Tableau Study Reveals the State of Data Education in 2016

Report highlights tremendous growth in analytics education nationwide

Publish Date: December 1, 2016 - 2:00pm

Tableau today released a report that reveals how American institutions of higher education are adapting to train the next generation of data workers required by industry. The report, titled “The State of Data Education in 2016,” found that approximately 20 percent of four-year universities in the U.S. now offer analytics programs. That figure is driven largely by highly-ranked institutions, nearly all of which offer analytics-focused programs to their students. The report also found that just two percent of two-year institutions offer such programs, indicating a significant gap in the availability of analytics education.

Overall, institutions have begun offering more analytics programs with the goal of preparing more students to work with data in a diverse range of jobs. Programs focused on business analytics accounted for much of this growth in analytics education, as universities adapt to meet the needs of industry for data-literate talent. Tableau’s research also suggests that universities are increasingly offering interdisciplinary education in analytics, embedding basic data literacy into other fields ranging from public health to the sciences to business schools.

“Data literacy is now a baseline expectation in jobs of all kinds,” said Christian Chabot, Co-founder and Chairman of Tableau. “Perhaps the greatest challenge we face as an industry is training and nurturing the next generation of data talent. These are the people who will go on to change schools, doctor’s offices, businesses, governments, and more, thanks to data. Our hope is that this report will help spur further investment and interest from academia and industry to train the next generation of data workers.”

More than five years ago, global business consultancy McKinsey predicted a shortage of as many as 1.5 million managers and workers with analytics know-how by 2018, noting that data skills were becoming a pervasive need in all kinds of jobs. This trend has continued, as organizations in all industries clamor to hire more data-proficient talent.

Administrators at American universities echoed this, and noted that they are moving to address this need.

“We will continue to invest in analytics-focused programs, and expect that other universities will do the same,” said Dr. Michael Hasler, Senior Lecturer and MS in Business Analytics Program Director at the University of Texas at Austin Red McCombs School of Business. “Students entering the workforce today are at a disadvantage if they do not possess at least basic data skills. Our investments in analytics programs are a direct response to the needs from industry to hire people with basic and advanced data skills alike.”

Other findings of the report include:

  • The University of Washington-Seattle, George Mason University and Carnegie Mellon University lead with the most analytics program offerings.
  • More than half (52 percent) of all analytics programs were created after 2010. Thirty-two percent of these programs were focused on business intelligence and business analytics, making them the fastest growing type of analytics offering.
  • The majority of analytics programs are offered as majors, rather than minors or certificate programs. However, instructors indicated that analytics certificate diplomas have seen the largest growth in recent years.
  • Analytics programs tend to cluster geographically near the locations of analytics jobs. The top markets in the United States for analytics programs are New York City, NY; Seattle, Wash.; Pittsburgh, Penn.; Boston, Mass.; Chicago, Ill.; and Los Angeles, Calif.

To read entire report, visit

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