Every day, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created, much of it through our smartphones and internet searches. Businesses of all sizes generate and collect data such as sales figures, website traffic metrics, customer records and other information.
Data analysts review this data and use it to make recommendations to help boost a company’s performance and profitability. You might want to consider a data analyst job if working with math and statistics is your thing. Read on for information regarding what data analysts do, how much they earn and where to find jobs.
Main Takeaways: Getting a Data Analyst Job
- Data analyst is a meticulous career. It consists of looking at large data sets and making conclusions to help efficiency within a company.
- There are many types of data analysis. People who can interpret data are needed in all industries, including finance, entertainment, sports, web and more.
- Salaries can range for these positions. Read on to learn salary expectations, growth rate for this field, and more.
- Main Takeaways: Getting a Data Analyst Job
- What Does a Data Analyst Job Entail?
- Do I Need a Formal Degree to Work in this Field?
- Types of Data Analyst Jobs and Titles
- Salary Ranges and Expectations for Data Analyst Jobs
- Projected Growth Rate of the Data Analysis Field
- How to Get a Data Analyst Job
- Top 6 Skills to Be Successful at Data Analysis
- More than Number Crunching
What Does a Data Analyst Job Entail?
Data analysts play an important role in the growth and success of an organization. Here are some typical job functions:
- Gather, review and analyze specific information for a company.
- Perform statistical analyses on data collected using software programs, surveys and other online tools.
- Interpret data collected and provide bottom-line insight in the form of a report or presentation.
- Organize and present information key findings to business leaders and stakeholders so they can make informed business decisions.
A data analyst might gather data related to a specific ad campaign a company is running and analyze how many times a site is visited by customers. The information gathered would be used to measure the success or failure of that type of campaign.
Data analysts can work in any industry, including finance, healthcare, insurance and information technology.
Do I Need a Formal Degree to Work in this Field?
You’ll need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree to work in this field, with a major in economics, statistics, mathematics or data analytics. A master’s degree in data analytics or a related field means you’ll be able to move even further in your career. Some of the topics you’ll study and be required to know include:
- Data mining
- Statistical analysis and programming
- Simulation and optimization to apply data to real-world scenarios
- Data warehousing and business intelligence platforms
- Database querying and languages
The more advanced technical skills you have, the more you can expect in terms of salary and career growth. It would benefit you to take a wide range of data analytics courses in addition to other mathematics and statistical studies.
Types of Data Analyst Jobs and Titles
Here’s a quick look at several different types of data analyst jobs.
Entry-Level Data Analyst Jobs
An entry-level data analyst, junior data analyst or data entry specialist might be a current college student, intern or recent college graduate. You would assist more senior-level data or IT analysts to help gather data and other administrative tasks.
Business Data Analyst
A business data analyst, also called an advanced data analyst or senior data analyst, is a mid- to senior-level data analyst tasked with analyzing and interpreting a company’s customer and internal data. Business data analysts research best practices and assist with the development of business process improvements and solutions based on the data analyzed.
Health Care Data Analyst
Health care data analysts, health information management analysts and health care business analysts gather and analyze information from a variety of sources including medical records, admission records, insurance claims, patient surveys and billing records. This helps health care organizations improve overall quality, performance and efficiency.
IT Data Analyst
IT data analysts (also known as IT business analysts and data privacy analysts) gather and assess technical information for IT organizations as well as other types of businesses. They might examine data related to potential security breaches, privacy concerns and compliance issues.
Web Data Analyst
Web data analysts, also called web content analysts or internet marketing analysts, examine and interpret data obtained from web metrics, web traffic, page views and other information related to a company’s website. The data analyzed is highly useful for planning marketing campaigns, developing website content and social media campaigns to increase sales.
Sports Data Analyst
A sports data analyst or sports research analyst gathers and analyzes statistics regarding sports figures, teams and competitions to predict outcomes and provide insight to sports fans, betting agencies and news organizations.
Data Analytics Managers
Data analytics managers or IT analysis managers are senior-level data analysts who usually oversee a team of data analysts. They ensure the accuracy and efficiency of data collected and analyzed and expedite the reporting aspect of the job.
Data analytics managers more frequently deal directly with company leaders and stakeholders and provide advice regarding data results and business process recommendations.
