The world has become data-driven, as 79 zettabytes were created only in 2021, and it seems like there is no plan for its pace to slow down any time soon. By 2025, the yearly amount of data generated is expected to double, and more than 150 zettabytes will need analysis. So, a career in data analytics, such as a data analyst position, is more than necessary in today’s society.
But, before you decide to pursue this career, you must have some questions like:
- Are data analysts in demand at the moment?
- What salary should I expect?
- What are the skills I must master to succeed in this field?
- Is data analyst a promising career?
We have all the answers for you, so read on and see if this career is the right choice.
What Does a Data Analyst Do?
Data analysts are professionals who examine data by using data analysis tools in order to extract valuable insight that helps their employers or clients make better-informed decisions. They work closely with other professionals in the data science and analytics field by gathering data, organizing, and then processing it so they can develop and maintain databases and other collection systems.
On a daily basis, data analysts deal with various duties and tasks, mainly all related to interpreting data. If you pursue this career, you will be responsible for:
- Gathering data through surveys, by tracking clients’ inquiries and purchases on the company website, or buying ready-made datasets from data specialists
- Cleaning data from incorrect or corrupted data within a data set by using programming languages so that your operations won’t be affected by the errors
- Designing and developing database structures
- Interpreting the data by finding patterns, trends, or irregularities in data
- Sharing your findings with other data professionals by creating reports, putting together charts and graphs, and presenting them to the team.
Is Data Analyst a Good Career?
If we consider as good a career associated with a promising future and a fair salary, then yes, becoming a data analyst is an excellent career choice. As companies begin to understand the edge they can gain over competitors if they use the data produced by their clients— there is no better time than the present to pursue a career as a data analyst.
As an occupation related to market research analysis, the employment of data analysts is projected to grow at a rate much faster than the average for all other occupations. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, from 2020 to 2030, data analyst job positions are expected to experience a 22% increase, with an average of 96,000 openings anticipated each year.
The average annual salary for data analysts in the United States is $67,294, with the top percentile earning as much as $103,000 annually. In contrast, the 25th percentile earns around $47,500 each year.
Like with other occupations, when working as a data analyst, your salary depends on your position and your employer, company, and the city. California tops the list with two of the highest paying cities, San Jose, where data analysts earn $81,633 yearly, and Oakland, $80,704. Other cities where you can expect to earn more than the national average as a data analyst include:
- Tanaina, AK – $80,373
- Wasilla, AK – $80,371
- Basking Ridge, NJ – $80,199
- Waltham, MA – $80,088
- Hayward, CA – $79,013
- Jackson, WY – $78,929
- Norwalk, CT – $78,721
- Seattle, WA – $78,470
Skills You Need as a Data Analyst
To excel in the position of a data analyst, you must obtain a set of skills related to tools you need when working with data and ones that help you with the way you approach your tasks and communicate your findings to others.
SQL (Structured Query Language)
There are many database languages that you need to master if you want to make it in data analytics. The most crucial one is Structured Query Language, also known as SQL.
Structured Query Language is the standard database language used for querying and handling data. With knowledge of SQL, you obtain a more robust understanding of relational database management systems. This tool can handle large sets of data and process information quickly. You can use it to edit, organize, update, and retrieve data. In addition, you can modify data structures, connect multiple databases, and more.
Apart from SQL, you need to be skilled in another industry-standard tool—Python. Python is a powerful statistical programming language and is moderately easy to learn. It is the ideal tool for processing complex data.
You can use Python to:
- develop websites and software
- automate tasks
- derive data sets
- transform data for analysis
- analyze data
- connect your data to statistical models, and more.
Visualizations are a vital part of data analysis. After gathering and analyzing the data, you usually have to present the results to the company. Most people won’t get much by just looking at a giant spreadsheet full of numbers. This is where visualizations come into play. You can use charts, graphs, or other illustration forms to communicate your findings visually. This way, you can help the business’s decision-makers better understand complex ideas, including data trends and patterns.
When analyzing data to search for insight, you must first know what you are looking for. To succeed as a data analyst, you must develop critical thinking skills, including observing the data, approaching the analysis process, evaluating your conduct, interpreting your findings, and problem-solving and decision-making.
