How to become a Data Analyst?

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 Updated: 
December 2, 2020
 / 6 minutes

A Data analyst is a professional who analyzes massive datasets to understand the trend and find insights. If you are working in the field of data analysis, you will be helping companies improve their business practices and make improved decisions.

In this article, we will be discussing the steps required for becoming a data analyst along with a job description and future outlook.

The three steps for becoming a data analyst

1.    Complete your bachelor’s program in Information Technology, Computer Science, or Statistics

It is important that you complete your undergraduate program in one of the above-mentioned fields. You should take computer science classes emphasizing project and database management. To find the right data analyst career path for you, you can take the help of a career counselor or an advisor.

2.    Work in the field to gain some experience

Without any working experience in the field of data science, getting even an entry-level position in the field will be challenging. You need to find an internship while studying in order to gain the required experience. Working in a company will help you gain additional training and skill development. Even after that, you will have to start working in an entry-level position. In the field of data science, such positions are that of a technician or statistical assistant. Working in these roles will allow you to get the much-needed valuable experience and training. If your company offers in-house classes, you need to take advantage of it, especially if they are about analytical programs and big data management. This training, knowledge, experience, and your willingness to learn are going to have a positive impact on your career.

3.    Move ahead in your career with a certificate course or a master’s degree program

If you get a high-level degree, it will help you get more opportunities in the field of Data Science. Companies want employees who have an in-depth knowledge of the field and are familiar with the technologies and tools of the field. Earning data science, data analytics, or big data management will provide you exposure to some of the best software programs used in data science. Many institutes partner with enterprises for creating assignments and internships so that the students can have a real-world experience while studying.

Job of a Data Analyst

The job of a data analyst involves taking data and using it to ensure that the company makes informed and better decisions. When you are working in this field, you will have to acquire information about certain topics and interpret and analyze this data. It will be your responsibility to ensure that your findings are presented in a comprehensive report.

Almost all businesses and industries have started to use data analysts for collecting and analyzing their data. With your skills and data science tools, these companies will be able to identify trends in the field.

Your job as a data analyst will be different from that of a data scientist. You won’t be responsible for creating algorithms to be used for data acquisition. Instead of creating your own data projects, you will be using existing tools, datasets, and systems for tackling specific business tasks. However, there is one similarity. Both jobs have a common goal of using the information to solve problems and answer questions that will benefit the company.

Here are a few responsibilities you will have to take on as a data analyst:

  • Find out the questions that are being asked and if data can be used for answering those questions.
  • Determine any technical issues that can occur while gathering or analyzing data, and designing reports.
  • Identifying new data sources and methods for improving the process of collecting, analyzing, and reporting data.
  • Collecting, analyzing, and reporting data for meeting the needs of the business.
  • Distinguishing between patterns and trends.
  • Reporting data in a repeatable and comprehensive way.

Skills required to become a data analyst

If you want to work in the field of data analysis, you must have technical skills along with strong industry knowledge. When you have a complete understanding of the relationships existing in the company’s databases and data sources, only then you will be able to obtain information. Here are some skills you will need for using advanced database techniques and tools as well as complex query statements:

  1. Analytical skills – Data analysts have to deal with large data volumes that include facts, figures, and numbers. You will need strong analytical skills for seeing through the data and analyzing it to find insights.
  2. Communication skills – A part of your job will be to present your findings. For this, you will have to ensure that the data is transformed into reports or documents that are understandable for all. Also, you need to write and speak clearly to ensure that complex ideas are easily communicated.
  3. Critical thinking – Data analysts need critical thinking skills to formulate conclusions by looking at the numbers, data, and trends.
  4. Math skills – Math skills are required to process numerical data.
  5. Technical tools/skills – If you want to be a data analyst, you must have technical skills and an in-depth understanding of the latest tools and techniques used in the field. A few examples of these are XML, SQL, R, Python, JavaScript, Hadoop, SAS, and other programs.

Salary of a Data Analyst

According to Indeed.com, a data analyst can earn an average of $75,347 per year. However, there are multiple factors that can affect your salary such as your education, work experience, certifications, etc. It is important to note that for the first 10 years in the field, your pay will gradually increase. After that, any experience won’t have a lot of impact on your pay. You will need some extra certifications and skills to move ahead. You can move on to other roles like data architects, data engineers, or data scientists.

In the past decade, more and more companies have started to understand the importance of data and data analysts. If you become a data analyst, your job opportunities are bound to grow. You will be able to enjoy a multitude of job prospects. Companies are currently struggling to find skilled workers. If you gain the right skills, you will be able to move ahead easily in this field. So, enroll in a data analyst course now to get started in your journey in the field of data science.

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