What is a Data Analyst and what do they do?

Businesses thrive on data and the demand for data professionals keeps on growing.

Times are changing and changing with them are the types of professions as well. You wouldn’t have paid heed to a lot of jobs and sectors a decade ago and now these are the ones which have a major contribution to the success of any enterprise or business. 

One such profession is that of a Data Analyst. If you are considering changing your current profession to a tech-related job, read this article to know all about this exciting and encouraging field of work.

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What Is Data Analysis And What Does A Data Analyst Do?

Data analysis is understood as the process of systematic application of logical and statistical methods of describing, illustrating and evaluating data in an abstract and recap manner.

It further involves the observation and analysis of patterns and recurring themes in any given data.

A data analyst retrieves and gathers reliable information for the purpose of its organization and intensive research. The objective of the job is to derive meaningful conclusions and unbiased inferences which can be used by the client to further business and strategic interests.

The work can vary on the basis of what kind of data is to be analyzed. This can range from sales, inventory, accounts, etc. Further, the nature of data is also determined by the specific requirements of the client.

Skill You Need to Become a Data Analyst

Data analysis is a research-intensive work which demands the analyst to demonstrate a high level of training and aptitude. Having a graduate degree in subjects like statistics or mathematics gives you a head start. Subjects which involve mathematics like economics or data sciences are also appreciated.

You can pursue becoming a data analyst even if you do not have a degree in any of the above-mentioned subjects. You can have a job in this field even if you are a graduate of, say, sociology or informatics if you have received informal training in statistics as part of the curriculum.

We have prepared a list of the skills you should be armed with in order to become a data analyst. 

  • A high level of mathematical and computational understanding
  • A command over programming languages such as Oracle, Python and SQL
  • The ability to analyse, interpret and produce conclusive findings from data
  • A methodical and logical problem-solving approach to a given situation
  • And efficient and error-free attention to the project work
  • The quality of sticking to the deadlines
  • Interpersonal skills like teamwork, leadership and responsibility
  • Effective verbal and written communication skills.

Difference Between Data Analysts And Data Scientists

It is easy to confuse a Data Analyst with a Data Scientist since the nature of the work for both overlaps significantly. The role of a Data Scientist is comparatively new and relatively vague. 

In view of the several similarities, we have noted down for you the factors which differentiate one from the other. 

  • A Data Scientist is responsible for identifying the evolving trends with machine learning, whereas a Data Analyst identifies the key performance indicators of a business.
  • A Data Analyst processes the data and develops a visualization of it for the understanding of a broader audience. On the other hand, a Data Scientist makes predictions of possible outcomes based on data trends

What Tools Do Data Analysts Use?

A data analyst makes use of various tools to make the self perfectly equipped for the job. It is pertinent to be familiar with different software to make the most effective analysis and interpretation of their data.

As a data analyst, you are expected to base the collection of your data from varied sources like news sites, magazines, research papers, etc.

Some of the tools employed by a data analyst are:

  • Tableau Public Software
  • Python Language
  • Microsoft Excel
  • SAS Software
  • Google Analytics
  • Apache Spark
  • Google AdWords
  • SQL Language

Where Do Data Analysts Work?

Data Analysts are employed in a wide range of sectors for their services. Remember, the job of a data analyst is critical in enhancing the reach of businesses. 

Banks, consultancy firms and telecommunication companies are the foremost employers of this sector. Apart from these, you can find considerable job opportunities in public sector organizations, software development sector, manufacturing sector, etc.

As a Data Analyst, your task is:

  • performing advanced computerised procedures to extract the required data
  • elimination of invalid and corrupt data
  • executing initial analysis to determine the quality of data
  • executing secondary analysis to extrapolate the significance of data
  • executing a final analysis to deliver additional data screening
  • formulating final report based on the analysis
  • presentation to the company/client

Data Analyst Job Demand

As per a study by IBM, the demand for data professionals is expected to reach above 700,000 by the end of the year 2020. A large chunk of this is made up by the Data Analysts.

The job of a Data Analyst is critical in evaluating the data to make investments decisions,  assess risk, target customers, or decide on capital optimization.

Data analysis offers a wide variety of opportunities across industries and corporate levels for you to rise in the sector. Given the boom in the tech-industry, the demand for data analysts is only going to soar up.

Salary and Career Prospects As A Data Analyst

As a Data Analyst, you start your job at the entry-level. Even then, your pay is likely to be more than what the seasoned professionals in most fields make. 

The average salary for a Data Analyst is around $62,000 per year according to Glassdoor. As you gain experience, you can make twice or more what an entry-level data analyst makes. Here, the experience is the key to your further career prospects

A Bureau of Labour study shows the average hourly wage at $34.11 to up to $66 in cities like New York. The study also expects this sector to have a double-digit growth rate

Why Become A Data Analyst?

The work of a Data Analyst is not as easy as it may seem. It is not just the mining and analysis of data; rather, it is a profession which hones you to become a real-life problem solver. Moreover, you get to hone your interpersonal and communication skills as you are constantly involved with clients or colleagues.

Data Analysis is an exciting field of work for all age groups of people. All you need is to develop an acumen for sharp observation and drawing an inference.

We hope this article helps you clear all your doubts and queries about Data Analysts. Take a leap in your career by choosing to walk the exciting path of a Data Analyst.