If you’re working in the world of business and want to advance your career, you’ve undoubtedly given thought to the different ways in which you can stand out from the competition and prepare for your next move. One of the most effective ways of doing this is to make sure you’re continuously learning new skills—and reinforcing existing ones—that can help you be more efficient and impactful in your position.

For individuals who are interested in the role data has to play in business, and would like to leverage it to make real, impactful decisions within their organization, completing an online course in business analytics can be a great way of accomplishing those goals.

Not sure whether taking a business analytics course is really worth the investment of time, money, and energy? Here are three reasons why it could be just the move you need to transition your career.

Benefits of Taking an Online Business Analytics Course

1. You’ll Learn In-Demand Skills—Fast

Every day, consumers generate enormous swaths of data without even realizing it. Every Like, click, and share on social media; every Google search conducted; every purchase made on Amazon or other e-commerce sites; every personal tracker or connected device—all of them generate data that companies can use to guide their business strategy.

Business analytics—the way in which data is collected, strategically analyzed, and ultimately used to guide business decisions—is that means. And because virtually every business, regardless of size or industry, has access to this data and an incentive to learn from it, individuals with analytical skills are in high demand.

To illustrate this, here are four business analytics-focused job titles, paired with their expected job growth between 2016 and 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Completing an online business analytics course is one way of learning the skills you’ll need to be successful in one of these roles, which can be helpful whether you’re trying to break into the field or want to advance in your career.

Though the specific skills you learn will depend on the individual course, an effective program should prioritize teaching you to:

  • Recognize trends, detect outliers, and summarize data sets
  • Analyze relationships between variables
  • Develop and test hypotheses
  • Craft survey questions and draw conclusions from population samples
  • Implement regression analysis and other analytical techniques
  • Interpret data to inform business decisions

Related: The Advantages of Data-Driven Decision-Making

2. It Can Prepare You for Graduate School

If you’re considering a graduate program in business analytics, or a related field, completing an online course can help you reach your personal and professional goals in a number of ways.

First and foremost, if you’ve been out of school for a number of years, committing to completing a course will help you ease back into the learning process. It will allow you to “test drive” what earning a degree will be like so you can better gauge your ability to balance education, work, and family commitments.

Beyond this, completing a business analytics course can help you prepare for the academic challenges of graduate school. If you’ve never studied analytics, completing such a course can lay important groundwork that your graduate degree can build upon, and strengthen your analytical skills before you pursue an MBA or related degree.

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3. It’s Less Expensive (and Faster) than Earning a Degree

Completing a business analytics course is a relatively quick and inexpensive way of learning new skills, especially when compared to the time and financial commitment of earning a full master’s degree.

Earning a degree in business analytics could take anywhere from two to three years, depending on whether you’re attending full- or part-time, and cost tens of thousands of dollars. As a point of comparison, the Business Analytics course offered by Harvard Business School Online is completed in just eight weeks at a cost of $1,600, and can provide you with valuable skills  you can use to effect real change in your organization.

Below are a number of statistics gathered from a recent survey of past HBS Online participants, which illustrate the impact completing an online course can have on your career:

  • 53 percent of respondents received more responsibility at work after completing a course
  • 25 percent reported earning a promotion or title change after completing a course
  • 77 percent gained clarity that they were able to use to determine whether or not to make a professional change, such as transitioning to a new industry or field, or pursuing an advanced degree

Related: How to Learn Business Analytics without a Business Background

Learning the Skills You Need to Succeed

Completing an online course in business analytics can bring a number of powerful benefits. As the world becomes increasingly data-driven, corporations and organizations are looking to hire individuals who can help them put data to use and make more intelligent business decisions. Completing a relevant course can help you learn the in-demand skills needed to be effective.

Are you looking for ways to become more data-driven in your career? Explore our eight-week online Business Analytics course, one of the three courses included in our Credential of Readiness (CORe) program, to lay the groundwork upon which you can build your career.