Information analysts work in a wide variety of industries analyzing data and creating reports from that data. They require communication, interpersonal, and computer and software skills. The job growth rate for these positions is forecast to be much faster than the average for all occupations.
Information analysts analyze and prepare data to create reports while supporting the software used in the creation of such reports. While some entry-level positions in the field may only require a high school diploma or equivalent, most information analysts hold at least a bachelor's degree in field such as business administration, finance, or computer science, and many have a master's degree in a similar area. Depending on the field (as there is work for information analysts in multiple fields), additional training or certification may be needed.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree in business administration, finance, computer science, or related field (in most cases)|
|Other Requirements||Training and/or certification (in select fields)|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||21%* (all computer systems analysts)|
|Median Salary (2015)||$85,800* (all computer systems analysts)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Information analysts operate reporting and analysis software. They may work in a wide variety of industries, from health care or biotechnology to information technology or finance. Information analysts need strong analytical and communication skills. They must also be knowledgeable of the laws and ethics governing private or confidential information.
Information analysts are responsible for creating reports, analyzing data, troubleshooting, researching and fixing issues. They crosscheck the data to make sure their reports are accurate. They might also design and conduct computer modeling. Information analysts make recommendations on how the organization should go forward and make projections or forecasts about future expectations. Information analysts work closely with management, as well as clients or suppliers to determine the type of data analysis necessary.
Salary and Job Outlook
In 2015, computer systems analysts made a median hourly wage of $41.25, or a median annual salary of $85,800, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This occupation is expected to grow 21% between 2014 and 2024, which is faster than the average of all occupations in that time period.
Information analysts must have above-average reading, writing and interpersonal skills. Critical-thinking, decision-making and troubleshooting skills are essential. Extensive knowledge of computers, operating systems, analytical software and databases are also required.
Information Analyst Career Requirements
Some entry-level positions may require only a high school diploma or its equivalent, especially if the applicant also has considerable work experience (four years or more). A basic education for an information analyst career should include courses in higher mathematics and communications.
Most information analysts complete a bachelor's degree or higher in a business-related field, such as business administration, finance or accounting. A year or more of experience is generally required for all but entry-level positions. A master's or doctoral degree in a business administration, computer science or engineering is common in the field.
Additional training may be required for certain information analyst positions. For example, when working in the health care field it would be helpful to have some background in health care, and those who work in finance should have a strong financial, accounting or statistics background.
Certification and Licensing
Many information analysts have certification in addition to a degree in business or other formal education. For those who work in finance, a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification is the standard. Overseen by the CFA Institute, a CFA certification is earned by passing three sequential tests (www.cfainstitute.org). Some employers also require information analysts in finance to be licensed by the FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority).
Other analysts might be certified in information technology (IT). IT certification can be either vendor-neutral (not specific to any one employer) or vendor-specific (tailored to the specifications of analysts working for a specific vendor, such as Microsoft, Cisco or IBM). Some employers will help a new employee achieve the certification the employer prefers.
Information analysts usually require a bachelor's degree. Certification is available and may be required or preferred by employers. The median annual salary is about $86,000.