Data Analyst: Employment Info & Career Requirements

Apr 21, 2019

Learn about a career as a data analyst. Explore the job description, duties, education requirements, salary and employment outlook to decide if this is the right career for you.

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Career Definition for a Data Analyst

A data analyst gathers, organizes, and assesses data from various resources in order to find useful information. Other tasks include using current economic or market conditions to project future trends and sometimes being involved in the research and development stage of a project.

Education Four-year degree
Job Skills Detail-oriented, mathematically inclined, able to work independently and with computers and database structures
Median Salary (2018)* $58,951 (for data analysts)
Job Growth (2016-2026)** 5% to 9% (for business intelligence analysts)

Sources: *Payscale.com, **O*Net Online

Required Education

A four-year degree is essential in the field, particularly in statistics, math, business administration, or computer science. Classes should focus on computer science, data management, statistics, and specific software applications. Job candidates frequently complete master's degrees to gain a competitive edge.

Skills Required

Data analysts must be detail-oriented, mathematically inclined, and have the ability to work independently. Proficiency with computer systems, data management concepts, and database structures are also important. Strong writing skills are also a plus, since data analysts often have to prepare written summaries, company memos, or press releases. Familiarity with a particular market or industry is also valuable.

Career and Economic Outlook

According to O*Net Online, business intelligence analysts, including data analysts, are expected to experience job growth slower than the national average for all occupations, with job openings increasing by 5% to 9% between 2016 and 2026. Those who find employment, however, will be compensated nicely. PayScale.com reported the median salary earned by data analysts was $58,951 as of April 2019.

Alternate Career Options

Similar careers to a data analyst include:

Market Research Analyst

Much faster than average employment growth of 23% was forecast by the BLS for these analysts from 2016-2026. Requiring at least a bachelor's degree in a field related to market research, these professionals determine potential sales of services and products by studying market conditions. According to the BLS in 2018, market research analysts earned an annual median salary of $63,120.

Operations Research Analyst

Needing at least a bachelor's degree in related fields, these professionals analyze business problems, like logistics slow-downs or sales expansions, and recommend potential solutions. Those interested in this field often earn a master's degree in operations research, mathematics, engineering or another relevant field. Per the BLS, the median annual wage for operations research analysts was $83,390 in 2018, and they could look forward to much faster than average job growth of 27% from 2016-2026.

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