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Our Guide to the Best Business Analytics Courses Online

In companies small and large, business analytics operations continue to be a crucial asset as more companies have leveraged advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence to gain a competitive advantage. According to McKinsey’s latest State of AI report, twice as many companies have now adopted artificial intelligence tools and processes to support business operations and decision-making. With adopters accounting for stable 50–60% of companies surveyed, these results testify to the resilience of the era of big data now underway. 

The continued emphasis on the role of data in decision making and other business processes has many professionals seeking to better understand and develop skills in business analytics, whether they’re looking simply to perform their jobs better, more effectively manage their teams, or pursue a career as a business analyst, business intelligence analyst, data analyst, or data scientist. As a result — and buoyed by the successes of online education during the pandemic and the Great Reshuffle that it spurred — universities and other educational organizations have launched a variety of business analytics courses online.

Below, we’ll dig into the reasons you should take a business analytics course and the kinds of business analytics courses out there before presenting some of our favorites.

Why should you take a business analytics course?

Business analytics courses are a great tool towards one of three ends: career advancement, career transition, or career exploration.

Career advancement

If you’re already working as a data analyst, business analyst, business intelligence analyst, or even data scientist, a business analytics course can help you build additional skills and business expertise, which in turn can help you perform better in your current job and potentially earn a promotion or land a new position.

Crucial skills you’ll see in business analytics courses include:

  • Computer science skills: Excel, SQL scripting, programming in R and Python, introductory machine learning

  • Statistical analysis skills: statistical modeling, regression analysis, optimization, cohort analyst, cluster analysis, factor analysis, etc. Learn more in our data analytics explainer.

  • Data management skills: data mining, data warehousing, data wrangling and cleansing, data processing

  • Data visualization: dashboards and other visualizations using software like Tableau

  • Industry- and capability-specific analytics: Customer analytics, marketing analytics, web analytics, etc.

  • Business fundamentals: Foundational knowledge of business basics, including accounting, finance, and macro- and microeconomics

Career transition

A business analytics program or course can also provide value if you’re looking to transition into the field from another career path. In fact, there are many programs that offer comprehensive training that can launch you into an entry-level position, even if you don’t have any prior experience. Bootcamps in particular offer career services geared specifically for career transitioners.

Career exploration

Maybe you don’t yet know if you want to pursue a career in business analytics. In this case, business analytics courses, especially if they are free or low-cost, can give you a relatively risk-free way to explore the field and get a better idea of if you’re suited for it. (If you’re not sure about a career in business analytics, you should also check out our articles on a business analyst’s career path and typical day in the life of a business analyst.)

What kinds of business analytics courses are out there?

Just as there are different reasons to take a business analytics course, there are different kinds of business analytics courses on offer online, including certifications, bootcamps, and certificate programs. Here’s how they differ:

Business analytics certification programs

Business analytics certification programs provide instruction and assessment (usually an exam) of a particular skill set or fluency with software that results in a credential that can communicate an individual’s competence to potential employers. These are great programs for those who already have a skill set but no good way to demonstrate it or who want to build directly marketable skills. Generally, certification providers only charge students to take the exam, with fees usually in the range of a couple hundred dollars.

There are currently more data analyst certifications than business analyst certifications. Thankfully, the close relationship between data analytics and business analytics means that a data analyst certification will provide relevant training and endorsement for business analysts as well.

To learn more about business analytics certification programs, see our guide.

Business analytics and data analytics bootcamps

Bootcamps offer intensive, comprehensive instruction aimed at equipping participants with the skills needed to land an entry-level position. To support participants in their job search, bootcamps also offer career services such as resume review, interview practice, and networking tips. Bootcamps generally cost between $10,000 and $15,000.

Currently, there are more data analytics bootcamps than business analytics bootcamps. Again, as there is considerable overlap between the two disciplines, completing either one will make you a feasible candidate for entry-level business analyst and data analyst positions. 

Check out our data analytics bootcamp guide for more.

Business analytics certificate programs

Business analytics certificates are a broad category of courses that can offer training in a particular skill or an entire skill set. Once students complete the course, they receive a certificate they can display on LinkedIn and list on their resumes. Certificate programs vary widely in modality: some are entirely asynchronous while others feature instruction from live faculty. For this reason, they can vary widely in cost, with some free to take and others costing up to several thousand dollars.

For more on business analytics certificate programs, see our guide.

Our picks for the best business analytics courses

Rather than rank programs according to some arbitrary criteria, we’ve decided to provide examples of each kind of business analytics course that can provide value for money — through reputation, curriculum, modality, credentials, and career services — to learners from a variety of backgrounds.

Business Analytics Certifications


IIBA Certifications

The International Institute of Business Analysis provides a gold-standard suite of certifications for business analytics professionals at all stages of their careers, from entry-level, to two to three years of experience, to over five. The IIBA also offers certifications for particular areas of business analytics, including agile analysis, data analytics, cyber security analysis, and product ownership.

