Career Development

What Does a Data Analyst Do?

Find out what a data analyst does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a data analyst.

Data analysts are responsible for analyzing data and converting it into useful information. They commonly work with large sets of raw data to extract meaningful insights that can be used to inform business decisions.

Data analysis is a broad field with many different applications, but in general it involves taking large amounts of data and breaking them down into smaller chunks that are easier to understand. This process often involves the use of computer software or other automated tools to help organize and interpret the data being analyzed.

Data Analyst Job Duties

A data analyst typically has a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Researching data sources such as surveys, interviews, focus groups, and statistical models to identify potential areas of concern or opportunity
  • Explaining complex data sets in simple terms to non-technical audiences
  • Recommending changes to policies, procedures, or processes based on findings from data analysis
  • Conducting data mining and statistical analysis using multiple computer programs
  • Creating visual representations of data using charts, graphs, or infographics
  • Monitoring performance metrics to identify trends or areas that need improvement
  • Identifying opportunities for growth based on customer needs and interests
  • Recommending solutions to problems based on findings from data analysis
  • Communicating results to other members of the organization

Data Analyst Salary & Outlook

Data analysts’ salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the company size and industry. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of bonuses or commissions.

  • Median Annual Salary: $73,500 ($35.34/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $122,000 ($58.65/hour)

The employment of data analysts is expected to grow much faster than average over the next decade.

Employment growth will be driven by the increasing use of data analysis in a variety of fields, such as healthcare and business analytics. Data analysts will be needed to organize and interpret the large amounts of data collected by companies.

Related: In-Depth Data Analyst Salary Guide

Data Analyst Job Requirements

A data analyst typically needs to have the following skills:

Education: Data analysts are typically expected to hold a bachelor’s degree in a field such as statistics, mathematics, computer science, business or a related field. Some employers may prefer candidates who also have a master’s degree in business administration (MBA).

Training & Experience: Data analysts typically receive on-the-job training. This training may include learning the company’s specific software and computer systems. It may also include learning about the company’s industry and the data analysts’ role in it.

Certifications & Licenses: Certifications can prove an individual’s qualifications to current and prospective employers. Data analysts can earn certifications to gain more practical knowledge of their daily responsibilities, test their professional skills and advance their careers.

Data Analyst Skills

Data analysts need the following skills in order to be successful:

Data analysis: Data analysis is the process of examining data to find patterns and draw conclusions. Data analysts need to be able to interpret data to find the most important information.

Communication: Data analysts often work with other data analysts, other employees and clients. Effective communication is crucial to the success of a data analysis project. Data analysts should be able to explain complex data in a way that is easy to understand. They should also be able to communicate with clients and colleagues about what data is needed and what data is available.

Critical thinking: Critical thinking is the ability to analyze a situation and make decisions based on the information you have. Data analysts use critical thinking skills to make sense of data and find patterns.

Problem-solving: Data analysts often work with incomplete data and may need to fill in the gaps. They need to be able to identify the problem and find a solution. For example, if a data set is missing a month of data, the data analyst may need to find a way to reconstruct the data.

Programming: Data analysts often use programming languages like SQL, Python and Tableau to manipulate data and create visualizations. Some data analysts also use programming to create tools and scripts to automate data collection and processing.

Data Analyst Work Environment

Data analysts work in a variety of settings, including corporate offices, government agencies, and educational institutions. They typically work in teams with other analysts and computer specialists. Data analysts typically work full time, and some may work more than 40 hours per week to meet deadlines or to complete projects. Data analysts need to be able to work well under pressure, as they may be required to meet tight deadlines. They also need to be able to work independently and be self-motivated, as they will often be working on projects with little supervision.

Data Analyst Trends

Here are three trends influencing how data analysts work. Data analysts will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Need for More Technical Skills

The need for more technical skills is a trend that is quickly becoming apparent in the business world. As data becomes more and more important, businesses are realizing that they need to have people on staff who can understand and analyze it.

This trend is creating a demand for data analysts who have strong technical skills, such as programming and database management. By developing these skills, data analysts can become even more valuable members of their team.

Data Science Becomes a More Important Role

As data science becomes a more important role, data analysts will need to be able to work with a wider range of data sources.

In order to be successful in this field, data analysts will need to be able to work with both structured and unstructured data. They will also need to be able to use a variety of tools and techniques to extract insights from data.

More Collaboration Between Business and IT

Businesses are increasingly looking to collaborate with IT professionals in order to get the most out of their data. This is leading to an increased demand for data analysts who can help businesses make sense of their data and find ways to use it to improve operations.

Data analysts can capitalize on this trend by becoming experts in data visualization and analysis. This will allow them to communicate complex data findings in a way that is easy to understand for non-technical stakeholders.

How to Become a Data Analyst

A data analyst career path can be a great way to use your math skills and analytical thinking in a practical way. As a data analyst, you’ll be responsible for collecting, organizing, and analyzing data to help companies make better business decisions.

This is a field that’s constantly changing as technology advances, so it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and developments. You should also be prepared to learn new skills as they become necessary for the job.

Related: How to Write a Data Analyst Resume

Advancement Prospects

Data analysts can advance their career by becoming a data scientist. Data scientists are responsible for analyzing data and making recommendations based on their findings. They use their knowledge of statistics and computer science to develop algorithms that can be used to predict future trends. Data scientists typically have a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field.

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