What are some of the most important keywords related to business analyst jobs? According to ZipRecruiter, “collaboration,” “communication skills,” and “facilitation” are among the top 10 job skill keywords that appear across millions of business analyst job postings and resumes. 

These terms reflect a trend we frequently cover at the APEX of Innovation—the growing importance of soft skills to data analytics success. Communication abilities are essential for ensuring that non-technical stakeholders easily understand quantitative findings. Similarly, presentation skills play a valuable role whenever data practitioners seek to convey analytical insights to leadership. 

Graduate programs that train future analysts are increasingly recognizing the importance of these and other soft skills. A recent Fortune article profiled several of them, including: 

Texas A&M University 

Texas A&M University offers the top-rated program on Fortune’s ranking of the best online master’s programs in business analytics. For five semesters, students are trained in the fundamentals of soft skills. This includes team building, storytelling, and leadership, along with more traditional technical analytics abilities. 

West Virginia University

Students pursuing a master’s program in business data analytics at West Virginia University take courses in communication and critical thinking. In addition, the program covers another consideration becoming increasingly important in the industry today: the ethical concerns surrounding data collection and analysis. As we’ve discussed in previous APEX of Innovation posts, cross-departmental collaboration and transparency are essential as companies create and update their policies governing data ethics. By emphasizing this in its master’s program, West Virginia University is training its students to view ethical considerations as an essential component of any analytics project. For more on data ethics and best practices for ensuring the responsible governance of your data, take a look at this recent blog post.

In addition to these examples, the Fortune piece also highlights problem solving, market research and analysis, and business acumen as coursework included in numerous master’s programs. You can check out the article in its entirety here. And if you’re interested in the trends new graduates can expect when they hit the job market, take a look at this previous APEX of Innovation post.