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How to Become a Data Analyst

Growth Trends for Related Jobs

Work With Numbers to Help Companies Perform Their Best

Data analysts collect and analyze data to help companies make wise marketing, financial and operational decisions. If you enjoy computers, mathematics and corporate culture, this could be a satisfying career, as you can help businesses perform their best and reach their goals. Hours are typically regular, which is ideal when you have little ones who need child care. As an added bonus, many employers offer benefits that help add stability to family life.

Job Description

Data analysts use computer and mathematical skills to collect data and find patterns that help companies make wise decisions about employment, benefits, marketing, social media and more. Most analysts compile reports that include spreadsheets, graphs and written explanations of their findings. Language skills are important in the field, as data analysts normally present their findings to people who are not as naturally mathematically inclined. Expect to spend hours alone combing through data and compiling reports, as well as time in sharing your results with large and small audiences. Attention to detail, people skills and problem-solving abilities are essential in helping companies learn how to reduce waste, improve efficiency and reach their goals.

Education Requirements

Data analysts typically enter the field with a bachelor's degree in computer science, market research, math, statistics or a related field. Some employers prefer candidates who have a master's degree in statistics, business administration or marketing research. The Insights Association offers an optional certification that may give you an edge in the job market, help you stand out from the crowd and make connections in the field.

After you've obtained the educations required to enter the field, you will likely enjoy a stable middle-class income to help support your family. The median income for all market researchers, including data analysts, is $62,560, which means that half earn more than this, while the other half earns less. The top 10 percent earns more than $121,720, while the bottom 10 percent earns less than $33,950.

About the Industry

Data analysts typically work in corporate or office environments. They may be hired to work for one company or consult with several companies. Some data analysts work on teams, while other work more independently. Data analysts frequently collaborate with social media teams, higher level executives and other decision-making parties in a company. While hours are generally regular, overtime might be occasionally required to meet tight deadlines.

Years of Experience

During the first decade of their careers, data analysts see a nice increase in income, after which it begins to plateau, and increases are not as dramatic. One projection looks like this:

  • Entry-Level:  $55,768
  • Mid-Career:  $64,579
  • Experienced: $66,686
  • Late-Career: $68,952

Job Growth Trend

Job opportunities for data analysts are expected to increase by 23 percent over the next decade, much faster than in other industries. More opportunities are due in large part to a greater demand for data to better market products to consumers and create internal efficiency. With the growing use of social media, which is constantly changing, data analysts are in demand to help companies successfully navigate the terrain of the technological marketplace.