“Analytics (done right) should generate insights that bring to life whole new initiatives. It should change what you do, not just how you do it.” — Matin Movassate, Founder and CEO at Heap Analytics.

During the lockdown in India, big data analytics really has brought many new and timely initiatives to life. Businesses are harnessing the power of data and analytics to manage everything from employee productivity to security and more. Even well before the pandemic, the outlook for data analytics jobs in India was promising; experts gauged that the Indian big data analytics industry would explode to reach $16 billion by 2025.

All this only means one thing: Data analysts are in great demand to keep the big Indian analytics machine running. Now is a great time to consider becoming a part of India’s big data dream. If you’re worried that you don’t want to spend another 3-4 years studying in college for this career, we have good news — in just six months, you can become a data analyst without degree.

Data Analyst Without Degree: Step-by-Step Guide to Your Analytics Career

While most entry-level data analytics jobs might require a bachelor’s degree, they don’t expect it to be in data analytics. A degree in mathematics, statistics, economics, or even liberal arts is good enough. Once you have that, get on your data analytics career path by following these steps.

Step 1: data analyst without degree: Gain the Necessary Skills

The first step is to understand what skills a data analyst needs to have to excel at their responsibilities and then hone those skills. The essential skills and knowledge that employers look for in data analysts are:

Technical Skills

  • Data analysts must be knowledgeable in several tools such as Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Access, SharePoint, and SQL databases. 
  • They should also be good at programming in Python and SQL. 
  • Other good-to-have programming skills include HIVE, R, C++, Java, MATLAB, and PHP. 

With a few advanced skills in areas like machine learning, artificial intelligence, data wrangling, data manipulation, data management etc. you can even transition to become a data scientist without a degree.  

Practical Skills

Data analysts are primarily mathematicians and statisticians. As such, digging deep to discover your love for these subjects is crucial. Developing your mathematical and statistical abilities will help you solve complex business problems. Linear algebra and multivariate calculus, specifically, are used frequently in data analytics. 

Source: Payscale

Soft Skills

Apart from stellar technical and practical skills, data analysts also need to have the right soft skills. 

  • While working with data is the first responsibility, data analysts must still be able to communicate any insights they gain to key stakeholders across functions. 
  • They need to be critical thinkers and problem solvers who can see the big picture. 
  • Extensive knowledge of the domain they’re in is also another crucial component.

Step 2: data analyst without degree: Explore Real-time Case Studies

To truly understand the role data analytics plays in determining advanced metrics and steering growth, you need to explore real-world problems. Real-life case studies in different fields, like business, government, and more, can teach you a lot about how data analytics features in the larger picture. 

Step 3: Work On Live Projects

While studying real-world problems and solutions can warm up your application skills, you need to get your hands dirty to fully grasp the nuances of data analytics. Data analytics is one of the subjects that need to be learned by doing. 

You can find large, intricate datasets at various open source platforms such as Kaggle, GitHub, and Our World in Data. By using these and building real-life solutions, you learn how to execute data analytics projects from start to finish — and thus learn all the skills and where to apply them during the course of a project. 

Step 4: data analyst without degree: Get Certified

One way to have a legitimate qualification as a data analyst without degree is to get a certification. Many companies such as Cloudera, SAS, and Microsoft offer certifications. You can improve your chances of launching a data analytics career with any of the following:

  • SAS Certified Data Scientist
  • Cloudera Certified Associate: Spark and Hadoop Developer Certification
  • Microsoft Certified Azure Data Scientist Associate

Online courses such as Springboard’s Data Analytics Career Track are also a great way to show that you’re qualified. Plus, with its up-to-date curriculum, a bootcamp would supplement your training and prepare you to meet the most current demands of employers. 

Step 5: Build Portfolio

These days, most employers think a portfolio speaks louder than your resume. A data analytics portfolio is a collection of your most impressive data analytics projects. They show that you not only have the requisite technical skills and knowledge on paper, but you also know how to practically apply them. 

Plus, employers want to see your data analyst chops in action: They want to know that you can read meaning in data and use the information to create solutions. Depending on the job you’re applying for, you can customise and enrich your data analytics portfolio with the most relevant projects. 

Step 6: Participate in Competitions and Seminars

Connecting with your peers is a great way to share knowledge and remain plugged into the latest updates in the data analytics field. 

Competitions and hackathons

Online data communities such as Kaggle frequently host competitions. Participation in these gives you experience and the agility to pivot depending on the problem you’re working on. 

Seminars and conferences 

India is home to many major events with experts who share their insights on big data, analytics, artificial intelligence and more. Conferences like Gartner’s Data & Analytics Summit or the Open Data Science Conference are wonderful avenues that let you gain real-world insights and a deeper understanding of the key future trends that will define the data analytics industry’s growth in India. 

Your self-directed journey as a budding data analyst definitely does not stop there. To keep up with the rapidly evolving data analytics landscape in India, one needs to keep learning and gaining new skills. With the fast-paced adoption of digitisation and big data in India, every business will soon become a data business. The demand for data analysts is only growing across every industry. And learning data analytics will help you stay ahead of the curve no matter where you are in your career

You don’t have to do this alone — Springboard’s Data Analytics Career Track helps you conquer all the skills and languages you need. With a cutting edge curriculum, 1:1 mentorship, and career coaching, Springboard’s online program is designed to help you make that career move to data analytics. Oh, did we mention the job guarantee!