How to become a data analyst

In the digital age where social media and 'Big Data' dominate our daily lives, data science and analytics are some of the fastest-growing fields. If you are interested to learn how to become a data analyst, then it's important to know the requirements, responsibilities, and skills needed for data analysis.

The job of a data analyst involves processing and extracting valuable insight from data using algorithms and statistical analysis. Almost every industry, from banking and healthcare to retail and marketing, have a need for data analysts, so your analytical skills will be in high demand.

Here we will discuss how to become a data analyst, the skills and qualifications required for a data analyst job, and the career opportunities available. So if you think the job of data analyst could be for you, keep reading to find out what you need to know to get started in this thriving industry. Without further ado, here at some tips for how to become a data analyst.

What does a Data Analyst do?

A data analyst has many important responsibilities. Data analysis involves gathering, organizing, and processing data sets in order to analyze and interpret the data for trends and insight. The exact functions of a data analyst depend on the industry they are working in.

For example, a social media company would need a data analyst to collect user data in order to identify trends, make the most effective use of advertising, and improve user experience. On the other hand, a bank or investment firm relies on data analytics to gain valuable insight into market data and to make informed decisions for investments.

As you can see, data analysts are in high demand for the important actionable insight their analysis can reveal to companies and businesses. The need for data analysts isn't going anywhere, so this is a career worth pursuing if you have the skills and drive for analyzing data.

This can involve anything from data management and data science, to data visualization and data structures, to data mining and crunching big data or various amounts of data, to utilizing relational databases and even machine learning. The business practices, tools and techniques involved allow companies and people to make better business decisions. This is why business analysts, data scientists, and data analysts make good salaries.

What Skills do you Need to Become a Data Analyst?

Still not sure whether data analysis is for you? It is helpful to know what skills and abilities you need to work as a data analyst.

Becoming a data analyst requires using data sets and quantifying data science. Data analysts must partake in data mining and other tasks listed above, so a degree in data related subjects in lieu of work experience will be in the job description, especially for entry level job seekers.

If you are someone with an analytical mindset, who excels in math and science and is proficient in computing, then a data analyst job could be a perfect fit for you. Because it is a job that involves both gathering digital data and statistical analysis, data professionals must have math skills as well as computer science experience to deal with tools like programming languages, machine learning algorithms, and others that help companies increase their business intelligence.

A high level of mathematical skill is necessary for processing numerical data and statistics. You will also require proficiency with using data analysis tools, which means having a working knowledge of coding languages like JavaScript and Python, as well as domain-specific programs such as SQL that are used specifically for data management. Other key skills include communication, logical thinking, problem solving, and attention to detail, which are all helpful for data visualization.

What Degree does a Data Analyst need?

If you have thought carefully about the skills needed to become a data analyst and think that this is the job for you, then it's important to choose the right degree for a career in data analytics. Most entry-level data analyst jobs require you to have a Bachelor's degree in computer science or another degree related to information technology. Even degrees that are not directly related to data analysis such as mathematics or statistics could potentially get you on the data analyst career path.

If you are looking for a high-level data analyst and data scientist job, then you will most likely need to have a Master's degree or Doctoral degree. The most relevant Master's degrees are in data analytics, data science, and business analytics. The exact educational requirements for a data analyst can depend on the company or industry offering employment. This is because, as we have mentioned, the tasks of a data analyst are so varied and are valuable in many different ways to each business.

There are even some data-analysis-related jobs that don't require a specific degree, but where real-world experience with data, statistics, and information technology is essential. If you are intrigued by data analytics but don't yet want to commit to a 4-year degree, there are plenty of short diplomas and introductory courses you can do instead which can be completed in several months or even a few weeks. These are offered by most universities and colleges and can be a good way to find out if data analytics is for you before taking the plunge and doing a Bachelor's degree and gaining all of the technical skills required.

How to Find a Job as a Data Analyst

Nowadays, data analyst jobs and career opportunities are everywhere. As a data analyst, your skills in gathering and interpreting data are in greater demand than ever. It can be a competitive field though, so having an idea of exactly what you want to do and where you'd like to work can save you time in searching for a data analyst job.

The biggest employers of data analytics include: Social media and software development companies, investment and financial consulting firms, banks, advertising agencies, and healthcare providers. Most data analyst jobs offer opportunities to advance your career that can take you down either a technical or more business-orientated route.

The technical route involves becoming a data scientist or data architect, while management or business analyst jobs are common for those focusing on business applications of data analysis.

Salaries tend to vary depending on where you work, but you can expect to earn between $60,000 and $100,000 as a data analyst.


If you have excellent math and computer science skills, as well as a penchant for analysis and problem solving, then data analytics could be a smart career choice. You can start your journey of becoming a data analyst by completing a Bachelor's degree in a related discipline, or by enrolling in a shorter course to decide if this career is really for you. Data analysts are in high demand, so there are plenty of opportunities for someone hoping to find a job in data analytics.

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Dave Fano

Dave Fano

Founder and CEO of Teal, Dave is a serial entrepreneur with 20+ years of experience building products & services to help people leverage technology and achieve more with less.

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