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Types of Data Analyst Jobs at All Levels

By Noelle
Jan 2, 2020

In a time when information is the world's most sought-after commodity, the ability to organize, analyze, and present data to audiences that aren't tech-savvy is highly prized—and potentially lucrative. There are many types of data analysis roles available for a wide range of interests, skill levels, and industries, making it a versatile and rewarding career path with many opportunities for advancement. If you've got a penchant for computer science and a strong eye for detail, there's no shortage of data analyst jobs available. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 35% increase in job growth from 2022 to 2032, placing data analysis among the nation's most in-demand fields.

There are many types of data analysis roles, each with their own responsibilities. Some popular data analyst roles include business analysts, data scientists, data engineers, marketing analysts, healthcare analysts, and financial analysts. Choosing the right role means knowing your strengths and interests, filling in any gaps through education and experience, and always striving to enhance your knowledge base. 

Types of Data Analyst Jobs and Careers 

Data analysis is a field that offers a wide variety of roles at different skill levels. Entry-level positions such as junior data analyst, customer experience analyst, and marketing analyst are ideal for newcomers to the field, providing foundational skills in data analysis and reporting. With more experience and expertise, opportunities emerge for advanced roles such as IT systems analyst, quantitative analyst, operations analyst, or database administrator. These positions focus on enhancing processes and decision-making through data-driven insights, allowing professionals to apply analytical skills in a more strategic context. 

Data Scientist 

If you're looking to get hired quickly—and possibly even field multiple job offers from high-paying employers—then the role of data scientist could be right up your alley. In the vast world of data analysis, data scientists have mastered the requisite deep-data science skills, making them valuable to any business in nearly any industry. 

Further Reading: What does a cybersecurity analyst do? 

Companies of all sizes across most industries need data scientists to help them make sense of big data and improve their bottom line. You’ll find data scientists working in fields as diverse as healthcare, government, business, finance, agriculture, and insurance, to name a few. Notably, tech giants such as Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and Intel regularly hire data scientists to analyze consumer and employee data and make strategic business and technology recommendations.

To work for one of these megacorporations, you'll need a degree in computer science or a related field, though some companies prefer that candidates hold a master's or doctoral degree. You'll also need to have skills in distributed computing and predictive modeling, and be highly proficient in such languages as Python, SQL, and Matlab. 

Because there's a good chance that you'll be working for a corporation, you must be prepared to work with a broad swath of engineers and database administrators, as well as less technically adept individuals and teams. You can typically expect to be well compensated for your skill set and your ability to function within the framework of a large corporate entity. As of October 2023, Glassdoor estimates that the average annual salary for data scientists is around $127,385. 

 Data Engineer

Data engineer is another popular data analyst career track. Like data scientists, data engineers need to be proficient in computer languages, but data engineering more strongly focuses on building and maintaining the architecture and databases upon which expansive data processing systems are built and housed. Data engineers build and test databases to ensure that all processing systems are working properly. 

The size of the company that hires you will directly affect your experience as a data engineer. Larger companies tend to have more sophisticated database infrastructures, but this could be a double-edged sword: you'll have faster and more efficient data-processing tools at your disposal, perhaps, but there would also be more data to handle and a larger architecture to maintain. It's more likely that you'll start your career as a data engineer at a smaller tech firm and work your way up to a medium-sized company or, in rare cases, a tech leviathan such as Facebook or Spotify.  

The educational requirements for data engineers are less rigorous than they are for data scientists. Job seekers can often find an entry-level position in data engineering with nothing more than a bachelor's degree in computer science or information technology, but a specialized degree in data management or data analytics can give you a leg up in the market. On average, data engineers make $103,574 a year, according to Glassdoor. 

Business Analyst

Maybe you're looking for a data analysis career with minimal coding knowledge requirements. If that sounds like you, then you might consider pursuing a career as a business analyst. In this specialty field, only a decent knowledge of languages (such as SQL), data visualization tools (such as Tableau), and word-processing essentials (such as the Microsoft Office suite) will be needed.  
As a business analyst, you'll be a problem-solving wizard, a consummate project manager, and, above all else, an intermediary between the often disconnected domains of business and IT. Along with a bachelor's degree (or higher) in computer science or business management, you'll need to have data modeling skills, business intelligence, extraordinary people skills, and a knack for proposing solutions in a pinch. 

