Steps to Become A Data Analyst

Data Analysts play an important role in all kinds of research in different industries. In particular, businesses collect a huge amount of information almost every day which is then used to come up with sound working strategies. And it is the job of data analysts to go through this mountain of information and provide valuable insight to their employers.

If you would like to become a data analyst, this piece has some useful information. Read on to find out how you can achieve your goal.

What Does a Data Analyst Do?

The primary job of a data analyst is to gather, sort and evaluate data from many different sources and extract useful information for the business/organization. For this purpose, they use different software and statistical analysis tools to pore over large volumes of data. The resultant insights are then utilized to make decisions aimed at increasing profits, growing the business and enhancing the overall standing of a company/firm/organization.

Data analysts also study current market and economic conditions in depth to predict future trends in any field. Moreover, they play a significant role in the research and development phase of any new project. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment opportunities for Market Research Analysts to grow by a massive 20% between 2018 and 2028.   

Steps to Become a Data Analyst in the US

The steps below outline how you can become a data analyst in the US.

Step 1: Obtain an Undergraduate Degree

Most aspiring data analysts choose to undertake a bachelor’s degree program in business administration, mathematics, statistics, computer science and economics, etc. During your studies, you should take courses in areas such as data mining, data analysis tools and techniques, business research methods, web analytics, data management concepts, statistical software systems, database structures and project management among others.

Step 2: Polish Your Skills

Along with your degree, it is important to learn some skills that will make you good at your job as a data analyst. These include the following.

  • Critical and Analytical Thinking
  • Complex Problem-Solving Ability
  • Communication
  • Microsoft Office
  • Data Visualization and Manipulation
  • Structured Query Language (SQL)
  • R or Python (Statistical Programming)

Make sure you are able to gain expertise in most of them. Aside from your full-time studies, different online courses are also available. You can not only enhance your knowledge through them but also learn the above-mentioned skills. For this purpose, check out platforms like Udacity, Udemy, Coursera, edX, etc.

Step 3: Apply for a Job in the Field

Once you have completed your undergraduate degree and mastered the skills essential for data analysts, you can start to look for a job in your preferred industries. If you have completed any internships or part-time work during your 4-year bachelor’s studies, then that will be an added advantage over other job seekers.

Step 4: Get a Certification

Though certifications are not compulsory for data analysts in most American states, getting one will surely enhance your worth as a professional. To that end, following are some good options.

  • Certified Data Management Professional (CDMP) - Offered by the Data Management Association International (DAMA).
  • Certified Health Data Analysts (CHDA) - Offered by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).

Many other certification programs are available and you should go for one that will give you the best chances of success in your preferred industry.

How Much Does a Data Analyst Earn in the US?

As per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists in the US earned an annual mean salary of $70,960 in 2018. That increased to $71,570 in 2019. The yearly median income was $63,120 in 2018. The highest-paying industry for this occupation, in 2019, was Other Pipeline Transportation where the annual mean wage was $118,910.

New Jersey was the top-paying state with an annual mean salary of $91,360. It was closely followed by Washington ($88,290) and Delaware ($84,990).  

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