Once you work on your critical thinking skills, you will be able to tackle tasks from various angles and develop creative solutions for problems you may face down the road.
Career Paths as a Data Analyst
You can utilize the education and skills you gather to pursue a career as a data analyst for many other jobs. You have multiple career paths as a data analyst, with some of the best listed below.
Business analysts are responsible for analyzing the current market of their organization’s services or products. They gather information by studying data on the line of products, the client requirements, and the company’s overall profitability.
As a business analyst, you can earn an average annual salary of $82,343.
Data architects are responsible for utilizing their skills and knowledge of coding and programming languages to help secure the organization’s databases. Furthermore, they help collect and organize data sets and analyze data regarding the company’s needs.
The data architect is a highly rewarded position with an average salary of $132,617 per year.
Data Analyst Consultant
When working as a data analyst consultant, you are responsible for providing solutions to help offer answers to the company’s problems to improve the staff’s efficiency and productivity. You would gather and analyze data, then use their insight to consult the management team on the best route of action.
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Yet another high-paying data analyst position, as a data analyst consultant, you can earn an average salary of $95,151 each year.
Healthcare Data Analyst
Professionals working as healthcare data analysts are responsible for gathering, organizing, and supervising the healthcare clinic’s data. These professionals help the management team offer better healthcare services through the analysis they conduct.
The average salary of a healthcare data analyst is $86,806 per year.
You can also pursue a career as an analytics manager, who is responsible for directing the data analyst department of the company. In addition to the guidance they offer, when working in this position, you will also have to help build the team of data analysts by partaking in the hiring process and helping each new team member find the job position that best suits their skill set.
As you will have to lead a team, the position comes with higher compensation. An analytics manager earns up to $109,188 on average each year.
Why Should You Consider a Career as a Data Analyst?
In addition to the job prospect, salary, and multiple career paths of a data analyst, there are numerous other reasons why you should consider a career in this field. The importance of a data analyst’s work for organizations, the simple route you follow to begin working as a data analyst, and how much you can grow in the profession are only a few aspects you should keep in mind.
Data analyzing is becoming a top priority in many organizations
With the valuable insight it provides, data analysis has become a top priority in many organizations, especially those needing information about the current trends and their customer’s requirements to improve their services and products.
According to statistics on data analytics, around 80% of global companies invest in such a division, thus employing data analysts to provide their services. The top ways companies benefit from the reports created by professionals who study their data are:
- An overall increase in efficiency and productivity
- Effective decision making
- Improved financial performance
- Advantage over competitors
- Improved customer experience
Analytics has a big impact on decision making
Organizations that do not use the data they have access to can miss out on great opportunities or even leave unnoticed errors. So, data insight is crucial to consider when making decisions.
From the four types of data analytics (descriptive, prescriptive, diagnostic, and predictive), prescriptive analytics helps answer the question “what to do next,” and is especially useful for data-driven decisions. This type of analysis considers all elements in a scenario and suggests possible solutions from which professionals can choose what they deem results in the best outcome for them.
Starting a career as a data analyst is easy
Most entry-level data analyst positions have few requirements for the job. Generally, to start a career as a data analyst, you need a relevant bachelor’s degree in data analytics, statistics, mathematics, or some other computer-related field, plus the skills demanded by the job.
There is a possibility that if you develop your data analysis skills well enough, you can even land a job without a degree. However, earning a degree is a more structured way to succeed as a data analyst since you have direct help from professionals.
Data analysts have the chance to up-skill and grow
When working as a data analyst, the world is your oyster. As a data analyst, you can easily up your game through experience, pursuing post-graduate studies, or other professional certifications.
Moreover, such a career comes with many growth opportunities, as you can progress in your career by being promoted to senior analyst or chief technology officer positions.
Another way you can advance your job is by moving into another field related to data, like data science, consulting, or management.
We hope we shed some light on your questions about being a data analyst. Just as data analysts help others make informed decisions, we hope we helped you make an informed decision on a career as a data analyst.
Whether the career is the right fit depends on the skills, knowledge, and dreams for the future. However, considering everything you read so far if a career in data analytics interests you, the best time to start working towards it is NOW.