Analytics Degree vs. Certificate vs. Bootcamp

If you’re looking to advance your analytics skills, you may be considering if an online analytics degree program, a data analytics bootcamp, or an analytics certificate program is a better fit for you.

While our MS in analytics is an online graduate program, we believe it is important that you understand all of the options available to you before making this investment in your future.

Below are some of the most common questions about the differences between the three program options. The comparisons are based on research from top bootcamp and certificate programs. These are general comparisons that highlight what students in typical bootcamp or certificate programs can expect and may vary.

The analytics certificate examples on this page reference stand-alone certificates not offered in conjunction with a master's program. For example, information below is not representative of the Analytics Certificate offered with AU’s online MBA program.

What Type of Analytics Program Is Right for You?

How much time do you want to commit?

MS in Analytics: Complete in 12–15 months


Bootcamps: Typically 3–4 months


Certificates: Typically up to 12 months

Is prior programming knowledge required?

MS in Analytics: No.


Bootcamps: No, but these are generally quickly paced and intense, so you may need to complete additional analytics training work on the side to keep up.


Certificates: It depends on the program, but programming experience may be required if it’s a specialized course.

What is your preferred learning style?

MS in Analytics: Our online business analytics degree program is taught in weekly, online classes where you come face to face with your classmates and instructors who are AU faculty. This is accompanied by self-paced online course work and in-person learning experiences that involve working with a real company’s data.


Bootcamps: Bootcamps are typically highly intense, with a lot of information packed into a short period of time. They can be offered online or in person.


Certificates: These programs are typically offered as a single course or a series of analytics courses that lead to a certificate. They are usually offered online and can be self-paced. Certificate programs are not usually taught in live sessions with instructors, but rather use recorded videos and a network of reviewers to review course work.

What type of skills are you looking to develop?

MS in Analytics: In our online business analytics master’s program, you will learn both technical programming skills and applied skills. You will learn to use programming languages and programs such as SQL, Tableau, R, and Hadoop to solve a variety of organizational and business challenges.


Bootcamps: Bootcamps typically focus on mastering a specific technical skill. There are bootcamps that focus on applied skills and practical projects as well.


Certificates: Data analytics certification programs can focus on a single topic or programming language or can include multiple courses that offer a more comprehensive curriculum.

How specialized of skills do you want?

MS in Analytics: You will learn how to directly apply the technical skills you learn to your career and can choose a predesigned focus area or design your own by choosing electives that align with your interests. We offer the following focus areas: Business Foundations, Cybersecurity, Consulting, and Financial Analytics.


Bootcamps: Typically one size fits all.


Certificates: Typically one size fits all.

Customize Your Analytics Degree to Align with Your Career

Learn more about AU’s online MS in analytics program.

What are your career goals?

MS in Analytics: You will earn a degree from an accredited program, which signals to employers that you have the advanced skills necessary to start a new higher-level job or earn a promotion. Some career opportunities with a master’s in analytics include financial analyst, business intelligence consultant, or supply chain manager.


Bootcamps: Data analytics bootcamps teach you a highly focused skill that you can apply directly to your career. They are typically used to improve performance at your current job or to learn a skill needed to transition to a new career.


Certificates: Earning an analytics certificate signals to employers that you advanced your skills in analytics, and may possibly be used as credit toward a degree program if you choose to take that path later on.

What makes the online MS in analytics program stand out?

AU’s online analytics program helps you graduate ready to succeed by providing you with hands-on experience and invaluable connections that are unique to the program.

In-Person Practicums

You will visit AU’s Washington, DC, campus for two in-person practicums where you will use data to solve a real company’s challenges, collaborate on group projects, and network with guest speakers who are experts in the field.

Accessible Faculty

You will have access to your instructors during office hours in addition to the face time you get during class. Instructors are the same quality AU faculty who teach on campus and are committed to their students’ success.

Diverse Network

You will form close relationships with your classmates and AU alumni who live across the country, work in different industries, and have connections to key DC and global business resources.

Ready to Take the Next Step?

Request information about the online MS in analytics program.