Should You Pursue a Career as a Data Analyst?

Posted on Apr 27 2018 - 4:50pm by Matt Holtzen

If you are interested in getting a job in a technological industry, you may want to consider data analysis. This field can offer a variety of interesting careers and opportunities, and chances are it will continue to grow and evolve in the coming years. Here is an overview of what a data analysis job involves and what you should do if you want a career in this industry.

Data Analyst

What Does a Data Analyst Do?

Before you can decide if you should be a data analyst, you probably want to know what such a job entails. Essentially, a data analyst is responsible but researching, collecting information, organizing data, and studying that data. The goal of analyzing the data is usually to answer a specific set of questions, learn more about a certain subject, and form meaningful and actionable conclusions.

Data analysis isn’t confined to a single industry. Analysts can work in a variety of fields, from medical to financial. Educational institutions, government organizations, and nonprofits may incorporate data analysis in some form. Even retail chains, restaurants, and international corporations hire data analysts to help them improve their business models, increase efficiency, create effective advertising, and improve the overall chance of profit.

What Sort of Education Is Necessary?

While some educational institutions may offer degree programs in data analysis, that isn’t the only possible academic path to success in this field. Most employers require at least a bachelor’s degree; some good possibilities to consider are mathematics, statistics, engineering, computer science, information technology, and other hard sciences. Some colleges may offer certificate programs related to data analysis. You may be eligible for upper-level positions with a master’s degree in a similar field.

What Skills Are Most Important for Success as a Data Analyst?

If you want to become a data analyst, you’ll probably need to have a good understanding of the field in which you want to work, whether it’s medical, financial, or technological. Aside from that industry-specific knowledge, however, there are several core skills that apply to data analysis. Knowing how to find information, conduct research, and determine the validity of data are some of the abilities you’ll need as an analyst.

Once you’ve found the data you need, you’ll have to organize it in a way that allows you to study effectively and learn things. Prioritization, graphing, database building, and statistical modeling are all valuable skills at this stage. Once you can look at the data, you should be able to extrapolate, find patterns, interpolate, problem-solve, and think critically to come to intelligent and accurate conclusions. Finally, you should have excellent communication skills to share your results effectively with your managers, customers, and colleagues.

If you enjoy researching, solving problems, and creating realistic solutions that can get results, data analysis can be a great career for you. Strong math skills are essential, and it helps to have a good understanding of technology, organization, and the industry in which you want to work. Most experts predict the demand for data scientists and analysts will continue to increase as more industries seek to improve their business models and evolve to meet changing market demands.