Newly minted data analysts in high demand

graduation cap with money and notebooks

Employers hungry for big data expertise brought more than $20 million to the negotiating table this spring to recruit dozens of graduates of North Carolina State's burgeoning big data analytics program, according to the university.

In response to a chronic shortage of big data analysts, N.C. State and other universities have been beefing up masters of science in analytics and big data analyst degree programs.

Raleigh-based N.C. State, in the heart of the state’s Research Triangle,  increased the operating capacity of its Institute for Advanced Analytics from 40 to 85 students in July 2012. Separately, last summer it won a $60.75 million National Security Agency grant, the largest in the school’s history, to create the Laboratory for Analytic Sciences.

An April 2 post on N.C. State's Institute for Advanced Analytics webpage indicated competition for big data analytics graduates in the job market remains intense.

According to the post, 55 employers offered a total of $22,541,642 in starting salaries and signing bonuses to 75 job seekers from the Institute for Advanced Analytics. "The Class of 2014 attracted a record number of 246 job offers, in record time, and the offer dollar volume was 24 percent higher than last year’s total of $17.9 million," it said.

The post said with only a month remaining until graduation, 100 percent of the institute's 2014 candidates reported receiving one or more offers of employment, and 97 percent have already decided on a new position from potential employers representing a broad cross-section of industry. N.C. State said it would make complete details about this year’s student outcomes available in its 2014 Employment Report in May.

N.C. State also released a study in April comparing its programs to comparable big data analytics graduate programs at comparably sized intensive one-year programs at three top-tier institutions and five leading public MBA programs. The study said N.C. State's big data graduates, on average, earn higher base salaries and its programs are more cost-effective for students.

Note: This article was updated on April 24 to correct the amount of N.C. State's NSA grant.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a staff writer covering acquisition, procurement and homeland security. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.

The 2015 Federal 100

Meet 100 women and men who are doing great things in federal IT.


  • Shutterstock image (by venimo): e-learning concept image, digital content and online webinar icons.

    Can MOOCs make the grade for federal training?

    Massive open online courses can offer specialized IT instruction on a flexible schedule and on the cheap. That may not always mesh with government's preference for structure and certification, however.

  • Shutterstock image (by edel): graduation cap and diploma.

    Cybersecurity: 6 schools with the right stuff

    The federal government craves more cybersecurity professionals. These six schools are helping meet that demand.

  • Rick Holgate

    Holgate to depart ATF

    Former ACT president will take a job with Gartner, follow his spouse to Vienna, Austria.

  • Are VA techies slacking off on Yammer?

    A new IG report cites security and productivity concerns associated with employees' use of the popular online collaboration tool.

  • Shutterstock image: digital fingerprint, cyber crime.

    Exclusive: The OPM breach details you haven't seen

    An official timeline of the Office of Personnel Management breach obtained by FCW pinpoints the hackers’ calibrated extraction of data, and the government's step-by-step response.

  • Stephen Warren

    Deputy CIO Warren exits VA

    The onetime acting CIO at Veterans Affairs will be taking over CIO duties at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

  • Shutterstock image: monitoring factors of healthcare.

    DOD awards massive health records contract

    Leidos, Accenture and Cerner pull off an unexpected win of the multi-billion-dollar Defense Healthcare Management System Modernization contract, beating out the presumptive health-records leader.

  • Sweating the OPM data breach -- Illustration by Dragutin Cvijanovic

    Sweating the stolen data

    Millions of background-check records were compromised, OPM now says. Here's the jaw-dropping range of personal data that was exposed.

  • FCW magazine

    Let's talk about Alliant 2

    The General Services Administration is going to great lengths to gather feedback on its IT services GWAC. Will it make for a better acquisition vehicle?

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above