How to Become a Data Analyst: A Step-by-Step Guide

With the increase in data generation, the term "data analyst" has found its prominence today. However, to become a data analyst, there are a set of required data analyst skills and a few steps that have to be followed. In this article on how to become a data analyst, you will get an in-depth understanding of what you must do to become a data analyst, unearth the skills required to bag this position and you’ll get a step closer to your dream of becoming a data analyst.

What is Data Analytics?

From a bird's eye view, the term “analyze” can mean scrutinizing something to derive useful information from it. Hence, data analytics can be defined as the process in which meaningful insights are drawn from raw data by scrutinizing it. Such insights can be your business information, product innovations, market trends, etc.

Data analytics can be compared to how you make a jigsaw puzzle. Your first step is to gather all the puzzle pieces and then fit them correctly to bring out the final picture. Similarly, in data analytics, you have to analyze data collected from several sources, clean it, and then transform it into information that humans can interpret. 

The collected data can be structured, semi-structured, or unstructured in nature. The final result can be visually represented as graphs and charts which provide precise results of the analysis. Several tools and frameworks are used in the analysis process. 

There is a high requirement for professionals who can help organizations convert raw data into meaningful information, which in turn can help the growth of the business. There are several job roles in the field of data analytics, and among the job pool, becoming a data analyst offers the most amazing career opportunities. So what’s next: understanding how to become a data analyst. And here’s how!

Who is a Data Analyst? 

A data analyst collects, processes, and performs analysis of large datasets. Every business, be it small or big, generates, and collects data. This data can be in the form of customer feedback, accounts, logistics, marketing research, and so on. 

A data analyst is a professional who takes this data and figures out numerous measures, such as how to improve customer experience, price new materials, and how to reduce transportation costs, to name a few. Data Analysts deal with data handling, data modeling, and reporting. 

Once you know who is a data analyst, it's paramount to know the roles and responsibilities of a data analyst.

What Does a Data Analyst Do?

A data analyst is responsible for collecting, cleaning, and analyzing data that can be used to improve business decisions. They must be able to effectively communicate their findings to those who will make the decisions. Data analysts typically have a strong background in mathematics and computer science.

The role of data analyst has become increasingly important as businesses have become more data-driven. Data analysts help businesses to make sense of the vast amounts of data that they collect. They use their skills in mathematics and computer science to clean and analyze data, and then communicate their findings to those who will make the decisions.

Responsibilities of a Data Analyst

The data analyst designation comes with a bunch of roles and responsibilities. And the first step to becoming a data analyst in understanding the responsibilities of one! Some of the common and expected responsibilities of a data analyst are:

1. Understanding the Goal

First and foremost, a data analyst must identify the organization’s goal. They must assess the available resources, comprehend the business problem, and collect the right data. 

2. Querying

Data analysts write complex SQL queries and scripts to gather, store, manipulate, and retrieve information from relational databases such as MS SQL Server, Oracle DB, and MySQL.

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3. Data Mining

Data is mined from a plethora of sources and organized to obtain new details from it. By doing so, data models are built to increase the efficiency of the system.

4. Data Cleansing

Cleaning and data wrangling is the vital duties of a data analyst. The data gathered initially will often be messy and have missing values. Hence, it’s crucial to clean the collected data to make it ready for the analysis purpose.

5. Data Examining

Data analysts use analytical and statistical tools, including programming languages, for carrying out a logical examination of data.

6. Interpreting Data Trends

Data analysts use various packages and libraries to spot trends and patterns from complex datasets, thereby discovering unseen business insights.

7. Preparing Summary Reports

Data analysts prepare summary reports with the help of data visualization tools. These reports guide the leadership team to make timely decisions. 

8. Collaborating with Other Teams

Data analysts interact with the management team, development team, and data scientists to ensure proper implementation of business requirements and figure out process improvement opportunities. 

And now that you’re well aware of the roles and responsibilities of a data analyst, you are ready to unlock the secret - how to become a data analyst.

[Related reading: Data Analyst vs. Data Scientist: What's the Difference?]

How to Become a Data Analyst: A step-by-step guide

To fulfill the responsibilities (mentioned above) a data analyst must possess a vast and rich skillset. From domain expertise to various tools, here’s all you need to become a data analyst.

1. Degree and Domain Expertise

You must hold a degree in any relevant field, and should have domain knowledge in the area you are working in. If you are from a different background but wish to become a data analyst, it is possible if you have the required skill set. 


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2. Knowledge of Programming

You should have hands-on experience with programming languages such as Python, R, and JavaScript. Writing programs will help you solve complex problems.


3. Knowledge of Data Analysis Tools

You should be experienced in working with databases and data analysis tools. You should be proficient in writing SQL queries and procedures, know Microsoft Excel, Matlab, and IBM SPSS to analyze trends and plan to drive accurate insights.


4. Understanding of Statistics and Machine Learning Algorithms

You must know concepts like probability distributions, hypothesis testing, regression analysis, and various classification and clustering techniques.


5. Knowledge of Data Visualization Tools

A data analyst must be able to create different business reports using several data visualization tools. You should know to use tools like Tableau, QlikView, and Power BI. In addition to that, you must have good communication and presentation skills too. This will help you convey your ideas to stakeholders and clients. 


Once you possess the skills mentioned above, you are a good fit to become a data analyst. Let’s now move onto the next section of this article. 

Data Analyst Salary

How to become a data analyst is the real question, however, there’s one motivation that will surely push you forward to becoming one - and that salaries potential!

According to Glassdoor, a data analyst in the United States can earn a minimum salary of $43K to a maximum of $95K per year.


Fig: Data Analyst Salary in the U.S

In India, a data analyst can earn an average salary of 500K per annum.