  • Length: Self-paced

  • Modality: Online

  • Prerequisites: Varies

  • Syllabus Highlights: N/A

  • Reported Outcomes: None reported
    Cost: Between $150 and $400 for certification exam, application fee may apply

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Microsoft Certified: Power BI Data Analyst Associate

Microsoft Certified: Power BI Data Analyst Associate

Microsoft’s Data Analyst Associate certification program is more narrow in scope than the other certifications we are highlighting, focusing on Microsoft’s Power BI software, but it covers many of the same skills — data preparation, data modeling, data visualization — as the other certifications on the list at a fraction of the cost. What’s more, Power BI is a well-known and trusted business intelligence software, so certification can help make an aspiring business analyst a more attractive candidate.

  • Length: Self-paced

  • Modality: Self-paced, online

  • Prerequisites: None

  • Syllabus Highlights: “Getting started with Microsoft data analytics,” “Model data in Power BI,” “Visualize data in Power BI”

  • Reported Outcomes: None reported

  • Cost: $165 for certification exam

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Amazon’s AWS Certified Data Analytics

Amazon’s AWS Data Analytics certification offers those with experience and expertise in using Amazon Web Services for data analytics the opportunity to earn a credential attesting to this fact. To earn the certification, students must pass an exam of multiple choice and multiple response questions. To prepare, Amazon provides a variety of free materials, including an exam guide, sample questions, a practice question set, and digital training with an AWS skill builder.

  • Length: Self-paced training, 180 minute exam

  • Modality: Online

  • Prerequisites: 5 years of analytics experience; 2 years of hands-on experience with AWS for analytics

  • Syllabus Highlights: N/A

  • Reported Outcomes: None reported 

  • Cost: $300 for exam

CAP INFORMS certificate

INFORMS’ Certified Analytics Professional Certification

The Certified Analytics Professional certification (CAP) is an independent certification of one’s ability as a data analyst. For the exam, takers are required to hold a college degree and have a certain amount of experience in analytics. An Associate Certified Analytics Professional (aCAP) certification is available for those without a degree and the requisite experience. In the exam, analysts are tested in 7 areas: business problem framing, analytics problem framing, data, methodology selection, model building, deployment, and lifecycle management. To prepare for the exam, students have the opportunity to use free resources, take a sample test, or take a CAP online prep course or bootcamp. Certifications are valid for three years.

  • Length: Self-paced training, 100 question exam

  • Modality: On site at a testing center or proctored online

  • Prerequisites: For CAP, college degree and 3-5 years of analytics experience; for aCAP, none

  • Syllabus Highlights: N/A

  • Reported Outcomes: None reported 

  • Cost: $495 INFORMS member, $695 non-member

Cloudera CDP

Cloudera’s CDP Data Analyst Certification

Cloudera’s CDP Data Analyst Certification offers exam-takers the opportunity to demonstrate their expertise in using Cloudera products such as Cloudera Data Visualization and Cloudera Machine Learning as well as SQL and Apache. Before taking the online, proctored exam, students have the opportunity to prepare through Cloudera Educational Services’ comprehensive suite of courses.

  • Length: Self-paced training, 120 minute exam

  • Modality: Online, proctored

  • Prerequisites: Knowledge of Salesforce, business intelligence tools, spreadsheets, and Python or R

  • Syllabus Highlights:  N/A

  • Reported Outcomes: None reported 

  • Cost: $300 for exam

Business Analytics Bootcamps

University of Minnesota Business Analytics Bootcamp

University of Minnesota’s Business Analytics Bootcamp, offered in collaborations with Simplilearn and IBM,  provides instruction in areas like Excel, SQL, R programming, and data visualization before culminating in a business analytics capstone. Students additionally benefit from career mentorship, membership to the UM Alumni Association, and live masterclasses with UM faculty.

  • Length: 6 months, self-paced

  • Modality: Self-paced, online

  • Prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree and 2+ years of experience (preferred)

  • Syllabus Highlights: “Business Analytics with Excel,” “R Programming for Data Science,” “Data Visualization using Tableau”

  • Reported Outcomes: None reported

  • Cost: $8,000

columbia seal

Columbia Engineering Data Analytics Bootcamp

Columbia Engineering’s Data Analytics Bootcamp offers courses in Excel, Python, databases, and machine learning, as well as a final project that students are able to collaborate on with their peers. Throughout the bootcamp, students have access to academic and career support, including a Career Engagement Network that helps students prepare their resumes and portfolios and practice interviewing.

  • Length: 24 weeks, part-time (9 hours of live classes per week, 20+ hours of homework per week)

  • Modality: Live, online

  • Prerequisites: None

  • Syllabus Highlights: “Excel crash course,” “Python data analytics,” “Machine learning and other advanced topics”

  • Reported Outcomes: None reported, though positive testimonials

  • Cost: $14,745

Georgetown University seal

Georgetown University’s Data Analytics Bootcamp

Georgetown’s Data Analytics Bootcamp offers students the opportunity to learn data analysis and data visualization and apply these skills in collaborative projects. Georgetown also offers a course in critical thinking and 1:1 career services to help students find job placement after the course.

