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The world’s data reached an all-time high in 2021. 79 zettabytes of data – which is enough storage for 30 billion 4K movies – was generated last year alone.
This is a good thing – right? More data means more innovation, which means more advancements for society.
Think of data the same way you think about a library. There are so many books in one place (which is awesome) but it’s only useful if you know:
- how to find the information you need,
- and how to apply it.
Businesses have more data than ever before – about their company, their customers, and the world – but no one to tell them what it means.
That’s where data analysts come in.
What Do Data Analysts Do?
When there’s a problem, data analysts help solve it.
The first step to addressing business challenges is gathering information (data), and finding answers and insights to guide companies towards better decisions. That’s the role of the data analyst.
For example, a company may want to know which segment of customers is driving the most revenue from a marketing campaign.
The data analyst will gather all the data related to the campaign. This may mean exploring customer demographics, marketing acquisition sources, behavioral data, and purchase data.
They’ll look for notable statistical findings. They’ll form these into insights, and create written and/or visual reports to help stakeholders learn and apply the findings to their future campaigns.
As a distinction from data scientists, data analysts typically work with structured data from a single source and provide historical analysis as opposed to predictive modeling.
Why should you consider a data analytics career?
The most obvious reasons to work in the field of data analytics include these top three reasons:
- You’re dealing with data, numbers, and statistics, but you still get to creatively work to solve problems.
- You’re paid well for this skill.
- Data keeps growing, and so will the need for data analysts.
But there are other benefits that may not be quite so apparent:
- Most employers are interested in talent with skills. There is not a big focus on degrees and further education.
- Many data analyst jobs are remote. No more commuting!
- The technical skills you learn are easily transferable to other jobs like coding, data science, and more.
5 Top Job Titles for Data Analysts
What kind of jobs can you get as a data analyst? There are varying specialties and job titles in the field of data analytics. Here are some job titles you may see in this family of jobs:
Related job titles: Junior Data Analyst, Entry-Level Data Analyst, Associate Data Analyst
You can find a data analyst at nearly every company in the world, in every industry imaginable. The average data analyst needs to know some basic programming languages like Python and SQL, and they should be comfortable running statistical analyses and visualizing data.
Related job title: Operations Research Analyst
An operations analyst focuses on the inner workings of a business, helping it run more efficiently. They typically work for larger companies, or they work at consulting firms employed by bigger businesses.
Related job title: Market Research Analyst
One of the biggest parts of any company’s budget is the money they spend on marketing efforts. A marketing analyst looks at market, campaign, and demographic data to ensure companies are executing marketing efforts in the most cost-effective and impactful way possible.
Business Intelligence Analyst
You’ll spend your days as a BI analyst looking for patterns in your company’s data. You’ll have to make sure you’re good at communicating, and you enjoy visualizing data and modeling future scenarios.
Is a business analyst the same as a data analyst? While the skill sets are similar, there are some differences. Here’s our take on business analyst vs. data analyst.
Logistics analysts look at every stage of a production process and product lifecycle. They may analyze supply chain flows and find areas of improvement to increase efficiency and profit for a company.
Data Analyst Career Outlook
Companies including retailers, investment banks, big tech, and professional services including accounting and insurance are all ramping up their data analytics workforce. Other industries hiring for data analysts include logistics, healthcare, government, and sports.
Are data analyst jobs in demand?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics named statisticians as the fourth fastest-growing occupation. Operations research analysts and market research analysts are also high-growth job categories.
What’s the average salary working in data analytics?
The median data analyst salary in the United States is $106,500, with the middle 50% earning between $87,500 and $126,250.
Of course, how much you can earn as a data analyst depends on several factors including education, experience, industry, and geography. While the average data analyst in El Paso, Texas. fetches $76,680, one in Lexington, Kentucky earns $97,980. Their counterpart in New York earns $149,633.
Experience and industry can also have an impact on your expected salary. An entry-level data analyst in accounting, for example, earns a median salary of $61,000, while a senior data analyst in the same industry earns $102,000 and a manager of data analysis earns $129,000.
In Australia, the typical data analyst salary is in the range of AUD $80-100,000.
What cities have the most opportunities for data analysts?
The top U.S. locations with data analyst job openings in 2022 include New York City, Atlanta, Washington D.C., Chicago, Austin, Boston, Seattle, San Francisco, Dallas, and Los Angeles.
Don’t worry if you live outside of a major metro—good jobs exist in smaller markets, and more and more employers are hiring remote data analysts.
A Zippia study ranked Connecticut, New Jersey, District of Columbia, New York, and Maryland as the best states for data analysts. Their methodology weighted each state’s number of jobs, salary data, and location quotient.
In Australia, SEEK reports there are over 6,800 open data analyst jobs, and that number is expected to grow by 27% or more over the next five years.
How to become a data analyst
Most data analytics jobs require a bachelor’s degree. Degree programs in mathematics, statistics, business, or economics are ideal, but college grads can re-skill for data analytics with any major.
There have never been more options for individuals to skill up for a career switch, and some employers will even pay for it because of fast-changing business needs. Here are three ways to gain the data analytics skills you need to fast-track a new career in this field:
#1: Self-paced data analytics course
The most flexible option to work around any schedule and time zone is a self-paced course in data analytics. Some self-paced courses are MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), non-credit courses from top-tier colleges around the world. Self-paced courses can have thousands of enrollees from around the world, but are solitary by design. You will need to be self-disciplined to succeed without strong instructor or peer support.
#2: Part-time data analytics course
If you have a full-time job or other responsibilities, a part-time course can be a good option and offers accountability for a set curriculum and timeline. However, the part-time model takes longer to finish and longer to reach the job market than a full-time option.
#3: Full-time data analytics bootcamp
What is a data analytics bootcamp? Bootcamps provide immersive, intensive training for entry-level professionals in a field. Bootcamps can be in-person or online and are instructor-led, often with multiple speakers and mentors for a course and a cohort.
So, which option is the best for you? It really depends on your background and learning style.
If you have transferable skills and experience, you may only need to brush up on a programming language like Python to make the leap. If you’re coming from an unrelated field or from a career break, a more immersive, structured program like a bootcamp may be your best bet to get job-ready.
Go from beginner to data analyst in 12 weeks
General Assembly’s Data Analytics Immersive is designed for complete beginners. Get hands-on training from actual data analysts working in the field, and graduate in just 12 weeks ready for your first data analyst job. It’s the most direct route to your new data analyst career.