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Become a Data and Reporting Analyst: Step-by-Step Career Guide

Find out how to become a data and reporting analyst. Research the education requirements, and learn about the experience you need to advance your career as a data and reporting analyst. View article »

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Data and Reporting Analyst

So you think you might like to become a data reporting analyst? Data and reporting analysts gather, study and interpret financial and business information to recommend improvements for economic and management practices. Combining accounting and technical knowledge, analysts use specific software to provide reports on spending and projections for businesses or individual clients.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Bachelor's degree
Degree Field(s) Related field such as information systems or information management
Experience 2-3 years of related experience
Licensure/Certification Licensure required for some positions; voluntary certification
Key Skills Analytical, math, communication, and decision-making skills; proficiency in Microsoft Office, SQL, and industry-specific database systems
Salary $55,847 (median for all market research analysts)

Sources: Monster.com job postings (January 2013), U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), PayScale.com

So, what are the career requirements for a data and reporting analyst? Employers look for someone with at least a bachelor's degree. The degree field should be information systems, information management or a related field. Most employers look for someone with 2-3 years of related experience. Licensure is required for some positions, and related voluntary professional certification is available. The key skills you should have include analytical, math, communication and decision-making skills; proficiency in Microsoft Office programs; and the ability to use SQL and industry-specific database systems. According to Payscale.com, the median salary for a report analyst is $55,847.

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

The minimum requirement for most data and reporting analyst positions is a bachelor's degree. Relevant majors include accounting, mathematics, business administration and information technology. Programs with sufficient education in economics, finance and business management prepare graduates for entry-level positions, such as a junior analyst. Some schools offer online learning for working professionals seeking career advancement. Other programs include internships that give students direct experience in the field.

Here is a tip for success:

Take advantage of internships and opportunities for experience while in school. Internship opportunities are one option, and some colleges offer real-life business experience with managing investment funds or helping local businesses find solutions to their business issues. These opportunities help provide knowledge and skills needed for a career as a data reporting analyst.

Step 2: Learn IT Skills

Companies use standard or proprietary reporting software. Applicants enroll in college courses, participate in professional training or engage in self-study methods to learn command-line operating systems, statistical applications and office programs used by prospective employers. Programming experience using SAS, SQL or Oracle, as well as a knowledge of database operations, is helpful to qualify for some positions.

Step 3: Gain Experience

Most job listings on Monster.com in 2013 showed employers hire professionals with experience in business, accounting and technology. Companies also preferred those with some familiarity with their particular industry, such as government, healthcare or finance. Though academic programs provide introductory training through internships, it's not uncommon for employers to require two or more years of experience for a data and reporting analyst position.

Here are some more tips for success:

Pursue related professional certification. Financial data and reporting analysts pursue the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) credential administered by the CFA Institute. The examination for the CFA credential covers economics, finance, asset management and portfolio allocation. Other certifications, such as the Microsoft Office Specialist credential, also improve employment opportunities.

Research the necessary licensure requirements. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) requires data and reporting analysts in the financial sector that sell, trade or manage securities to obtain licensure. Several types of licenses are regulated based on the job of the individual. Analysts need to be endorsed by their employer to qualify for a FINRA exam.

Earn a bachelor's degree, learn some IT skills and gain some related experience are the steps to make data and reporting analysis your career path.

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