The world runs on technology, but it also runs on data. Data analysis is the key to making the right decisions in business and in life.
You use it to prove that with the right amount of nutrition, exercise, and commitment, you can reach your health goals. Amazon uses it to recommend products you'll actually use. Google uses it to help you get to the office on time.
Since user information is all around us, it's an ideal time to become a Data Analyst.
When we pay attention to the data, we’re able to make sound decisions that solve problems and enhance positive growth. Below, you can learn exactly what a Data Analyst does, and what the career trajectory looks like so you can decide if it’s right for you.
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Data Analytics Career Path
The career path of a Data Analyst typically starts with an Analyst 1 position, and then progresses to Analyst II, Senior Analyst, and then Data Scientist or even Chief Technology Officer.
So if you pursue a career in data analysis, you have a long future of steady job growth ahead.
Here are two of the most common career trajectories for analysts.
Freelancer to Consultant
If you're looking for a job with flexible hours, work from home capabilities and the ability to choose your own projects, then you'll thrive as a freelancer.
Once you build up a client base and gain a few years of experience, companies may start hiring you as a consultant. You'll work with a company for a set period of time and help them improve their business operations and discover new efficiencies. Consultants enjoy maximum work flexibility paired with hefty salaries.
Manager to CTO
If you prefer the structure and stability of working as a salaried employee, then you'll probably move up from entry-level analyst to manager. If you make an impression with the higher-ups and work to develop your leadership abilities, you could eventually land the role of Chief Technology Officer.
With the right data analysis skills, you can shape the ideal career for your personality and financial goals. It all starts by becoming a Data Analyst.
What Job Titles Can You Earn in Data Analytics?
If you’re pursuing a data analyst career path, it’s important to know that job titles vary across industries. You could find yourself analyzing animal grazing trends, healthcare insurance data sets, or measuring global fashion trends. There’s a wide range of data analytics jobs (including a few at some of the coolest companies on earth).
Here are the most common job titles that you’ll be qualified for once you finish our Data Analytics Thinkful course:
- Data Analyst
- Business Analyst
- Financial Analyst
- Operations Analyst
- Risk Analyst
- Research Analyst
- Data Journalist
- Business Intelligence Analyst
- Marketing Analyst
Some of these titles, such as Data Analyst, Business Analyst, and Operations Analyst, are pretty standard. Others, like Financial Analyst, Data Journalist, and Marketing Analyst, are specific to a particular industry.
Even though job titles vary, a core component of the role remains: translating data into valuable business insights.
What Are The Responsibilities of A Data Analyst?
Data analysts take raw information – numbers or qualitative data sets – to tell narratives that help companies make better business decisions. Your primary goal in a data analyst career is to take large volumes of complex data, extract insights, and help solve problems.
Skills you’ll need to thrive in a data analytics career are, but not limited to, SQL, Microsoft Excel, critical thinking, and basic programming knowledge.
It’s tough for companies to manage sales, marketing, operations, finance, and more while also having a solid focus on data analysis and reporting. A skilled data analyst will help show the big picture of how to make improvements in key business functions.
Companies have all sorts of questions on what to do next, how to improve, or how to shift gears. Data analysts can help provide clarity to what’s really going on and help answer those questions. Depending on a company's size and needs, the role of data analyst will vary. For larger companies, data analysts usually specialize in a particular topic area or team, while smaller companies may allow for their data analyst to work on several different data projects at a time.
If you’re a data analyst at a hospital, you could be solely focused on patient analytics and monitoring how patients feel about their care at your hospital. Maybe you’re analyzing surveys directly from the patients or you’re analyzing performance data of the nursing staff to see how patient health has improved.
Either way, your analysis will help provide insights on what areas of care should be paid more attention and which areas are doing well. A data analyst at the Major League Baseball Association (MLB) could focus on running analysis on consumers and fan engagement. Using data, you would keep up with how the MLB brand is performing across media channels like ESPN+ and YouTube TV. You could also review data sets and provide analysis about how the brand is performing with other partners like a sports apparel brand.
Sometimes organizations need data analysts to answer a specific question from a specific data set. Other times, data analysts must explore more broadly to solve issues and provide insight.
Data Analytics Skills
You might be wondering if you have the right foundational skills to make you a successful data analyst. If you have a knack for any of the following, then you'll probably enjoy learning data analysis and crunching numbers full-time:
- Logical thinking
- Problem solving
- Curiosity about data
- Basic mathematical abilities
- Attention to detail
There's high demand for analysis skills in different industries. Since data makes the world go ‘round, you can find a data analytics career in almost every industry. And across the board, the average Data Analyst salary is a big draw.