Salary Ranges and Expectations for Data Analyst Jobs
According to a recent IBM study, average annual salaries can range for data analysts depending on the job category and industry. Here are a few examples of salary expectations:
|Job Title||Industry||Average Salary||Industry||Average Salary|
|Finance and insurance|
|Advanced data analyst||Finance and insurance|
|Analytics manager||Finance and insurance|
There’s a lot of potential for salary growth in this field, so it’s a good one to pursue if you have the right education and expertise.
Projected Growth Rate of the Data Analysis Field
Data analytics is a hot field. The same IBM study revealed that data analyst jobs will increase by 364,000 openings to 2.72 million by 2020. You shouldn’t have trouble finding a position quickly. Data scientists, advanced analysts and data analytics managers jobs will be in demand, with a higher-than-average projected growth rate of 28%.
How to Get a Data Analyst Job
Once you’ve acquired an education, how do you go about finding a data analyst job? Here are some tips and strategies to help jumpstart your search:
- Focus on one industry: Whether it’s finance or IT, healthcare or insurance, decide what type of industry interests you and then make a list of major companies in your target area. Search for data analyst jobs on websites and credible job search engines.
- Network: Connect with other data analysts on LinkedIn, Twitter and GitHub. Pick up a networking book to find new ways to connect with colleagues and potential employers.
- Study other data analysts: Take a look at data analysts’ profiles on sites such as LinkedIn to find tips on how to structure your resume and profile. See how they describe their skills and expertise and find out where they’re employed for employer ideas.
- Get an internship: Still in college? Many companies hire interns and some offer paid internships, so explore this option with your school’s career center to gain some valuable on-the-job experience.
- Work with a recruiting agency: Recruiting agencies will do most of the legwork to help you find the right data analyst job.
- Polish your resume: Hire a professional to write your resume and review it for accuracy and content. Make sure your computer programming, data mining and data analysis skills are front and center.
- Build a portfolio of data analysis projects: Join groups such as Kaggle, which connects data analysts and allows them to publish data sets and build models in a web-based science environment. You can also highlight data analysis projects you completed while in college.
- Show and tell: Publish your work on sites such as WordPress, GitHub, Jekyll, SquareSpace or other blog forums.
- Join professional organizations: Become a member of organizations such as the American Association of Professional Technical Analysts or the Digital Analytics Association so you can connect with your peers and learn about job openings and other useful resources.
Top 6 Skills to Be Successful at Data Analysis
Education alone isn’t enough to make it as a data analyst. Here are the top 6 skills you’ll need to be successful as a data analyst.
1. Computer Language Skills
You’ll need to be proficient in several computer programming languages such as C++, MATLAB, Python, Java and PHP in order to manipulate data. While it’s not possible to be an expert in every coding language, the more you know, the more you’ll be an asset to your employer.
2. Data Management and Manipulation Skills
Data analysis requires you to build queries to extract the information you’re looking for, so you’ll need to be proficient in programming languages such as SQL, HIVE and Scala. Once you’ve extracted the data, you should be skilled at using tools such as Oracle Visual Analyzer, Cognos, Microsoft Power BI and SAS to generate accurate reports, forecast trends and spot patterns.
3. Communication Skills
Being a data analyst requires you to communicate business trends and results to individuals who make key decisions. You should be adept at communicating with all levels of business partners and explain your findings in layman’s terms.
4. Creativity Skills
You’ll need to develop creative and efficient techniques for working with large sets of data, organizing and structuring it to produce the most efficient results. Communicating results to end users means you may need to use creative analogies and explanations.
5. Analytical Skills
Data analysts must examine and analyze massive amounts of information and make sense of it, which requires strong analytical skills. You’ll be looking for patterns and trends and will need to know how to determine what they mean.
6. Problem-Solving Skills
Developing solutions is a large part of being a data analyst, so good problem-solving skills are critical. You’ll be required to examine large, complex data sets and suggest solutions based on your findings.
More than Number Crunching
A data analyst career is a lucrative one and offers a secure plan for retirement and a wide range of industries to choose from. It provides job security and a good salary and can be done remotely or on-site. Data analysts play a key role in companies as they make important data-driven business decisions.
This career is well worth exploring if you use your analytical skills to positively impact an organization’s profitability.