How to Become a Data Analyst

Data Analyst professionals work in a variety of industries and focus on the analysis, importation, transformation or development of data.

More simply, they take any information they have regarding their organization and present it in a way that makes sense to anyone who needs to use it.

Data Analyst professionals provide their skills in industries such as healthcare, education, government and or the social sciences.

The specific information Data Analysts work with depends on the industry they work in.

For example a Data Analyst in the healthcare field will work with sensitive patient information such as treatments, the care provided to them or financial information.

They would also use demographic information such as age, gender or race.

A Data Analyst in this field would be responsible for creating concepts that the data proves to the presentation of those ideas.

Data Analysts have to be extremely organized people who are also proficient at using many computer technologies.

They have to master the use of analytical and presentation software in order take information and present it in a user friendly manner.

However, being able to use a variety of computer technology is not the only talent employers look for.

Employers also look for candidates who have excellent communication skills.

In some industries, such as in health care, a candidate will also have to have excellent customer service skills.

Education Requirements to Become a Data Analyst

Data Analysts are professionals who have met certain educational requirements.

Someone who has become a Data Analyst and working in the field has completed a Bachelor’s degree in Technology, Data Analysis, Research Methods, Information Management, Business Intelligence or Statistics.

People who want to become a Data Analyst should seek a Bachelor’s degree specializing in the these majors at an accredited four year institution.

In addition, potential Data Analysts should become proficient in using a range of software applications that help them perform their job of locating their company’s information and then assorting it into comprehensible ways.

Specific skill sets that employer’s look for in a candidate includes having the following traits:

  • Proficiency with analytical and programming tools such as SAS
  • Expertise using complicated Excel functions
  • Familiarity with data analysis methods
  • Knowledge of presentation software
  • Knowledge of computer hardware and software

A candidate can gain the listed skills by joining a baccalaureate program at an accredited institution.

Data Analyst Job Description

Data Analysts work in an office environment and use a variety of technology and office equipment such as computers, copiers and fax machines.

The functions a Data Analyst performs includes using their company’s information and using it to analyze, research, and perform reviews in order to seek new trends or find new insights regarding the organization.

The specific type of information a Data Analyst works with depends on the industry they work for.

However, a candidate who wants to become a Data Analyst can be sure that they will use information that has been obtained from a variety of sources.

These professionals use an assortment of techniques and resources to seek the data and information they find in order to present it in a user friendly manner.

Analytical tools such as Excel spreadsheet and SAS are necessary in order to

Data Analysts also use the information they find to analyze it and present it in a variety of ways, they use it to create useful visionary diagrams.

Some ways Data Analysts present a company’s information include making:

  • Charts
  • Tables
  • Graphs
  • Databases

A Data Analyst’s skills go beyond implementing ways to find and present data.

Professionals must be able to review and analyze large amounts of data.

They must also know how to look for the information and know how to use the databases that maintain information.

Data Analyst Salary and Career Path

The job outlook for Data Analyst position looks outstanding and this growth is expected to last through the year 2018.

This career route is expected to grow by 30% providing plenty of opportunities for interested candidates.

However, only certain sectors are expected to experience this large growth.

The national average income for these professionals is approximately $79,000 and has a range of $35,000 to $97,000 per year depending on the specialty and industry.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a data analyst do?

Data analysts can help companies and individuals figure out how to make better business decisions by collecting, processing and performing statistical analyses of data.

Of course, every company and organization collects data about its practice; it can be sales figures, transportation costs, market research, and so on.

Data analysts take the figures and use them to reduce transportation costs, for example, or to help the business figure out how to deal with the issues that cost a lot of money.

The typical responsibilities of a data analyst include mining data from various sources; working with teams to set certain goals; getting rid of irrelevant information; using statistical techniques and tools to analyze and interpret the results; providing data reports; fixing code problems; pinpointing trends in data sets, etc.

How much do data analysts make?

On average, data analysts make a little more than $44.000 per year in the United States.

In case you decide to follow this career path, you can expect to earn anywhere between $36.000 and $77.000 annually.

An entry-level data analyst can make about $17.50 per hour; while top-level professionals with plenty of experience earn around $37.

The salary of the specialist would certainly depend on the experience and education level, the employer, and the geographical location.

How much does it cost to become a data analyst?

You would need to earn a bachelor’s degree, in order to become a data analyst.

On average, a year at a university will cost you $34.000, in case you are an out-of-state student and decide to go for a bachelor’s degree in information technology.

Computer science classes would also be helpful; an online degree in computer science will cost you over $5.000.

In order to advance your career, you might want to consider going for a master’s degree or certification.

You can expect to pay around $30.000 to complete a master’s degree program.

What is the demand for data analysts?

According to IBM, by 2020, the number of jobs for data professionals in the United States will increase from 364.000 openings to nearly 3.000.000.

Bear in mind that over 50% of data analysts’ job demand is in Professional Services, IT, and Finance and Insurance.

The demand for data scientists and advanced analysts is expected to grow by 28% by 2020.

How long does it take to become a data analyst?

It will take you 4 years to obtain a bachelor’s degree.

However, a lot of employers require the candidates to have a master’s degree; it will take you 1-2 years to acquire one.

It is always a good idea to seek an internship during your final years in university to gain the on-the-job experience.

Bear in mind that a lot of people start at entry-level positions (as technicians or statistical assistants, for example) and make their way up to a data analyst in a few years or more.

Data analysts have to be familiar with the newest software programs, so you would certainly have to spend some time on that.

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