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Becoming a Junior Data Analyst
Data Analytics

Becoming a Junior Data Analyst: A Beginner’s Guide in 2024

8 minute read | June 27, 2023

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Junior data analysts are an integral part of the data analysis process and are, therefore, in high demand today. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Given the ever-increasing amount of data that companies have available to them, data analytics is now driving business decisions in a way that’s never before been possible. 

While data analysts are in high demand, there are also an increasing number of young professionals who are aspiring to be data analysts. Some junior data analyst roles receive thousands of applications.

Want to stand out from the pack? Then you’re in the right place. Below, we’ll tell you everything you need to know to become a junior data analyst. 

Is It Hard To Land a Job as a Junior Data Analyst?

Becoming a junior data analyst can be challenging, but not if you have the right education and skills. Remember—data analytics is a fluid field, and advances quickly, so constantly upskilling makes it easier to land a junior data analyst position.

What Does a Junior Data Analyst Do?

Junior data analysts have the following responsibilities:

  • Collecting data. The data analysis process requires finding and identifying authoritative sources of data.
  • Cleaning data. These datasets will have some inconsistencies and gaps. The data needs to be combed for these anomalies so that the data is standardized and complete.
  • Writing reports. After the data analysis is complete, junior data analysts help collate the findings and draft recommendations.

Related Read: What Does a Data Analyst Do?

Becoming a Junior Data Analyst: A Quick Guide

Let’s look at the six steps to becoming a junior data analyst:

Invest in Learning and Education

Here are the three routes you can take to get the required education needed to become a data analyst. 

University Degree

Though a college degree is unnecessary, it can help with the job search process. The obvious degree choices are data science, statistics, mathematics, and computer science. Other options like psychology and economics can also help get your foot in the door.

Bootcamp

A data analytics bootcamp takes much less time than a college degree and offers hands-on experience. With a bootcamp, you’ll be job-ready in under a year.

Self-Taught Route

It takes discipline, but you can also teach yourself data analytics. These resources can help get you started:

Hone Your Skillset

To enrich your learning journey, sharpen these data analysis skills:

Technical Skills

Knowing your way around key data analytics tools and processes will make data analysis much more manageable. Your technical skills should include:

Microsoft Excel

Most data analytics companies you work for will have Excel in their tech stack. Learn how to enable data models and relations and power query, create pivot tables, and nest conditions and formulas.

Programming Languages

Structured Query Language is the main programming language you’ll use. You can polish your SQL skills with some tutorials. Taking Python courses will also help you learn how to analyze datasets and transition to complex data tasks.

Data Visualization

Data visualizations, usually with tools like Tableau and Power BI, are handy for presenting your findings to non-technical stakeholders.

Statistical Modeling

Statistical modeling isn’t just a matter of knowing how to do it. It’s also a matter of picking the right tool for the data you’re analyzing.

Soft Skills

You’ll need these soft skills to land a junior data analyst position.

Research

You will be digging for hours to find the right source and will need enough material to frame questions that contextualize the data. Experiment with different research methods to leverage search engines, subject matter experts, and scholarly sources.

Attention to Detail

When data analysts detect patterns, it’s often based on small clues coming together across large datasets. This requires keen attention to detail as you sort through the data.

Problem-Solving

Some snags you need problem-solving skills for include identifying anomalies across different datasets, facing accessibility issues, and encountering bugs during coding.

Collaboration

You will work with other data analysts, data scientists, and sometimes data engineers. Understanding how to work with people who have skillsets that are different than your own is key to succeeding.

Gain Practical Experience and Build a Strong Portfolio

Here are some ways to gain practical experience that you can show off in a portfolio:

Work on Open-Source Projects

Depending on the industry you want to work in, you will find open-source projects to contribute to on company websites. If not, you can try websites like Kaggle, which has data sets you can use to create your own projects.

Consider Volunteer or Freelance Work

Assist a small business to test your skills. Every business requires data analysis in some form, so why not help while gaining practical experience? You can also leverage freelancing platforms for small jobs. With both options, you get projects you can add to your analyst portfolio.

Create a GitHub Profile

When you have little to no previous experience, your portfolio will be exponentially more important than your resume. Create a GitHub profile and add 2-3 projects demonstrating your skills. Look up project best practices such as scope, coding style, documentation, and version control.

Find a Mentor

Mentors can help in many ways during the early stages of your career. It doesn’t have to be a formal mentorship. Just ask them out for coffee!

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Pursue an Internship

Internships are great trial runs to apply knowledge and experience the day-to-day of a junior data analyst. They also give you a leg up in the job search process. Check out LinkedIn to find opportunities.

