Research Analyst Career Growth

Jun 24, 2018

Becoming a research analyst is an excellent introduction to the financial sector for driven college graduates. After working at this position, many research analysts will wish to pursue advanced roles in the financial sector.

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Career Growth Opportunities for Research Analysts

Research analysts are a common entry-level position for college graduates at investment firms and other financial institutions. Research analysts study data to ensure that it is accurate and then present recommendations as to how that data should be used within the business. After working as a research analyst, many individuals may wish to pursue advanced careers in the financial industry. They might consider using their analysis skills to become financial analysts or economists, work with individuals as personal financial advisors, or hone their data skills to become data scientists. More information about each of these roles is presented below.

Job Title Median Salary Job Growth (2016-2026)* Education or Experience
Financial Analyst $84,300 (2017)* 11% Bachelor's degree and certification
Personal Financial Advisor $90,640 (2017)* 15% Bachelor's degree and certification
Economist $102,490 (2017)* 6% Master's degree
Data Scientist $91,059 (2018)** 19% (computer and information research scientists) Masters degree

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), **PayScale

Career Information

Financial Analyst

Many research analysts enjoy their work learning about a variety of business sectors. These professionals may wish to advance their careers to become financial analysts. Financial analysts work in corporations in all industries to help management understand the company's finances as related to the budget, cash flow, and investment situation. They make recommendations as to what investments, including stocks and bonds, may be profitable for the company to include in their portfolios. Financial analysts must be very savvy regarding economic trends. They must have a minimum of a bachelor's degree, however, many institutions prefer candidates with master's degrees. A certification such as the Chartered Financial Analyst is also recommended to pursue these positions.

Personal Financial Advisor

Research analysts have experience in analyzing the costs and benefits of various investments. Those that wish to utilize these skills to work with individual investors may consider moving into a role as a personal financial advisor. These professionals work with individuals to understand their financial goals and threshold for risk. They then recommend investments for them to make. They then monitor their portfolios to ensure they are progressing towards their financial goals. Personal financial advisors typically hold a bachelor's degree and receive on-the-job training. The Certified Financial Planner certification or a master's degree can be helpful in this role.


Many analysts enjoy conducting research and making conclusions from the information they gather. These professionals may consider seeking further education to become economists. Economists use research tools such as surveys, mathematics, and statistics to review data. Some may focus on the study of the decision-making of individuals called microeconomics, while others may look at the economy on the large scale which is called macroeconomics. Economists then advise businesses or the government regarding the solutions or forecasts they have found. Economists typically have a master's degrees or doctoral degrees and experience with statistical computer software.

Data Scientist

Research analysts have experience in dealing with large amounts of data. Those that wish to work to develop new ways to analyze and mine this data may consider a career as a data scientist. Data scientists study large data sets and develop ways to analyze this data. They create ways to display the data they have mined in a way that is meaningful to the end user. Data scientists must be familiar with statistical modeling and procedures for storage of data that protects privacy. Data scientists typically have master's degrees or doctoral degrees in mathematics, computer science, or a related field.

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