Fig: Data Analyst Salary in India

The average salary of a data analyst in Australia is around A$83K per annum.


Fig: Data Analyst Salary in Australia

In the United Kingdom, a data analyst earns an average salary of £30K per annum. 


Fig: Data Analyst Salary in the U.K

Data analysts have a lot of scope in today's times, as companies are on the lookout for professionals who can efficiently and effectively handle their data. 

The companies hiring for the position of data analysts are Amazon, Microsoft, Capital One, Walmart, PayPal, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Bloomberg, and Apple, to name a few. 


Fig: Companies hiring Data Analysts

Are you overwhelmed with all the information and cannot figure where and how to start your learning journey? We have your back. Here’s how Simplilearn can help you learn Data Analytics and make you a seasoned Data Analyst.

Data Analyst Qualifications and Prerequisites

There are a few key qualifications and prerequisites that data analysts should possess in order to be successful in their role. Firstly, data analysts should have strong mathematical skills and be able to effectively analyze data sets. Secondly, they should be well-versed in using statistical software packages such as SAS, R, or SPSS. Finally, data analysts should also have strong communication skills in order to be able to effectively present their findings to clients or other stakeholders.

Possessing these qualifications and prerequisites will put data analysts in a good position to excel in their roles and provide valuable insights that can help organizations make better decisions.

Degrees Needed

There is a common misconception that in order to become a data analyst, you need to have a degree in mathematics or statistics. However, this is simply not the case. While having a background in these subjects can certainly be helpful, it is by no means essential.

Many data analysts actually come from non-technical backgrounds. What they do have in common is a strong interest in working with data and an aptitude for solving problems. If you have these qualities, then you may well be suited to a career in data analysis – regardless of your educational background.

Of course, if you do have a degree in mathematics or statistics, this can give you a significant advantage when it comes to understanding complex data sets. However, it is important to remember that data analysis is more than just number crunching. It is also about being able to communicate your findings in a clear and concise way. So even if you don't have a background in mathematics or statistics, if you are good at communicating your ideas, you can still be a good candidate for a data analyst role.

While a degree is not always a requirement for a data analyst role, earning the relevant certification from an accredited institution is imperative.

Available Courses

There are many different types of courses available to help you become a data analyst. Some of these courses are offered by colleges and universities, while others are offered online.

Undergraduate Courses

There are a number of undergraduate courses that can help you become a data analyst. A few of the most popular include:

  • Data Analytics
  • Computer Science
  • Information Systems
  • Statistics

These courses will provide you with the skills and knowledge necessary to work as a data analyst. In addition, it is important to have strong problem solving and critical thinking skills. Data analysts must be able to understand complex data sets and find ways to extract meaning from them. They must also be able to communicate their findings to others in a clear and concise manner.

Postgraduate Courses

There are a few different types of postgraduate courses that can help you become a data analyst. A Master's in Data Science is one option, and this type of course will teach you the basics of data analysis and give you the opportunity to put your skills into practice on real-world projects. Alternatively, you could study for a Master's in Business Analytics, which will give you a more business-focused perspective on data analysis. Whichever route you choose, make sure you choose a course that offers plenty of hands-on experience so that you can graduate with the skills and knowledge you need to succeed in this exciting field. 

Another option is to enroll in an intensive certification online course that solely focuses on all aspects of data analysis, which can help you learn what you need to succeed in this thriving industry in just a fraction of the time, and for a fraction of the cost.

Data Analyst FAQs

1. What does a data analyst do?

A: Data analysts collect, organize, and analyze data to help businesses make better decisions. They use their skills in math and statistics to find trends and insights in data sets, then communicate their findings to decision-makers.

2. What skills do I need to be a data analyst?

A: To be a successful data analyst, you need strong math and analytical skills. You must be able to think logically and solve problems, and have attention to detail. Additionally, you must be able to effectively communicate your findings to those who will make decisions based on your analysis.

3. What education do I need to be a data analyst?

A: Some data analysts have a bachelor’s degree in math, statistics, economics, computer science, or another quantitative field. However, with the right skills and experience, it is possible to become a data analyst without a college education in this area. More employers are also favoring candidates who have earned certifications with a sole focus in data analysis.

4. What are some common software programs used by data analysts?

A: Data analysts commonly use spreadsheet programs such as Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets to organize and analyze data. They may also use statistical analysis software, such as SAS or SPSS, to conduct more complex analyses. Additionally, data analysts may use database management software, such as MySQL or Oracle, to work with large data sets.

5. What are some common challenges faced by data analysts?

A: Data analysts may face several challenges in their work. First, they may need to clean or “wrangle” data sets that are messy or incomplete. Second, they may need to find trends or insights in large data sets, which can be difficult and time-consuming. Third, they may need to effectively communicate their findings to those who make decisions based on their analysis. Finally, data analysts may need to stay up-to-date on new analytical methods and software programs.

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How Can Simplilearn Help You?

If you're looking to become a data analyst, then the Data Analytics Courses, in collaboration with IBM is a great choice. The course will cover Introduction to Data Analytics, Business Analytics with Excel, Tableau training, and Power BI. You will also learn Programming Basics and Data Analytics with Python, R programming, and finally, you will get to work on a Capstone project.

This program will help you become a data analyst pro. And now you know the best way to become a data analyst seamlessly. The tools covered in this program are Excel, NumPy, Pandas, SciPy, IBM Watson, Power BI, Tableau, Python, and R. 

Now that you know what data analytics is, who a data analyst is, the responsibilities of a data analyst, and how to become a data analyst, you’re all set to start your learning journey and prepare for a data analyst interview. So what are you waiting for? Your dream job role is a click away. Start learning now!

In case you have any questions on this article ‘How To become a Data Analyst’? mention them in the comment section below Our experts will get back to you as soon!

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