The Data Analytics program at Ball State University puts its students at the intersection of four important fields: statistics, applied mathematics, computer science, and communications. The program is designed to provide an essential skillset to the next-generation workforce and the careers it leads to rank in the top 10 for STEM careers, with high starting and median salaries, and high job satisfaction.

What is Data Analytics?

Munni Begum, Director of the Data Science and Data Analytics programs at Ball State, explains the program and its history. This program features both a Master’s in Data Science, which launched in the fall of 2020, and a Bachelor’s in Data Analytics, which launched the following fall in 2021. Currently, four concentrations are offered including:

It is part of Ball State’s growth plan to offer more concentrations and concentration-specific minors for a well-rounded approach to data literacy.

“Data is everywhere,” Dr. Begum explains. “In today’s information age, the most valuable resource is data.” This is one of the aspects that makes the data science and analytics programs so valuable, not just to Ball State and its students but to the world at large. Preparing the future workforce is key.

Why the Field of Data Analytics?

Dr. Begum was trained as a statistician, and her work involves developing statistical and analytical methods for health and biomedical data. This highly collaborative work positively impacts public health and human lives, making her career extremely rewarding. She takes great pride in sharing her knowledge and skills with young and up-and-coming learners who will one day graduate and enter the workforce of the future.

Dr. Begum considers it essential for students to engage in hands-on, real-world learning so that they will develop a thorough understanding of why the data matters, how to communicate their findings, and how to make data-driven decisions using the information. She encourages all students in the program to commit to engaging in research projects and corporate partnerships in order to get a solid grasp of how data analytics operates in real-world situations and to understand the different career paths available to them after graduation.

What Do Prospective Students Need to Know?

This program is a great opportunity for students who are looking for a challenging but satisfying career, passionate about utilizing data to develop meaningful insights, and eager to engage in objective, data-driven decision-making for real-world problems.

Ball State’s program offers a variety of support options and resources for its students through an interdisciplinary educational approach, highly qualified teachers with field experience, small class sizes for individualized attention, and numerous tutoring programs.

An ideal candidate for this program is someone dedicated to learning. According to Dr. Begum, this skill is essential in this constantly evolving field. This applies to the program professors too. “Educating young minds with new ideas and skillsets requires the commitment of lifelong learning and I consider myself a perpetual learner,” Dr. Begum says.