What is Data Analytics and why should you study it?

MSc Data Analytics

18 Jun 2020

Data analytics can play a key role in business decisions

It's used in a wide variety of fields, including healthcare, technology and marketing

You’ve heard the term thrown around before in a wide variety of industries – ‘data analytics’ seems to be something valued by just about every kind of business. And there’s a good reason for that.

Data analytics plays an important role in informing key business decisions, regardless of the field. It can help us understand customers, marketing strategies and business operations.

But what exactly is data analytics? In this blog post, we’ll unpack this sought-out field, breaking down how data analytics is used and where it can take you in your career.

What is data analytics?

To put it simply, data analytics is the process of analysing raw data and drawing conclusions from the information you obtain. Data can come from just about anywhere: social media, our phones, the internet. That said, most of the ways in which we process data are through specialised software and tools.

Once we’ve got the numbers, data analysts will then look at patterns and trends found within data and use that insight to make recommendations. It’s pretty simple, but incredibly useful in a business context.

The key to data analysis is an unbiased eye – you’re looking at the numbers and only the numbers. From there, you’ll use that insight you’ve gathered to inform business decisions.

And while ‘business decisions’ might seem like a broad term, it’s more appropriate than you think – that’s because data analysis can be used to inform just about any kind of decision or solution to a given problem, from marketing strategies to understanding customer behaviour and everything in between.


Study under the guidance of academics conducting research into artificial intelligence, machine learning and other areas relevant to data analytics with our part-time, online MSc Data Analytics:

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How data analytics can be used

Further to that, there’s no end to how data analytics is used in modern businesses. While it might seem like data analytics would be confined to computer-related industries, you’ll find it in some capacity across a variety of fields, serving a variety of functions.

Some of the main ways modern companies use data analytics include:

  • Understanding customer behaviour – Data analysis can describe how customers behave in their buying process or how they interact with websites. It can also help predict how a customer might behave, or point out any shortfalls in their journey with a specific business.
  • Improving marketing strategies – Data analytics is particularly useful in a marketing capacity, as it can show what marketing channels are working and what aren’t (and therefore which you should continue to invest in), as well as help you better understand your customers as people. Knowing this can help you personalise your marketing and make it more efficient.
  • Streamlining operations – Data can show us in the moment how specific sectors of a business are operating. Not working well enough? Make changes. Working great? Tailor other sectors to match it.
  • Delivering effective products – With data, we can better predict market trends and anticipate what customers want. This, in turn, can help companies stay ahead of the competition.

Fields that commonly use data analytics

The thing with data analytics is that it’s used pretty much everywhere. It’s one of those universal concepts that benefit businesses regardless of their specialty.

A career in data analytics could see you enter a wide variety of sectors. Some of the top ones include:

  • Healthcare
  • Finance
  • Technology
  • Marketing
  • Insurance

And that’s just the beginning. In reality, you could find yourself just about anywhere with advanced data analysis skills.

Why should I study data analytics?

As we mentioned above, a heightened understanding of data analytics and the software used to unravel it can open doors to a wide range of organisations. If you want a skill set that you’ll be able to translate across industries, you’ve come to the right place.

Plus, data analytics isn’t just a professional skill – it’s a life skill, too. At its core, data analysis is about sifting through an array of information and finding the truth. To be able to do this well in a data capacity means you’ll be able to carry this skill into other areas of your life as well, helping you become a more decisive and informed problem-solver.


Keen to learn more about studying data analytics? Check out our part-time, online MSc Data Analytics and see how you can kick-start your career.

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