What a career in business predictive analytics looks like

Even in times as unpredictable as these, business data analysts are able to utilize advanced data analytics to make educated predictions about many aspects of the business world. This area of data analytics is known as predictive analytics. Being able to “see into the future” can make business decisions more accurate and reliable, and in turn help businesses better accommodate customers, and save and earn money. 

What is predictive analytics? 

Predictive analytics is a branch of business “that makes predictions about future outcomes using historical data combined with statistical modeling, data mining techniques, and machine learning,” according to IBM. “Companies employ predictive analytics to find patterns in this data to identify risks and opportunities.”

Data mining involves the analysis of big data to find and detect patterns from it, then analyze the frequency of these patterns to predict decisions, needs, and other once impossible-to-guess areas of business. Three common techniques used in predictive analytics include: decision trees, neural networks, and regression. 

A career in predictive analytics means understanding market needs as well as business data analytics. It also means you’ll have your pick of jobs in a growing field, in nearly every industry. According to a report issued by Zion Market Research, the global market for predictive analytics gathered revenue about $8.12 billion in 2020, and it’s projected to reach $39.1 billion by 2028. 

Predictive analytics at work

The examples of ways in which predictive analytics have changed and continue to drive business are endless. In retail, consumer goods companies can use predictive models to forecast inventory requirements, manage shipping schedules and configure store layouts to maximize sales. Airlines can use predictive analytics by using past travel trends and current economic landscapes to set ticket prices and forecast travel growth. 

Predictive analytics can also be used to detect and halt various types of criminal behavior before any serious damage is inflicted. By using predictive analytics to study user behaviors and actions, an organization can detect activities that are out of the ordinary, ranging from credit card fraud to corporate spying to cyberattacks.

At Saint Vincent College, business data analytics majors take courses that prepare them for potential careers in predictive analytics, such as DS350 Data Mining where they learn specific methods of predicting business outcomes, as well as courses like Management Information Systems, where they learn how predictions can be made based on people’s interactions with technology.