  • Length: 12 weeks, Friday evenings and Saturdays

  • Modality: Live, online

  • Prerequisites: None

  • Syllabus Highlights: “Foundations of Data Analytics & Python Basics,” “Statistics,” “Data Analytics in Python & SQL,” “Data Visualization”

  • Reported Outcomes: None reported 

  • Cost: $6,995


Berkeley Online Data Analytics Boot Camp

Cal Berkeley’s Data Analytics Boot Camp offers students the opportunity to practice skills like Excel, Python, API Interactions, and Machine Learning on projects focused around fields like finance, human resources, healthcare, and government. For those interested, Berkeley also offers a coding bootcamp.

Length: 24 weeks, with 9 hours of in-class time and 20+ hours of hands-on projects and practice work

Modality: Live, online

Prerequisites: None

Syllabus Highlights: “Excel Crash Course,” “Python Data Analytics,” “Web Visualization”

Reported Outcomes: None reported

Cost: $9,995

Business Analytics Certificate Programs

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Harvard Business School Online’s Business Analytics Certificate

HBS Online’s Business Analytics Certificate course leverages Harvard’s case method in self-paced instruction covering basic Excel functions, hypothesis testing, and regression. But because you learn in lock-step with others, there is a high-level of interactivity. Students must frequently respond to one another’s contributions and have the opportunity to exchange articles and network outside of class.

  • Length: 8 weeks, 5 hours per week

  • Modality: Self-paced, online

  • Prerequisites: None

  • Syllabus Highlights: “Sampling and Estimation,” “Single Variable Linear Regression,” “Multiple Regression”

  • Reported Outcomes: None

  • Cost: $1,750

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Wharton Executive Education’s Business Analytics: From Data to Insights

Wharton Executive Education’s Business Analytics: From Data to Insights provides an overview of analytics (including descriptive analytics, predictive analytics, and prescriptive analytics) to help executives, managers, and consultants improve their own analytics skills, implement data operations, and better serve their clients.

  • Length: 9 weeks, 6-8 hours per week

  • Modality: Self-paced and live, online

  • Prerequisites: None reported

  • Syllabus Highlights: “Descriptive Analytics: Describing and Forecasting Future Events,” “Predictive and Prescriptive Analytics: Application and Toolkit,” “Application of Analytics for Business”

  • Reported Outcomes: None reported

  • Cost: $2,750


Cornell Certificate Program: Business Analytics

Cornell’s Business Analytics certificate program offers a fresh business analytics curriculum geared towards helping individuals begin to extract business insights from data sets. While students won’t learn SQL, Python, or R, they will receive extensive training in how to use Excel for predictive and prescriptive analytics.

  • Length: 3 months, 3-5 hours per week

  • Modality: Self-paced, online

  • Prerequisites: Basic understanding of Excel

  • Syllabus Highlights: “Harvesting Spreadsheet Data,” “Making Predictions and Forecasts with Data,” “Leadership Symposium”

  • Reported outcomes: None reported 

  • Cost: $3,750

google logo of the G

Google Data Analytics Certificate

Google’s Data Analytics Certificate aims to teach students job-ready skills to help them land an entry-level job with one of the 150 employers in an employer consortium that includes SiriusXM, Snapchat, Target, and Verizon. Students learn core data analytics skills over 7 courses focusing on topics like data cleansing, data analysis, data visualization, and R programming, before applying these skills through a hands-on capstone project.

  • Length: 6 months, under 10 hours of study per week

  • Modality: Self-paced, online

  • Prerequisites: None

  • Syllabus Highlights: “Ask Questions to Make Data-Driven Decisions,” “Analyze Data to Answer Questions,” “Share Data Through the Art of Visualization,” “Data Analysis with R Programming”

  • Reported Outcomes: 75% of graduates report career improvement

  • Cost: $39/month of attendance on Coursera

columbia seal

Columbia University’s Data, Models and Decisions in Business Analytics

Data, Models and Decisions in Business Analytics, offered by Columbia University on edX, provides instruction in fundamental analytics concepts to help professionals improve their data-driven decision-making. Topics include regression, stochastic modeling, and optimization. Students can audit the course for free or pay to receive a certificate at the end.

  • Length: 12 weeks, 8-10 hours per week

  • Modality: Self-paced, online

  • Prerequisites: foundational knowledge of probability, statistics, and linear algebra, and ability to program with Python

  • Syllabus Highlights: “Estimation: sampling, confidence intervals, hypothesis testing,” “Regression: linear regression, dummy variables, applications,” “Dynamic Optimization: decision trees”

  • Reported Outcomes: None

  • Cost: Free (audit), $249 (verified track)

What’s next?

In this guide, we’ve covered the different reasons for taking a business analytics course and the vast amount of options out there. What’s next?  If you see a course that interests you, we’d recommend clicking through to its website to learn more. If you’d like to learn more about business analytics career can look like, we’d recommend checking out the following guides and articles: