.

"As many real-world problems are becoming more complex than before, data- and algorithm-driven decision-making emerges as an increasingly important approach in academia, industry and government," said Bongsug Chae, professor of management at Kansas State University. "As a result, data analytics is becoming one of the most essential skills for professionals in social science, business, education and engineering."

Companies such as Google, Amazon and Netflix use big data — characterized by their large volume, velocity of real-time information and variety of data sources — in Internet searches, social media and e-commercial applications, according to Shing Chang, associate professor of industrial and manufacturing systems engineering at Kansas State University.

"Most CEOs agree that those who use data the best to make business decisions are most likely to gain ground on their rivals," Chang said. "All industries can benefit from employees with competent data analytics skills, though higher education is lagging behind in providing graduates who are well equipped in these skills."

In response to the increasing demand for qualified data analytics professionals, Kansas State University's graduate certificate, which takes 15 credit hours to complete, includes required coursework in both a data science track and applied analytics track. Data science focuses on the techniques, methods and algorithms for storing, retrieving, managing, parsing and computing data. Applied analytics courses teach students to apply those computational methods toward business problems and communicate with stakeholders.

"K-State's unique program ensures that students with strong data science skills are also aware of practical applications and can communicate research results," Chang said. "Those with strong data analytics skills will also be able to understand and appreciate the data science that answers big data challenges. Students work together in a capstone course where companies can provide their own real data challenge problems that need to be solved."

This real-world experience prepares students for careers in data science or analytics, where there are not enough qualified candidates to meet exponential job growth. Forbes lists data science as the toughest job for employers to fill in 2016, and Glassdoor lists it as the best job in America, with more than 1,700 openings and a median base salary well over $100,000.

According to Chae, the growing data analytics field is an example of disruptive digital innovation — technology that changes the existing market and value network and requires people to meet new market needs. The interdisciplinary nature of the data analytics graduate certificate will help students develop well-rounded skills to meet new market demands.

The program is offered through Kansas State University's College of Business Administration, College of Engineering, College of Arts & Sciences, and Global Campus.

Learn more about the data analytics online graduate certificate, or begin the admission process at global.k-state.edu/business/analytics.


Bongsug Chae

Shing Chang


Online graduate certificate in data analytics

Written by

Rosanna Vail

At a glance

Starting in fall 2016, Kansas State University will offer a new online graduate certificate in data analytics.