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 at FCW.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.

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