What is data and technology?

In data and technology, data specialists leverage maths and statistics, computer programming, analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, combined with specific subject matter expertise to extract meaningful insights from the vast volumes of data being generated and collected globally every day. And the amount of data is only growing – expected to reach 175 zettabytes (or 175,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes) by 2025 – which means that data specialists are in greater demand than ever.

What does a career in data and technology involve?

Data specialists “make discoveries while swimming in data. … [They’re] at ease in the digital realm, they are able to bring structure to large quantities of formless data and make analysis possible,” write Thomas H. Davenport and DJ Patil for Harvard Business Review

“They identify rich data sources, join them with other, potentially incomplete data sources, and clean the resulting set. In a competitive landscape where challenges keep changing and data never stops flowing, [they] help decision-makers shift from ad hoc analysis to an ongoing conversation with data.”

Broadly, careers in data engineering, data science and business analytics can include the collection of data from a variety of sources; organising that data for analysis; and then analysing that data using technology like business analytics platforms, predictive analytics and machine learning. Often, they’ll also need to present their findings to the rest of their business or organisation using data visualisations or reports.

They work across every sector and industry. In science, data specialists might use their skills to build predictive models to predict climate change or the spread of infectious diseases. In tech, they might analyse on-demand streaming data to make recommendations. In business, they might analyse spending patterns to make economic forecasts. The applications are endless.

What is the difference between a data engineer, data scientist and business analyst?

While data engineers, data scientists and business analysts require similar skill sets, there are differences in what each specialist does. Data engineers develop new ways to store and access large amounts of data, designing, building and testing data architecture and tools that make it easier to collect and analyse data. Data scientists analyse and interpret raw data to find insights and patterns that provide insights and solve problems. Business analysts work in businesses to identify opportunities and make recommendations on business strategies.

What types of data and technology jobs are available?

The demand for data experts “has raced ahead of supply” around the world, according to the Harvard Business Review, which means there is a huge range of opportunities to take your data and technology career in any direction you want. In Australia alone, the demand for data scientists is expected to grow by 11% in the next five years, while the demand for business analysts is expected to grow by 23%.

Jobs in data science, data engineering and business analytics include:

  • Chief data officer

  • Business analyst

  • Data analyst

  • Statistician

  • Management analyst

  • Market research analyst

  • Computer systems analyst

  • Data consultant

  • Business insights and analytics manager

  • Data analyst 

  • Marketing data scientist

  • Machine learning

How do I get into the data and technology sector?

A career in data and technology requires highly specialised skills including maths and statistics, computer programming, analytics, artificial intelligence (AI)  and machine learning, as well as business and communication skills – making a formal qualification essential for a successful career. UNSW offers a variety of undergraduate, postgraduate and online study options in data and technology, spanning business, science, engineering and health.

  • Bachelor of Data Science and Decisions – The Bachelor of Data Science and Decisions will prepare you to compile, interpret and act on data in ways that make a big impact across every sector and industry. You’ll gain the theoretical and practical skills required to enter the field of data analysis, where networking, decision-making, strategic thinking and attention to detail are essential.

    Bachelor of Actuarial Studies or a major in Business Analytics in the Bachelor of Commerce – Actuaries help businesses, governments and individuals make critical decisions by analysing data, evaluating risks and identifying opportunities. UNSW's Bachelor of Actuarial Studies is one of the most prestigious actuarial programs in Australia. Business analytics is an increasingly popular specialisation, giving students a solid foundation in technical skills like statistical modelling, programming and database management, the ways businesses work, and the ethical and legal issues of data governance.

  • Master of Data Science and Decisions plus Graduate Certificate in Data Science and Decisions and Graduate Diploma in Data Science and Decisions

    Our postgraduate qualifications in Data Science and Decisions explore the methods for organising, modelling and analysing large and complex data for business, governments or other organisations specialising in quantitative, computational, business or behavioural data science and decisions. You’ll also develop essential research and communication skills in data science through hands-on project work.

