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Data Analyst Career Growth

Working as a data analyst provides many opportunities to work with data. The experience, knowledge, and skills needed are quite similar and can be used to advance to a variety of other careers. We'll explore these careers and look at their salaries, rate of growth and common tasks.

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Career Choices for Data Analysts

Data analysts work with data to find significant trends in the way an organization is run, and then interpret and present these findings so that organization can improve. This job title is typically associated with the tech industry, where this work relies heavily on statistics and complicated computer programming. However, the skills developed in this position can be utilized to analyze data in many other fields as well, and these research skills can be expanded to incorporate qualitative as well as quantitative methods.

Job Title Median Salary (2017)* Job Growth (2016-2026)* Certificates or Education
Market Research Analyst $63,230 23% Bachelor's degree
Epidemiologist $69,660 9% Master's degree
Operations Research Analyst $81,390 27% Bachelor's degree
Atmospheric Scientist $92,070 12% Bachelor's degree in atmospheric science
Economist $102,490 6% Master's degree or Ph.D. in economics

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Career Information

Market Research Analyst

Market research analysts work with data on sales trends, company competitors, and consumer desires to make suggestions to organizations on the best methods for selling their products. Both qualitative and quantitative research methods are employed in this work, including surveys, statistics, and in-depth online investigation. Similar to becoming a data analyst, a bachelor's degree in any number of fields is required to enter this fast-growing profession. The social sciences, math, business, and computer science all provide the needed skill set. Although it is less common, some market research analyst may also find a master's degree to be necessary for their professional development.

Epidemiologist

Utilizing a wide array of data sources, epidemiologists work to uncover the causes and patterns of disease in human beings. Their data sources include blood and other bodily fluid samples, participant and non-participant observation, interviews, and surveys, and the issues they deal with range broadly, including how disease affects different racial demographics, which diseases are likely to become an issue in the future, and at which age individuals are most likely to develop specific diseases. This research requires knowledge of both qualitative and quantitative methods, subjects for which many different fields of study provide the necessary knowledge. Public health is the most common degree earned by individuals in this field, and a master's degree is the typical level of education.

Operations Research Analyst

Those who work in this field utilize all the data that an organization has available to optimize the way that organization is run. The aspects of a company that are affected by this work are far ranging, and include how goods are transported, the prices of merchandise, and how employee trainings are administered, among other things. To do this work, operations research analysts use complicated statistical packages and computer software, and must be thoroughly trained in math and quantitative research methods. A bachelor's degree in a field related to math, engineering, or computer science is needed to enter this field, the same requisite to become a data analyst. To advance in this field one must stay up-to-date with the latest technology, and for some a master's degree may become necessary as well.

Atmospheric Scientist

Atmospheric scientists use data on weather patterns -- including storm cycles, drought, and temperature -- to learn more about the climate and to make predictions about what the weather will be in the future. To create these forecasts, which can be both long and short-term, they use complex modeling software and math. Within the field of atmospheric science there are many different job titles, with the most commonly known being the broadcast meteorologists who predict the weather on local and national news. Those wishing to enter this field need a bachelor's degree in atmospheric science or a related physical science as well as training in computer programming. A master's degree or Ph.D. is necessary for anyone who wants to work in the cutting edge of atmospheric science research.

Economist

Primarily using complicated statistics and math, economists analyze the markets to understand the way things are bought and sold. As this is a social science, they also use the qualitative data gained through observation, interviews, and surveys. In research positions this work is typically aimed at uncovering what works and doesn't work in the economy, making market predictions, and providing alternative economic distribution models that deal with the economy on a macro scale. On the other hand, economists who work for organizations -- whether governmental, non-profit, or for-profit -- are typically tasked with optimizing the specific economy of that entity. A master's degree or Ph.D. in economics is needed to work as an economist.

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