How to Become a Data Analyst? Job Description, Salary, Skills & Responsibilities

Data is the greatest asset an organization can possess. Not all data an organization collects is beneficial for it. This is where data analysts play a key role. Analysts gather, analyze, and interpret data to identify patterns and use it to get insights that help the organization reach its goals. 

The amount of data generated every second is growing every day. So is the demand for data analysts. As per  reports, the data analytics industry will create more than 11 million jobs by 2026. 

This blog  discusses the roles and responsibilities, salary, and skills of data analysts, along with tips to guide you on your journey to becoming one. 

Who is a Data Analyst?

Every organization needs data to thrive. The primary role of a data analyst is to ensure that the data collected by the organization helps them achieve their goals. They collect, process, and analyze the data to make it meaningful. This data improves operational efficiency, increases customer satisfaction, and reduces business costs. 

Role and responsibilities of Data Analysts

Some of the key responsibilities of Data Analysts include the following.

  • Asessing data with the help of statistical and analytics tools. 

  • Identifying and interpreting patterns from data sets.

  • Collecting data and develop databases.

  • Data cleansing and data visualization.

  • Designing and maintaining databases.

  • Preparing reports for stakeholders. 

  • Collaborating with engineers and leaders to identify areas for improvement.

Let us discuss some of the data analyst roles and responsibilities in detail.

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Understanding business goals

Data analysts must have a clear and thorough understanding of business goals and objectives to fulfill their responsibilities. Only by this can they collect data and use it to look for innovative solutions.

Data mining and cleansing

Data analysts have to mine the data from multiple sources to increase the efficiency of the processes. Then they have to cleanse and filter it to make it ready for analysis. 

Analyzing and interpreting data

Using statistical and analytical tools, data analysts analyze data and interpret trends from complicated datasets. These help them get unique business insights to make crucial decisions.  

Data visualization

Data analysts are also responsible for data visualization. They prepare data for presentation to stakeholders using visual elements such as graphs and maps. These reports concisely present comprehensive information and allow stakeholders and leaders to make data-driven decisions. 

Collaboration 

Data analysts do not work in isolation. They frequently collaborate with other stakeholders, such as the management team and data scientists, to ensure their requirements are fulfilled through data analysis. They also have to figure out different areas of improvement in different processes and develop unique solutions.

Data analyst requirements

A data analyst must have the required skills and qualifications to do their job successfully. They should have exceptional mathematical and statistical skills. Their communication and interpersonal skills must be spot on. It is a common misconception that data analysts must have a degree in mathematics or statistics. However, most data analysts have bachelors in business, computer science, finance, economics, accounting, and information technology. 

The key here is to have strong mathematical skills, even if it is not your major. Some courses you can do include data analytics, computer science, and information technology. 

Related: What is Data Analytics?

Skills required to become a data analyst

Data analysts need many skills to do their job successfully. They must have strong technical skills, like SQL, Excel, Oracle, and domain knowledge, enabling them to analyze data and find insights. They should also have soft skills that help them to communicate effectively with stakeholders and collaborate with other departments. 

Let us discuss some of these skills in detail.

Power BI

Power BI is an integral part of a data analyst’s job. It helps them streamline their work and transform and visualize data. It also helps them to perform advanced analytical functions, develop reports, and transform and merge data. 

Data analysis

Since the primary responsibility of a data analyst is to perform data analysis, they must also have relevant data analysis skills. They must know how to gather data, interpret it, and do portfolio stratification. They must have the skills to identify a challenge and use data to create solutions. Another skill is data exploration. They must explore trends and relationships in complex data sets to identify growth opportunities. 

Python and R

Python is also necessary for data analysts as it helps them perform predictive analysis on large data sets and conduct advanced analytical functions. Another language essential for data analysts is R tohandle large and complicated data sets. 

Data visualization

Data visualization is integral in providing a better and clear understanding of data to different users. Data analysts must have the skills to use different data visualization tools to help stakeholders identify patterns and opportunities. They must know how to create eye-catching graphs that concisely explain  different trends.

Data cleaning

Data is useless without proper cleaning. Irrelevant data can lead to inaccurate insights and flawed decision-making. Data analysts must be skilled in data cleaning and ensure only the highest-quality and most relevant data is used to draw accurate and relevant conclusions. 

Statistical programming

Knowledge of statistics and probability is crucial for data analysts. This helps them decipher the data patterns quickly and avoid making common errors. 

Machine Learning

Machine learning skills enable data analysts to have an edge over their competitors. It  also allows them to perform different and more advanced analytics. 

Some of the soft skills that data analysts must have are as follows.

Critical thinking 

Critical thinking helps data analysts to look beyond the surface and gain an in-depth understanding of the data. It allows them to identify patterns and trends which may not be visible at first. As a critical thinker, a data analyst will look for challenges and their solutions. They will continuously work on improving the processes. 

Communication

Data analysts collaborate with other teams and frequently interact with stakeholders. They must have excellent communication skills that allow them to communicate their findings to people in the organization effectively. 