    Master of Information Technology with a specialisation in Data Science and Engineering

    This is a future-focused specialisation, where you’ll learn how to foresee  future technology requirements in fast-growing areas such as artificial intelligence and cybersecurity 

    and develop the applications, frameworks, products and services in networking, data mining, robotics and internet services to meet them.

    Specialise in Business Analytics in the Master of Commerce

    The Master of Commerce provides a robust overview of the business world. By majoring in Business Analytics, you’ll explore ways to organise, identify, analyse and ultimately use data to drive business outcomes. You’ll develop advanced technical and mathematical skills to unpick complexities and make sense of the numbers.

    Graduate Certificate in Business Analytics

    The Graduate Certificate in Business Analytics will give you a foundational knowledge in business analytics and the technical skills to generate and communicate actionable insights from data. You’ll come away with an understanding of the conceptual frameworks, modelling techniques, database management, and ethical debates to have a holistic view of business analytics.

    Master of Science in Health Data Science plus Graduate Certificate in Health Data Science and Graduate Diploma in Health Data Science

    These programs focus on gathering, assessing and presenting data in a health setting. The Master of Science in Health Data Science is the first degree of its kind in Australasia. It explores the intersection of biostatistics, computer science and health to enable better decision-making in tackling critical health issues facing Australian and global communities.

  • Master of Data Science (Online) plus Graduate Certificate in Data Science (Online) and Graduate Diploma in Data Science (Online)

    These postgraduate qualifications will help you to take your degree wherever you want it to go. You can specialise in areas such as machine learning, database systems or statistics. Study for this degree is fully online and can be completed in two years.

    Graduate Certificate in Business Analytics (Online) and Graduate Diploma in Business Analytics (Online)

    The program is designed to fast-track your career in business analytics and meet the growing number of employment opportunities where data analytical capabilities are in high demand. Courses are delivered online in seven-week intensive blocks, which means you could graduate with a Graduate Certificate in Analytics in as little as 8 months.

    These programs can be stacked with the Master of Analytics (Online) – see below.

    Master of Analytics (Online)

    The online Master of Analytics program is designed for ambitious working professionals who want to advance their analytics capabilities to make data-driven decisions. You’ll come away with the expertise to influence business decisions and gain skills that can be applied across all industries.

    This program can be stacked with the Graduate Certificate in Business Analytics (Online) and Graduate Diploma in Business Analytics (Online) – see above.

    Master of Analytics (Human Resource Analytics) (Online)

    The Master of Analytics (Human Resource Analytics) will give you the specialist skills to address the demand for digital skills in HR. From optimising onboarding processes and identifying retention trends to improving employee experience, HR analytics can provide solutions to common human resource challenges.



Why study data and technology at UNSW?

A recent national report identified data science as one of the fastest-growing occupations in Australia. UNSW is primed to support the next wave of specialists to meet this rising demand. 

UNSW is leading the way in data and technology. We’re home to uDASH - UNSW Data Science Hub – which brings together data specialists from across the university to address complex, real-world challenges faced by business, industry, and government. uDASH has access to Australia’s fastest array of supercomputers, which means that simulations that can take days on high-end office machines may only take minutes or hours with our computing power. 

We’re also home to the Centre for Big Data Research in Health (CBDRH), Australia’s first research centre dedicated to health research using big data. CBDRH partners with government agencies, health organisations from the public, private and not-for-profit sectors, research funders, clinicians, health consumers and community members to enhance the health and wellbeing of all, by maximising the productive use of all possible sources of health big data in medical research.

Our data and technology qualifications leverage the expertise of three renowned schools – Mathematics and Statistics, Computer Science and Engineering and Economics – setting you up for success with an internationally recognised degree from a global top 20 university*.

*QS World University Rankings 2024

Connect with us

Where could a data & technology degree take you?

Explore your study options at UNSW and apply today.