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Masters in Business Analytics Vs Professional Certificate in Business Analytics

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Ayush is a fresh graduate and is keen on pursuing further education, Bani is an IT professional with 3-4 years experience and is looking for domain change while Chhaya wants to further enhance her skill-set to ensure employability. All three are Business Analyst aspirants wondering whether to pursue Masters in business Analytics or a professional certificate in business analytics.

The decision on whether to opt for data science certificate or a full time degree is not a right-wrong or an either-or decision. Based on individual preferences choosing the above course can vary and sometimes there is room for both.

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For Ayush, who is young and financially dependent, he can commit another two years for a full-time program to get classroom exposure involving assignments, assessments, soft skills development, placements etc. It is a good investment which results is additional resume value along with a document to hang on the wall. For him an additional certificate program can also be useful even while pursuing a master’s degree as it gives him an edge on employment once he graduates. However for Bani and Chhaya, does leaving their respective jobs and getting enrolled for a full-time course a practical option? Distance programmes allows more flexibility in terms of the duration of the course which might be a better bet for them. In many distance programmes, certificate/ diploma are available at the end of every stage of the programme and students can decide their own pace at which they want to complete it. A professional certification is more focused, practical and  economical than a full-time master’s degree.

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Aspirants have apprehensions while choosing professional certification over master’s degree. Most of the apprehensions come from reasons that are myths, only a few are genuine; like corporate job recruiters prefer MBA over other certifications, etc. However, one major reason to consider is the credibility of the institution offering degrees. There is tremendous competition and preparation involved to make to an institute offering master’s degree a top notch one. On the other hand there is no restriction on the number of students for certification courses. Hence there is no competition and pre-course preparation required. As long as a student is eligible for a programme he or she can gets admission.

To qualify for certificate program, you only need to have is a bachelor’s degree. However, there are definitely a few pros among its cons like huge fees and longer course duration. A full-time courses have diversified offerings like case-studies, internships, group discussions, presentations, projects etc. (are we still talking about the certificate course or an MBA) Students get different type of exposure. For certain people a master’s degree is financially out of reach.  A certificate course makes it a better option for working professionals since they can manage both work and study simultaneously.

Flexibility in professional certification is that students can complete the programme and assessments sitting at their homes. Irrespective of his/her home location a student can register for the programme of any university not only in India but anywhere in the world too.

Typically, professional certifications are surgical strike to achieve the following objective:

  • To up-skill and meet the industry standard
  • To enhance skill-set to change domains and make a career move
  • To expedite upward movement by staying ahead and honing yours skills with the emerging techniques/ technology

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Intensive tool learning is what data science is mainly made of. Unlike other conventional domains, expertise and employability largely depends on your ability and understanding of certain statistical or analytical tools. The dynamism of this field is such that tools and techniques are continually changing; hence certificate courses in business analytics can help you learn newer tools in less time  and also gives you hands on practice. There has been change in the way the subjects are taught as well in this field. It focuses on live-projects, internships, tool-based teaching etc. This has been catalysed by the industry moving from enterprise license based tools like SAS to open source tools like R, Python etc. The industry is rapidly moving from prescriptive and descriptive analytical approach to artificial intelligence and machine learning. Today, the industry recognizes a good data ananlyst on the level of expertise of these tools regardless of the means it has been learnt.

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As an aspiring data analyst it is important for you to make the right learning decision. Finally a generic suggestion to every analyst is to invest in learning statistical and analytical concepts thoroughly and practice to build expertise.

For more information on PG Diploma in Data Science: http://www.proschoolonline.com/pgd-data-science-course and NSE certified course in Business Analytics: http://www.proschoolonline.com/certification-business-analytics-course.