Data analyst salary and career path overview

Data analysis is a lucrative career option with many growth opportunities. The average annual income of a data analyst is $74, 342. It can go up to $103,000 a year, depending on the skills, organization, and experience.

Data analysts can become consultants, project managers, and senior managers. They can eventually become Senior Information Technology Managers, Information Technology Operations Managers, or Systems Managers as their skills and experience increase. The scope for data analysts will only grow wider with the current reliance on data. 

How to become a data analyst?

You must have the necessary qualifications, skills, expertise, and experience to become a data analyst. You can take the following steps to become a data analyst.

Get relevant education

The first step is to get your degree. As mentioned earlier, you can get a degree in any field. However, it is recommended to get a degree in computer science, mathematics or IT. You can get certifications when you don’t want to get a degree. 

Develop skills

Data analysts must be skilled in Python, SQL, Excel, R, Power BI, data management, and data visualization. Before going for an internship, you can work on developing these skills. 

Do trainings and internships

Data analysts must take training to understand the requirements and goals of the organization they are working for. This training helps them get familiar with the specific tools that the organization uses, their data, and their objectives.

Learn data analyst roles and responsibilities

It is integral to know their roles and responsibilities before deciding to become a data analyst. This will help you judge whether you have the capacity and ability to perform those roles. It will also help you gauge your interest in the field. 

Apply for a job

Once you are done with the training and education, prepare a resume highlighting your skills. You can start applying for jobs. Remember to continue learning. Data analytics is a growing field, and you must keep upgrading your knowledge. 

Certifications for data analyst

There are many certifications that data analysts do to improve their job prospects and knowledge. 

Let us look at some of them.

Amazon AWS Certified Big Data

Amazon AWS Big Data certification proves the holder’s ability to use AWS to design, develop, and maintain analytic solutions. The course covers topics such as fundamentals of web analytics, mining data lakes, and understanding machine learning.

The people who want this certification need to pass Amazon’s DAS-01 certification exam. Candidates must have five years of experience in standard data analytics technology, two years of AWS experience, and know how to define AWS data analytic services. 

Springboard Data Analytics Career Track

This flexible online course is perfect for candidates with critical thinking and problem-solving abilities. The good thing about Springboard Data Analytics certification is that it comes with a job guarantee. The curriculum includes topics such as analyzing business problems, visualizing data with Python, and connecting data using SQL. Having two years of experience with programming tools and design is recommended before doing this course. 

CompTIA Data+

CompTIA Data+ covers all the skills a data analyst must have to be successful. This certification is highly popular because it is vendor-neutral. It also assesses the hands-on abilities of candidates. The course teaches skills like mining and manipulating data, analyzing complex datasets, and applying basic statistical methods. It is recommended to have 1.5-2 years of experience in data analytics to get this certification.

Cloudera Certified Associate Data Analyst

The Cloudera Certified Associate Data Analyst certification teaches professionals how to access, manipulate, and analyze complex data sets with the help of SQL. It is a four-day course and ideal for database administrators, developers, system architects, and business intelligence specialists. Candidates must have some knowledge of SQL and Linux command lines.

CareerFoundry Data Analytics Program

If you are a beginner in data analytics, this certification is perfect for you. The curriculum covers the relevant skills, processes, and tools a data analyst must know to succeed. Some of the things you will learn include excel, analytical methods, and descriptive analysis. This certification also comes with a job guarantee. 

SAS Certified Big Data Professional 

SAS Certified Big Data Professional covers skills such as preparing big data for statistical analysis, working with Hadoop and SAS, and applying fundamental statistical analysis. The course includes improving data quality, visualizing and manipulating data, and overcoming challenges that come with large data. Holders can work as senior analysts, business analysts, and AVP strategic information solutions. 

Microsoft Certified: Power BI Data Analyst Associate

Power BI Data Analyst Associate validates the holder’s ability to use Power BI. It teaches skills such as building scalable data models, transforming data, and enabling advanced data analytics capabilities. To get this certification, you should have basic knowledge of data repositories and processes.

IBM Data Science Professional Certificate

This certification is perfect for beginners in data science. It covers subjects such as fundamentals of data science, its methodology, tools, databases and SQL with Python, etc. This certification will help you get an entry-level role. The holders are skilled in SQL, IBM Cognos Analytics, Python, Excel, and Numpy. You can get this certification without a college degree. But you must have basic computer skills and know high school math. 

Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate

This certification is six months long and trains candidates in the fundamentals of data analytics. This is a good option for beginners as it requires no prior knowledge or experience. It covers processing and visualizing data and teaches how to use R programming and SQL. Holders can apply for jobs such as junior data analyst, business performance analyst, and data technician.

Data analytics is a growing field, and the demand for data analysts is expected to continue rising. The above certifications can help you get better job opportunities and gain knowledge and skills. 

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Armin Vans
Archer Charles has top education industry knowledge with 4 years of experience. Being a passionate blogger also does blogging on the technology niche.

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