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Data Analyst Career


What is a Data Analyst?


From smartwatches and entertainment services to financial institutions and e-commerce platforms, nearly every aspect of modern life generates data. Projections show that the global big data market will soon be worth a staggering $229.4 billion. As the technological landscape expands, companies increasingly rely on professionals who can scrutinize digital information to reveal critical findings. Data analysts examine, interpret, and visualize data. Through this process, they gain valuable insights that organizations can use to improve operations, increase profitability, and advance their goals.

Data analysts are much more than number crunchers. They’re storytellers who transform dense, opaque information into compelling narratives that captivate stakeholders and foster organizational change. Opportunities in the data analysis industry are growing, making now an ideal time to enter or advance within this dynamic field. If you’re technologically inclined, have a knack for numbers, and enjoy using critical thinking skills to solve problems, a career as a data analyst may be right for you. 


What Does a Data Analyst Do?

Though the daily responsibilities of a data analyst vary from one organization to another, their overarching goal is to gain a better understanding of data. Their responsibilities typically include the following: 

  • Using data mining procedures to extract useful information from sales reports, websites, log files, Internet of Things (IoT) devices, enterprise resource planning systems (ERPs), cloud platforms, and other sources.
  • Identifying patterns, trends, outliers, and correlations in data sets through detailed statistical analysis. 
  • Partnering with executives and key stakeholders to align data analysis goals with broader organizational objectives. 
  • Enhancing data accuracy and clarity via clustering, aggregation, cleaning, sorting, filtering, and other data transformation techniques.
  • Writing reports that summarize complex information and communicate key findings. 
  • Building dashboards, tables, charts, graphs, and other visualizations to illustrate the data and create cohesive narratives.
  • Generating predictive models that use historical data to forecast future trends.
  • Collaborating with business analysts, data scientists, and database administrators to continuously improve the data analytics lifecycle. 
  • Presenting data-driven conclusions and recommendations to operations teams, company executives, investors, and other stakeholders. 
  • Investigating and addressing security vulnerabilities that could lead to fraudulent activities or data breaches. 
  • Identifying strategies to implement the conclusions derived from data analysis.
  • Developing and maintaining databases so that stakeholders can easily access information. 
  • Staying updated on emerging trends and technologies, including advancements in AI, machine learning, and natural language processing.

Where Do Data Analysts Work?

In today’s increasingly data-centric world, businesses and organizations across nearly every industry leverage quantitative data to guide decision-making. Data analysts can work in a variety of sectors, including: 

  • Healthcare
  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Transportation
  • Technology
  • Retail
  • Manufacturing
  • Education
  • Telecommunications
  • Entertainment


How Do I Become a Data Analyst?

Typically, the minimum educational requirement for a data analyst position is a bachelor’s degree in data analytics, computer science, information technology, or a closely related field. A relevant bachelor’s degree can equip students with the technological expertise and analytical skills needed to extract insights from large data sets and convey their findings to stakeholders. 

While an undergraduate degree provides foundational knowledge and abilities, a master’s degree delves into advanced concepts and specialized practices. Through a Master of Science in Data Analytics, students gain an in-depth understanding of data science and advanced analytics, machine learning, predictive modeling, data management, and other essential subjects. Earning a master’s degree can be a crucial step toward securing a leadership or management role in data analysis, such as a senior data analyst position. 

Professional certifications can further bolster a data analyst’s résumé and help them demonstrate their proficiency to employers. Some popular data analytics certifications include the Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate, Power BI Data Analyst Associate, IBM Data Analyst Professional Certificate, and CompTIA Data+ Certification.

What Degrees are Best for a Data Analyst?


Data Analytics – B.S.

Lean into data, and walk away with a cutting-edge online degree:...

Lean into data, and walk away with a cutting-edge online degree:

  • Time: 62% of graduates finish within 36 months.
  • Tuition and fees: $3,735 per 6-month term.
  • Courses: 39 total courses in this program.

Certifications in this program at no additional cost include:

  • AWS Cloud Practitioner
  • CompTIA Data+
  • CompTIA Project+
  • Udacity Nanodegree—a unique, highly recognized credential designed to prepare you for a career in data science
  • MSI Change Management (Optional Certification)
  • Certiprof Design Thinking Professional Certificate (Optional Certification)

Skills for your résumé that you will learn in this program:

  • Data management
  • Data wrangling
  • Statistical analysis
  • Visualization
  • Leadership and management 
  • Model deployment & storytelling

Computer Science – B.S.

