How to Become A Data Analyst

A data analyst position can be suitable if you are looking towards having a dynamic career in the IT sector. According to CNBC, qualified big data analysts can potentially have respectable job benefits. As more and more companies are using big data, the demand for data analysts has increased considerably. This occupation is considered as one of the most sought-after ones today, with faster than average employment growth between 2012 and 2022, as according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Featured Programs:

Southern New Hampshire University

  • MS in Data Analytics
  • MS in Marketing - Marketing Research and Analytics
  • MS in Information Technology - Data Analytics

Kaplan University Online

  • B.S. in Business Administration - Financial Analysis
  • BS in Business Administration - Financial Analysis

Is Data Analysis the Right Career for You?

If you enjoy working with data in different ways and exploring the trends and insight that the data may yield, a data analyst occupation can help you achieve your professional goals. Data analysis is essential in almost every field and industry and analysts play a critical role in guiding strategic decisions. They are in the right position to assist the company leadership in deciding on the organization's most effective plan of action.


If you feel you have a natural aptitude in mathematics, statistics and data as well as possess analytical and communications skills, you should consider this line of work. It is also suitable career choice for those who want to eventually work at the executive management level of a company, and consequently have a direct impact on the operations.

How to Become a Data Analyst?

If you want to improve your prospects for becoming a data analyst, you must enroll in a bachelor's degree program. This will help you learn about various aspects of data analysis such as designing database systems, the business practices and trends, data communications and networking. Other than the bachelor’s program, you can also work towards the master’s degrees in order to gain expertise in the field of data analysis. You will get to study a variety of courses ranging from IT project management to database management systems.

In today’s increasingly competitive marketplace, organizations require professionals with the right set of skills to transform the growing amount of data into actionable information to support strategic decision making. The degree programs in data analytics are designed to meet the requirements for skilled professionals who can transform big data  into functional information for organizations.

Admissions Requirements

To enroll in the bachelor’s degree, you must:


  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Have a background in mathematics
  • Have related work experience

Those who are interested in the master’s degree need to:


  • Submit official transcripts indicating that they have earned at least a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited degree-granting university or college

  • Score in the 75th percentile on the quantitative section of the GRE (Graduate Record Exam) or the GMAT (Graduate Management Aptitude Test)

What Types Of Courses Will You Study?

A number of courses are included in the bachelor’s degree that will help you acquire skills essential to manage data within organizations. Some of the topics may include:


  • Data warehousing
  • Software architecture
  • Software testing
  • E-commerce
  • Decision management systems
  • Data management and visualization
  • Data mining
  • Predictive modeling
  • Big data analytics

In addition to these courses, you may have to complete an independently researched master's thesis or a practicum. Upon completion of these programs, you will be equipped with skills to influence decision-making, strategy and achieve drive better business results.

What Can You Expect To Learn?

The programs in data analysis will help you learn how to:


  • Design and implement databases, dimensional models, and data warehousing strategies
  • Transform large data sets into actionable information
  • Manage the security, quality,  and privacy of data
  • Assess alternative approaches for implementing big data analytics.
  • Apply methods of data warehousing and data mining
  • Evaluate the suitable methods and tools for data analysis in specific organizational contexts


What Skills You Must Have To Become A Data Analyst?

There are two sets of skills that you must possess to become a data analyst:


Soft Skills 


Aspiring data analysts should also have a knack for exploring any trends and insights that the data may reveal.


Technical Skills 

What Are The Roles And Responsibilities of a Data Analyst?

Almost every industry has a need for data analysts. Most of these professionals work as part of teams to handle specific projects or problems that are accomplished through computers. Data analysts generally work standard hours, but at times they may have to work additional hours or weekend in order to meet deadlines.

As a data analyst, you will have to:

What kind of places you may find employment at?

