Data analysts are professionals who gather information from several sources and turn those numbers into words, analyzing the numbers and using their findings to make recommendations.
On any given day, you can find an analyst collecting data, establishing an infrastructure for that information, looking for patterns, producing reports, and collaborating with peers.
These professionals use a variety of specialized tools, including spreadsheets, several coding systems, analytics software, and online advertising services. If you’d like to become a data analyst, take a close look at some of the career prospects, benefits of the job, and drawbacks.
What Do Data Analysts Do?
The main goal of data analysis is to boost a company’s progress toward specific goals through the examination of pertinent data. For example, recognizing patterns of behavior can help guide the direction of a sales plan for more profits. As these professionals collect, track, and analyze data, they must provide results that the next person can understand; in most cases, the next person is not a data analyst. Regular reports make up an important part of the duties of these professionals.
Benefits of a Data Analyst Career
The job outlook for data analysts is positive with an expected employment growth of 27 percent between 2010 and 2020. These professionals often have decent salaries with the potential for more, depending on where they are employed. For example, analysts working in security and commodity contracts intermediation and brokerage firms make quite a bit more than other analysts.
Sometimes, these professionals are known as operations research analysts. They often work on a team, using multiple statistical analysis methods to create reports for executives and top managers. Although they hold a lot of responsibility, it is possible for individuals to begin their careers with a bachelor’s degree. This leads to job experience, so analysts can improve their opportunities as they continue to progress and learn on the job. Other benefits to this career are the satisfaction of having a direct impact on the success of the company and the option of working in many industries.
Potential Drawbacks to the Career
There are some aspects of the job that aren’t as positive. The work environment tends to be high-pressure with a lot riding on the successful completion of analyses and reports. Deadlines are tight, and travel may be required. Professionals in this field are often expected to travel and to attend conferences. Professionals who hope to advance in their career often find that they must complete a master’s degree, and just about every data analyst has to maintain a certain level of continuing education credits.
How to Get Started
If you want to become a data analyst, focus on completing a master’s degree in finance or statistics, earn certifications in software programs, and look for ways to improve your familiarity with mathematics and spreadsheets. A Microsoft Certification and proof of SQL proficiency are two excellent qualities that may help you stand out.
The work of data analysts is crucial to the success of many companies. There is an upward trend in the number of job openings and the salary options tend to be positive. If you’re interested in a rewarding and challenging career, you may want to take a closer look at the work of data analysts.
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