How to Become a Data Analyst

By Miranda Morley; Updated July 05, 2017
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Working in a variety of industries, data analysts help the organizations who hire them understand the data provided by research and assessment. They may also help he organizations they serve understand the implications of the data and assist them by recommending actions based on the results of the data. In some cases, data analysts may help design tests or assessments.

Research data analysis in a variety of industries to determine the industry in which you are interested. For example, in the information technology industry, data analysts may work to interpret information housed in databases or website visitor data. In the business arena, data analysts complete these tasks, as well as analyze customer trends and make recommendations based on them. Read job descriptions for different data analysts and interview those currently working as analysts to decide which industry would be the best fit for you.

Interview university career counselors and company managers, and do research through the Bureau of Labor Statistics, to determine what educational requirements you must meet to get your dream data analysis job.

Meet with the admissions advisers of universities near you, or schedule phone appointments with admissions representatives of online schools that interest you. Interview admissions representatives with regard to the kinds of courses available for would-be data analysts. Ask to talk to faculty in the departments in which you will be studying, and ask for phone numbers of alumni who are now successful data analysts. After considering this information, and tuition costs minus available scholarships, register as a student in pursuit of a bachelor's or master's degree.

Get a job or internship in the data analysis field you are interested in entering. While you may not be able to get a paid job with no experience, you must gain experience to become a data analyst. Check with your university to see if it has developed any partnerships with firms to accept summer interns.

After graduation, interview with companies in your field of interest or expertise for data analyst positions. According to IT Career Coach, you should prepare an analyst portfolio and practice speaking about the databases you have used and projects you have completed before your interviews.

Tip

Because most organizations require that you have both experience and advanced education before they will hire you as a data analyst, if you are offered a job right out of college, you may want to take it while you complete your master's.

About the Author

Miranda Morley is an educator, business consultant and owner of a copywriting/social-media management company. Her work has been featured in the "Boston Literary Magazine," "Subversify Magazine" and "American Builder's Quarterly." Morley has a B.A. in English, political science and international relations. She is completing her M.A. in rhetoric and composition from Purdue University Calumet.