Business analysts can be found in organizations of any size, and the salary expectations—as well as the responsibilities—are generally commensurate with the size of the organization. Business analysts typically bring home around $68,609 a year, notes as of September 2023, though seasoned business analysts can earn more than that. 

Marketing Analyst 

Marketing analysts play a crucial role in today's data-centric marketing departments. They gather and analyze data on marketing performance, helping companies understand the effectiveness of their marketing strategies to make informed decisions for future campaigns.

As a marketing analyst, you’ll make data-driven decisions within your organization. Your role will involve collecting and analyzing data, sales prices, and products. You’ll delve into market conditions and consumer demographics, research buying habits, and keep an eye on market trends. Transforming complex data into clear text, tables, graphs, and visualizations will be second nature, and you'll collaborate with various teams to shape effective marketing strategies. 

In addition to holding a bachelor's degree (or higher) in marketing or a related field, requirements for this role include proficiency in marketing research and data analysis, the ability to multitask, attention to detail, and organizational, communication, and presentation skills.

Marketing analysts can be employed by companies of various sizes, and their salary and responsibilities tend to align with the organization's scale. According to, the average annual salary for marketing analysts in September 2023 is approximately $56,008, with experienced professionals often earning more.

Healthcare Analyst 

A healthcare analyst collects, evaluates, and interprets data related to healthcare systems, patient outcomes, and costs. They use this information to identify trends, assess the efficiency of medical processes, and make recommendations for improvements. Their work helps healthcare organizations make informed decisions, optimize resource allocation, and enhance patient care quality. 

Similar to a health informaticist, a healthcare analyst works on the business side of medicine. A healthcare analyst, however, primarily focuses on using data analysis to guide decisions, while a health informaticist specializes in managing healthcare information systems and technology. Both types of professionals must be tech savvy, with good critical thinking and communication skills as well as knowledge of compliance laws, medical terminology, and electronic health records.

A health information management degree offers the most direct path to healthcare analyst careers. This program teaches students how the business and technology of healthcare overlap and function. Additionally, earning a Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) certification upon completion of a bachelor’s degree shows future employers that you have a valuable skill set to help them follow regulatory guidelines, minimize errors, and identify efficiencies. For example, graduates of WGU’s bachelor’s degree in health information management are eligible to apply for the RHIA credentialing exam. Glassdoor reports an average annual salary of $86,984 for healthcare analysts. 

Financial Analyst

A financial analyst specializes in interpreting financial data and economic trends to assist organizations in making sound business and investment decisions. These experts excel in conducting comprehensive research, scrutinizing financial statements, and creating predictive financial models. 

With a sharp eye for detail and an in-depth understanding of economics and market trends, financial analysts evaluate investment opportunities and offer valuable recommendations. They play a pivotal role in assessing the performance of financial assets and helping businesses navigate the complexities of the financial world. The financial services industry is lucrative but competitive, requiring candidates to hold a bachelor's degree in finance, business, economics, or statistics and pass the FINRA qualification exams. As of September 2023, the average financial analyst salary is $64,946 per year depending upon education, certifications, additional skills, and years of experience, according to 

Getting Started in Data Analysis

Regardless of the role you pursue, the first step in your search for the top data analyst jobs is to learn as much as you can about the requirements and responsibilities of these career paths. After that, earning the right degree in IT or business can help you land a rewarding, high-paying job as a data analyst. If you've got the skills, a job in data analytics can help you pay the bills.

WGU’s B.S. in Data Analytics is 100% online, so you can continue to make a lliving while you earn your degree. You’ll work through each course on your schedule, and move on to the next course as soon as you know the material and pass the assessment. This means you can finish as many courses as you're able in a term at no additional cost. Plus, all of our IT degrees also include valuable industry certifications, included in your tuition!

Further Reading: Information technology management degree comparisons. 

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