As a data analyst, you may find opportunities a range of sectors and organizations, such as from non-profit firms to government and education to finance. Some of the potential employers are: 


Potential Career Paths

Median annual pay (2013): $82,340 (O*Net)

Median annual pay (2012): $76,950 (BLS)

Median annual pay (2013): $79,870 (O*Net)

Median annual pay (2012): $60,300 (BLS)

What Is The Career Outlook For Data Analysts?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, data analysts might find themselves working as business intelligence analysts, whose employment is projected to grow by up to 7% from 2012 to 2022. Career outlook for other related roles such as market research analysts also look positive with 32% expected growth during the projected period.

Data Analysis is critical in enabling organizations in tackling 21st-century business challenges. In fact, it creates an intersection of business and technology, offering new opportunities for a competitive advantage. This field is your chance to unlock the predictive potential of data analysis in order to improve strategic management, financial performance, and operational efficiency. It can possibly lead to a career that offers competitive income as well as considerable opportunities for growth.

  • Strong communication skills
  • Analytical skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Presentation skills
    • Skill in data visualization and reporting software
    • Proficiency with SQL (structured query language) programming
    • Proficiency with Microsoft Excel
    • Coding and programming abilities
    • Gather data through advanced computerized models
    • Remove incorrect data
    • Perform analysis to assess the quality of the data, the meaning of the data and provide additional data screening
    • Extrapolate data patterns from computer model
    • Prepare reports based on analysis and present to management
    • Construction companies
    • Transportation companies
    • Utility companies
    • Hospitals and health care organizations
    • Colleges and universities
    • Manufacturing firms 
    • Telecommunications companies
    • Insurance, finance and banking organizations
    • Management consulting companies
    • Business Intelligence Analyst
    • Financial Analyst
    • Business Analyst
    • Marketing Analyst


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Q:After becoming a data analyst, can I seek work in a private multinational firm?

A:After becoming a data analyst, can I seek work in a private multinational firm? ANS- Yes, after you complete your college degree, you can apply for jobs as a data analyst in all kinds of private and federal agencies. The demand for data analysts is high due to ever increasing technology and databases. Many organizations are seeking services from data analysts who can help them manage data, analyze data, and come up with findings that contribute to the success of a firm. (Source: O*Net Online)

Q:What are the requirements to become a data analyst?

A:In order to become a data analyst in the United States, you must first complete a bachelors degree. Students normally complete their bachelor's degrees in mathematics, statistics, management, finance, operations or information technology. After your bachelors degree, you get your formal or informal training at a workplace, where you get the opportunity to work with senior and more experienced data analysts. There are no exact requirements for this career. You must possess the right skill set and college degree for the position. (Source: O*Net Online)

Q:Why become a data analyst?

A:The data analyst field is a very challenging profession. With the increased need of technology and data processing, many organizations are hiring data analysts. According to PayScale, the median annual wage of these professionals is $49,253. (Source: PayScale)

Q:How long does it take to become a data analyst?

A:It may take you 4 to 7 years to become a data analyst after you finish high school. This also depends on the specialization you pursue. After you finish your high school, you must at least complete a bachelor's degree to enter this field, although most students pursue a master's degree related to this field too. (Source: O*Net Online)

Q:What is a data analyst job description?

A:Data analysts are highly trained professionals who analyze data samples and use different calculations to extract meaningful information. Typical job duties include data cleaning, data warehousing, data processing, and more. Such information can help determine future trends and point out risks. Data analysts are in high demand in many industries. (Source: O*Net Online)

Q:If I become a data analyst, what will I do on the job?

A:As a data analyst, you will be required to scan and analyze large amounts of data. You must use various statistical techniques and calculations to process data. The typical job duties of data analysts are: analyzing data, data warehousing, cleaning data, identifying trends and risks, extracting data patterns, and screening data. (Source: O*Net Online)

Q:Can you tell me how to become a big data analyst?

A:To become a data analyst, you must have at least a bachelor degree in the field. There are many institutions offering bachelor and masters degree in data analysis. In a data analyst degree, you will learn about various statistical tools used for data processing. Alongside theory-based development, you will also learn about different data processing software programs. The exact position you may qualify for will depend upon the level of degree you have earned. (Source: O*Net Online)

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