The top industries that keep an open revolving hiring door for data analysts include:
- Finance/Sales/Business Consulting: Top consulting firms that manage the finance, operations and business development processes of companies and have a great need for data analysis expertise. In order to provide operations recommendations, management consultants must review the facts and make strategic insights based on data.
- Tech: Tech giants like Google, Amazon, and Microsoft all have strong data analytics teams that are crucial to the business. Each company has over $85 billion in revenue, and they got there with a focus on data and customer analytics to continuously make improvements. Customers keep coming back, and tech companies keep growing because they utilize data to make huge business gains.
- Marketing/Communications: Marketing agencies and communications firms all need to keep up with traffic, engagement, and consumer trends in order to best serve their clients. Data analytics is at the heart of every marketing plan. And in order to pivot to the needs of your respective audience, you must keep a pulse on user data to help make smart decisions about what you’re communicating.
- Insurance: Whether it’s life insurance, car insurance, home insurance – you name it– data analytics professionals are required. With the proper data analysis on your financial profile and market interest rates, you can optimize on acquiring the best insurance plan. Without data analytics, we’d have no guidelines on how various consumers would receive the insurance they need.
- Startups: Startups are popping up in every industry from consumer packaged goods (CPG), to beauty, to healthcare, to fashion, auto, and more. Every time an entrepreneur decides to bring new innovations into a market, they need data analysts to analyze competitors, customer trends, and business operations. Anyone can bring new ideas to the world, but successful and profitable businesses thrive because of strategy and data.
Is a Data Analyst Career Right for You?
Data analytics is a career path that allows you to use a variety of complex skills to help overall business functions. You’ll be required to show critical thinking, strategic analysis, and cross-functional communication skills, while also needing a strong sense of focus and determination to read over intricate datasets day in and day out. If you like independent work, but also value contributing insights to a larger team to help make improvements, then this could be a good career for you.
Professionals in data analytics are good at gathering key information, asking the right questions, and using strong business acumen to provide important insights. After a Thinkful course, you’ll become a master at business tools like Microsoft Excel, Tableau, SQL, and more. Our Data Analytics Flex and Data Analytics Immersion courses are well equipped to teach you the skills you need to succeed in the field.
How to Advance Your Data Analytics Career
Whenever you’re figuring out a new career path, it’s always a good idea to take extra steps to understand what you’re getting into. Here are some tips when considering a career in data analytics.
- Reach out to your network or search your Linkedin contacts to see if you know a data analyst. Ask them how they like their job. Do they enjoy the day-to-day life of data analysts?
- Do a Google search for the most common data analyst job titles listed above. Do the job descriptions make you want to apply? Could you see yourself doing the tasks listed? Check out job ads in multiple industries and take note of which ones you like.
- Request a call with a Thinkful Admissions rep. Conduct an informational interview to get a feel for how our course is and if you’d be the right fit.
Start Your Data Analytics Journey
Data analytics is a career that will always exist. Why? Because as long as a company is running, they’ll need to know why certain processes are working and why some are not. Each time you think of a brand or company, know that data analysis was used in some way for them to keep operations running. If you want job security, job growth, and job fulfillment, it’s a great idea to think about a career in data analytics.
If you know that telling stories from data and information excites you, a career as a data analyst might be right for you. The data analyst career path is for anyone that wants to create understanding through raw data to ultimately solve problems and help with business growth. With various industries in need of expertise, your choice to pursue a data analyst career allows you to work in a field you’re most passionate about.
The world runs on data – join the world’s next workforce with our Data Analytics course to lead the charge.
How do I become a Data Analyst?
You can become a data analyst by obtaining hands-on experience with various tools like SQL and XML and programming languages like Python, R and Hadoop. It is also important to develop creative and analytical skills as well as communication skills and have experience of leading analytics platforms like Google analytics and Adobe analytics.
How much does a Data Analyst make?
The salary of a data analyst can range from $65,000 - $110,000, depending on factors like education, certifications, additional skills and years of experience in the field of data analytics. The salary also depends on the effectiveness and accuracy of the analyst.
What's the job outlook for a Data Analyst?
A skilled data analyst can have a very successful and diverse career path. Small and big companies need data analysts to improve their business functions, provide clarity to business queries and work on various data projects. Data analysts are also required in hospitals to focus on patient analytics to monitor patient health.
Launch Your Data Analytics Career
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