Problem solvers and math lovers needed! Your task:...

Problem solvers and math lovers needed! Your task:

Lay the groundwork for the computing breakthroughs that will enable tomorrow's technologies. Utilize your previous college courses or IT experience to help you complete your degree faster.

  • Time: 60% of graduates in similar programs finish within 25 months.
  • Tuition: $3,985 per 6-month term.
  • Courses: 38 total courses in this program.

You'll have the opportunity to earn these certifications:

  • Linux Essentials
  • Axelos ITIL Foundation

Skills for your résumé that you will learn in this program:

  • Architecture and systems
  • Data structures
  • AI
  • Computer theory
  • Version Control
  • Linux

Information Technology – B.S.

Award-winning coursework and value-add certifications make this online...

Award-winning coursework and value-add certifications make this online program a top choice.

  • Time: 61% of graduates finish within 39 months.
  • Tuition: $3,625 per 6-month term.
  • Courses: 36 total courses in this program.

Certifications included in this program at no additional cost:

  • CompTIA A+ 
  • CompTIA Network+ 
  • CompTIA Security+ 
  • CompTIA Project+ 
  • CompTIA IT Operations Specialist
  • CompTIA Secure Infrastructure Specialist 
  • Amazon AWS Cloud Practitioner
  • ITIL®*^ Foundation Certification
  • LPI Linux Essentials

Skills for your résumé that you will learn in this program:

  • Scripting and programming
  • Networking and security
  • Systems and services
  • Data management
  • Business of IT

Data Analytics – M.S.

Lead businesses with strong analysis skills:...

Lead businesses with strong analysis skills:

  • Time: 61% of graduates finish within 20 months.
  • Tuition: $4,520 per 6-month term.
  • Courses: 11 total courses in this program.

This program consists of three specialization areas which allow you to gain specific experience and skills that will benefit your future career. You can choose from data science, data engineering, and decision process engineering specializations to enhance your degree.

Skills for your résumé that you will learn in this program:

  • Data Modeling
  • Big Data
  • Business Intelligence
  • Data Quality
  • SQL
  • Python

How Much Does a Data Analyst Make? 


According to PayScale, data analysts earn an average annual salary of $67,349. Data analyst pay typically ranges from $49,000 to $92,000 per year. Various factors, including an analyst’s experience, level of education, geographical location, and industry, can all influence their pay rate. Individuals with significant experience and advanced degrees can expect to earn salaries on the higher end of the spectrum. 

What Is the Job Outlook for a Data Analyst? 


The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that data occupations are experiencing rapid growth. The demand for operations research analyst positions, including data analyst jobs, is estimated to increase by 23% from 2022 to 2032. During this period, projections indicate there will be about 9,800 openings for operations research analysts each year. 


What Skills Does a Data Analyst Need?

To meet the evolving demands of modern businesses, data analysts need a versatile toolkit consisting of technical abilities, soft skills, and industry knowledge. Some of the most essential competencies for a career in data analysis include: 

  • Communication. Because they work closely with internal and external stakeholders, data analysts must convey complex information clearly and effectively.
  • Statistical analysis. Descriptive statistics, regression analysis, hypothesis testing, and other techniques help data analysts uncover meaningful patterns and relationships within the data. 
  • Technical writing. From diagnostic reviews to executive summaries, a significant portion of a data analyst’s job involves creating and distributing detailed reports. 
  • Data modeling. Data analysts leverage various software programs and digital tools to create graphs, charts, diagrams, and other visualizations.
  • Problem-solving. Unexpected challenges requiring innovative solutions often arise during the data analysis process.
  • Mathematical aptitude. By understanding the mathematical principles that drive data analysis tools, data analysts can implement them more effectively, resulting in enhanced observations and insights. 
  • Technological expertise. Data analysts frequently use big data technologies such as Apache Hadoop, Apache Spark, Tableau, Python, and SQL to transform and evaluate data.
  • Attention to detail. The process of analyzing and interpreting data is highly complex, and even a small mistake or oversight can have significant consequences. 
  • Storytelling. By transforming raw data into engaging narratives, analysts communicate both the content and the significance of the data.
  • Project management. Data analysts handle many complex tasks simultaneously, making time management, prioritization, delegation, and other project management skills essential. 
  • Growth mindset. Because data technologies and techniques are constantly evolving, data analysts must be lifelong learners who are willing to grow and adapt.

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