As a data analyst, you are responsible for finding different data sources and collecting information from it. You will then analyze this information and use your findings to make recommendations to the company you work for, thereby enabling them to reach their goals. So, is a data analyst career right for you?
Data Analyst Career Information at a Glance
As a data analyst, you can work in any type of industry. The table below highlights some key pieces of information about this career.
|Degree Requirements||Associate’s or bachelor’s degree, MBA/master’s|
|Field of Study||Business administration, information systems, healthcare administration|
|Key Skills||Warehousing, auditing, reporting, and data entry|
|Expected Job Growth between 2014 and 2024||34%|
|Average Annual Salary||$79,990|
Your role as a data analyst is all about collecting data for a range of industries, often focusing on a specific part of their operations. You will enter data, audit it, create reports, monitor data for accuracy and errors, and more. A large part of your role is about communicating your findings in a way that others can understand. The exact functions you do will depend to a large degree on how experienced and educated you are, and some of these include:
- Working together with others, including senior executives, to determine what the roles of your organizations are
- Using secondary and primary sources to mine data
- Cleaning up data so only the relevant information remains
- Using statistical techniques and tools in order to interpret and analyze your results
- Identify trends, patterns, and correlations
- Finding new opportunities so the business can improve
- Creating data systems
- Identifying and solving problems
The table below highlights the pros and cons of being a data analyst.
|Educational requirements for entry level positions are quite low.||If you want a really good job, you should get a master’s degree.|
|You will directly impact the way the company operates.||You will need to be committed to continuous educational development.|
|You can get to work in a range of different industries.||The job puts you under high pressured and deadlines are tight.|
|You can work together with top executives.||You will often have to travel, which has a significant impact on your personal life.|
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average salary for a data analyst is $79,990 per year at master’s degree level. They have also reported that there is an expected growth of 34% between 2014 and 2024, which is one of the fastest growths of all industries. It also means that, by 2024, there will be a further 10,100 more jobs for data analysts.
While the BLS is generally considered as the go to source for information in terms of salary, it is important to note that other sources report very different statistics. One reason for this may be because the BLS has focused mainly on those who have a master’s degree, when entry level data analyst positions exist even for those with an associate’s degree. The table below highlights some of the data provided by other sources.
|Source||Job Title||Minimum Salary||Median Salary||Maximum Salary|
|Robert Half Technology Salary 2015 Guide||Data analyst||$70,750||$108,250|
|Glassdoor||Senior Data Analyst||$65,000||$78,041||$107,000|
How to Increase Your Chances of Getting a Higher Salary
Data analysis is a field with a high degree of competition. This is also why, although even those with an associate’s degree can get to work in this field, this is becoming increasingly rare. Generally speaking, the higher your level of education, the bigger the chance that you will gain employment and with a higher salary.
Besides obtaining a master’s degree, there are also a number of additional certifications that you can obtain to further increase the likelihood of finding a good position. These certifications include:
- Certified Analytics Professional
- EMC: Data Science Associate (EMCDSA)
- Revolution R Enterprise Certified Specialist
- SAS Certified Base Programmer for SAS 9
Why Moving into Data Analytics Is Such a Great Idea
Data analytics is a very interesting field of work with high demand, high growth, and high salaries. Here are 10 reasons as to why you may want to consider it as a career for yourself:
- Demand is not just rising, it is veritably soaring.
- The job opportunities are huge, because there is a significant current skill gap in place.
- The salary is very interesting. While a lot of factors influence salary, including level of education, extra certification, geographical location, and company you work for, it is rare for salaries to be low, even at entry level position.
- A lot of organizations are starting to make data, and particularly Big Data, a top priority in their strategic decision making.
- Because of the above, more businesses are starting to adopt Big Data, and this means that they are looking for professionals capable of dealing with it.
- Data is a key factor in the making of any kind of decision, which means you really have the opportunity to be an agent for change.
- Data analytics is becoming both unstructured and semi-structured, and only those with the right types of skills are able to manage this.
- Every type of organization now uses data, which means you can get to work in any industry that interests you, as you will have highly transferable skills.
- The market forecast for data analytics is incredibly strong. This means that now is the time to become involved in it.
- You can choose from a range of job titles, such as consultant, architect, engineer, associate, analyst, and specialist. Furthermore, you can specialize your skills in descriptive, predictive, or prescriptive analytics.
No matter how much technology evolves, there will always be a need for a human to review data and interpret it in a way that everybody understands. Because technology is evolving so rapidly, this need is becoming greater as well. While once a job for people with associate’s degrees, it is now becoming an increasingly intricate discipline. This is why it is recommended to complete a master’s or MBA degree, which will give you the greatest job prospects and best salary as well.
Resources and References:
- Occupational Outlook Handbook – Statisticians – Job outlook for statisticians. (BLS.gov)
- The Life of a Data Analyst – Information on the work of a data analyst. (Master’s in Data Science)
- Certified Analytics Professional – Organization for certification of data analysts. (CertifiedAnalytics.org)