Gone are the days when people used to have only a few career options. We are currently living in the age of digitalization that has completely changed the way we perceive things. In this digital world, data is dominating the job market, and apart from the traditional IT roles in the technology sector, there are many data-related positions being introduced. Machine learning engineers, data scientists, data analysts, and data architects are some of the top job roles that have become the most sought-after designations among professionals.
Looking at a report by the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, one can easily infer that data science skills are in high demand and would continue to remain in the near future. The report states that data science skills would contribute to a 27.9 percent increase in employment in the field by the year 2026. Data analysts, along with data scientists, are one of the highest-paid professionals with a whopping $62,453 average annual salary in the US. This trend explains the growing popularity of data analyst certification for gaining expertise in the field.
This article lets you know more about the data analyst role and what are the career paths one can explore for their professional growth.
What Is A Data Analyst?
The generation of an enormous amount of data per day has driven the need for data analysis. Raw data collected is of no use until one can find meaningful patterns from it. So, a data analyst is a professional who collects, processes, and analyses large datasets to uncover hidden trends and communicate the same to stakeholders. A company uses those insights to make appropriate business decisions and achieve the desired goal. Moreover, analyzing data help in finding such business problems that are not noticed easily.
As customer data is important for every field these days, data analysts are required in almost every industry, be it healthcare, information technology, telecommunication, eCommerce, or even banking and finance. However, the responsibilities handled by data analysts in each of these areas might vary from organization to organization. To give you an idea of the day to day responsibilities of a data analyst, here are some of the typical activities that they perform:
- Design a data system and database for an organization and resolve any related issues.
- Work on management processes and policies and develop records.
- Find valuable correlations from the data and create such a report that clearly states the findings and helps stakeholders easily understand them.
- Use data visualization tools like Tableau, PowerBI to create interactive dashboards and maintain relational databases and systems.
- Mine data from different data sources and organize it in a common format that can be easily understood among teams.
- Communicate with developers, IT teams, data scientists, and business leaders regarding organizational goals and suggest how processes can be improved and what policies can ensure better data governance.
Career Paths For Data Analysts
You would be heading towards a great career if you decide to become a data analyst. Professionals are more often confused regarding the career path when they explore the field of data analysis. It is important to note that you must have some prior knowledge in order to comfortably understand the data analysis concepts. Some of the top skills include:
- Knowledge of Python or R programming
- Working knowledge of Microsoft Excel
- Stronghold of statistics and mathematical concepts
- Expertise in machine learning
- Basic understanding of databases and writing SQL queries
- Good data visualizing skills so as to present the findings through interactive dashboards
Regarding the educational qualifications, it is preferred to at least have graduation in computer science or related fields focusing more on math and statistics. Further, gaining some work experience in the IT sector is beneficial. However, many companies prefer hiring candidates who have a master’s degree in data analytics. Today, there are many renowned universities that offer data analytics post-graduation programs to help you get started.
If going for a full-time program isn’t feasible for you, there are online training programs that train you to become an industry-ready data analyst. With eLearning becoming the preferred choice for many professionals to upskill themselves, you can easily rely on online courses and learn at your own pace. Reputed training providers often tie-up with world-renowned universities to offer the same classroom experience as one would otherwise expect in an academic curriculum.
After completing a training program, one can start working as a data analyst. Some of the other career paths that one can choose after gaining expertise in data analysis are:
- Financial analyst
- Web analyst
- Business analyst
- Research analyst
- Machine learning analyst
- Sales analyst
Depending on your interests, you can decide which career path is right for you. Though the responsibilities will vary for each role, the knowledge of fundamentals of data analysis would be useful in pursuing the role. Moreover, all of these roles are in high demand and as we continue to generate an unprecedented amount of data, it is not going to diminish any time soon.
Businesses today are facing a lot of competition in the market and one who keeps pace with the technological advancements stays afloat and progresses. In the growing digital world, analyzing data and making data-driven decisions has become essential for every kind of organization. As such, data analysts can contribute significantly to achieving the desired business goals. If you have a knack for dealing with data and finding correlations, then go for a career in data analysis.