How to become a Data Analyst
Every business collects data - this could be on their target audience, performance, or marketing success. A data analyst uses this data to unearth how the company can grow and improve.
Data analysts gather and present information about a business. This could be data about anything: the spending habits of customers, the costs of transportation, or the increase of profits year on year. Similarly, the data could be used for any purpose to help the business run and develop. Data analyst’s findings could assist the business when working out how many new staff they need to hire, if they need to order more stock or whether they should change their opening hours.
A data analyst’s role is thus very important; it is often the main factor in business decisions that could significantly impact how it runs. There are four types of analytics that data analysts will work with: descriptive (talking about what happened in the business), diagnostic (discussing why something happened), predictive (talking about what is likely to happen) and prescriptive (discussing what should be done). Analytics from the past will detail the answers to these questions; it is up to a data analyst to work out what they mean.
A data analyst job description:
- Collecting data using various web programmes.
- Pooling together data and looking at it from an objective perspective.
- Looking for trends and patterns which can help plan for the future.
- Producing reports detailing the findings of the analysis – these need to be understood by people who are not into data.
- Presenting to people from other departments – including the marketing, sales and customer service teams – as well as people in managerial roles.
Data analyst education requirements are generally a minimum of a degree in maths, statistics, computer science or a related field. Advanced jobs need a masters degree in a similar subject. It is possible to apply to graduate jobs after gaining an undergraduate or postgraduate degree, although it takes a while to work up to the more senior positions.
Excellent maths knowledge is obviously essential, but so are written and presentation skills; data analysts turn numbers into words, so aptitude for both is essential! It’s also important to have critical thinking and attention to detail, as well as being someone who is highly competent when it comes to technology.
Data analysts can work in many industries; candidates wondering how to become a data analyst would benefit from having some background knowledge of their particular industry. Analysts can work across the industry that they have chosen, or in a specific niche.
What degree is most commonly held by a Data Analyst?
- BA / M of Computer Science
- BA / M of Information Technology
- BA / M of Economics
- BA / M of Mathematics
- BA / M of Finance
- BA / M of Data Science
- BA / M of Accounting
- BA / M of Business Administration
Career Transportability across Countries
What is the Salary of a Data Analyst?
|Experience||Average salary | year|
|Junior Data Analyst||1-2 Years||$73,000||£28,691||$52,500|
|Data Analyst||3-5 Years||$96,000||£60,109||$109,990|
|Analytics Manager||5+ Years||$125,000||£87,439||$160,000|
What skills are needed to become a Data Analyst?
- Data Analysis
- Microsoft Excel
- Microsoft Office
- Project Management
- Business Analysis
- Microsoft Word
- Customer Service
- Data Visualization
- Microsoft SQL Server
- Public Speaking
- Business Intelligence
- Requirements Analysis
- Social Media
Data Analyst Courses
Data to Insight: An Introduction to Data Analysis and Visualisation
Get a hands-on introduction to data science exploring principles of statistical analysis and data visualisation
Big Data: Data Visualisation
Data visualisation is vital in bridging the gap between data and decisions Discover the methods tools and processes involved
Big Data: Measuring And Predicting Human Behaviour
Join us to explore how the vast amounts of data generated today can help us understand and even predict how humans behave
Managing Big Data with R and Hadoop
Learn how to manage and analyse big data using the R programming language and Hadoop programming framework
Survival Statistics: Secrets for Demystifying Numbers
Learn to evaluate risk make useful approximations and more rational decisions with this online course on statistics
Learn the basics of marketing analytics and understand how to use data to ensure your marketing is effective
Making Sense of Data in the Media
Discover how to read and understand data in the media and how to spot fake news based on misleading statistics
Introduction to R for Data Science
Discover big data work with airline data to learn the fundamentals of the R platform
Need even more evidence about why you should learn on FutureLearn?
Data to Insight: An Introduction to Data Analysis and VisualisationGet a hands-on introduction to data science, exploring principles of statistical analysis and data visualisation.Show course overview
Big Data: Data VisualisationData visualisation is vital in bridging the gap between data and decisions. Discover the methods, tools and processes involved.Show course overview
Survival Statistics: Secrets for Demystifying NumbersLearn to evaluate risk, make useful approximations and more rational decisions with this online course on statistics.Show course overview