Your Network Is Your Net Worth

Networking is one of the fastest ways to land a job, and you can build your network both online and offline. For online networking, consider the following:

  • LinkedIn, where you can engage in people’s posts and provide value by talking about market trends, analytical techniques, etc. 
  • Analytics communities on Discord, like Aspiring Data Analysts 
  • Subreddits like r/dataanalysis

For offline networking, you can attend hackathons and conferences.

Work Toward the Job You Want

Take these steps to land a junior data analyst role. 

Tailor Your Resume to Each Company

Research the company, comb through the job description for keywords, and position your qualifications in a way that explicitly meets their requirements. Doing this for each company you apply to will exponentially increase your chances of landing an interview.

Create a LinkedIn Profile

A consistent presence on the platform can pay in numerous ways. Talk about your projects and relevant experiences. Post consistently and connect with professionals in the data field across all levels.

Prepare for the Interviews

Research commonly asked data analyst interview questions and practice your answers with friends and family.

Get To Know Other Data Analytics Students

Jo Liu

Jo Liu

App Quality Analyst at Snap Inc.

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Jon Shepard

Jon Shepard

VP Of AI Research Strategy And Execution at J.P. Morgan

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Gilles Ngomeni

Gilles Ngomeni

Sales Analyst at Medline Industries

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Career Transition to Data Analytics: Getting Started and Landing a Junior Role

How you land a job as a junior data analyst depends on where you are currently. 

Related Career Transition

You can transition into a junior data analyst role quickly if you have experience in any data-related positions. This could be a marketing or business role that entails some data analysis, even if that wasn’t your primary responsibility. Any job with an economics/statistical background makes for an easy transition if you have worked on data projects.

Unrelated Career Transition

Landing a junior data analyst role from an unrelated field will be more challenging, as you’ll have to build your knowledge base from scratch. But since you have been a part of the professional world, you’ll still have transferable skills and relevant connections.

Becoming a Junior Data Analyst: Real-Life Examples To Learn From

Here are some real stories that are exemplary. 

Bailey Shaw

Bailey Shaw worked as a stuntman, parkourist, collections agent, warehouse worker, and merchandizer all before becoming a junior data analyst, and without a degree or tech background.

After pausing his stuntman career, Bailey joined RizePoint in a sales position. After taking multiple analytics courses, he asked for guidance from data teams within the organization. RizePoint offered him a 6-month internship, which led to extensive hands-on experience. This turned into a junior data analyst job four months later.

Chong Zi Liang

Popularly known as the “Woke Salary Man” on Instagram and Youtube, Chong Zi Liang was a journalist for seven years before entering corporate communications. He then decided to pivot to tech because he felt his communications career would become obsolete due to AI.

Liang learned the fundamentals of Python, natural language processing, and machine learning through bootcamps and courses. He focused on steadily building his data knowledge and analytical skills and soon landed a junior data analyst role.

How Much Can You Earn as a Junior Data Analyst?

Junior data analysts make an average of $61,798.

junior data analyst salary range

What Does the Career Path of a Junior Data Analyst Look Like?

As a junior data analyst, there are many ways that your career can go. After 2-3 years, you can start to go for a more senior position or specialize. 

Becoming a Junior Data Analyst FAQs

We’ve got the answers to your most frequently asked questions.

How Long Does It Take To Become a Junior Data Analyst?

Reaching an entry-level position can take a year of self-study or 6-10 months of a bootcamp/internship. If you land an internship, then you can transition to a junior data analyst role within a year.

Can I Become a Junior Data Analyst Without a Degree?

You don’t need a degree to become a junior data analyst. Online courses, bootcamps, and the ability to upskill as per the organization’s requirements will help you land a job.

Can I Become a Junior Data Analyst With No Experience?

Recruiters expect job seekers to have experience with entry-level data analyst jobs before transitioning to junior data analyst roles. The exception is in those organizations where an entry-level position and a junior data analyst role are the same.

What Comes After Being a Junior Data Analyst?

After you’ve spent some time as a junior data analyst, you can move into a more senior position or specialize. You can also move laterally and become a business analyst, a business strategist, a financial analyst, or a data engineer.

Is It Easier To Become a Data Analyst or a Data Scientist?

Yes. Working as a data scientist requires much education, and data analysts often upskill to become data scientists.

Since you’re here…
Interested in a career in data analytics? You will be after scanning this data analytics salary guide. When you’re serious about getting a job, look into our 40-hour Intro to Data Analytics Course for total beginners, or our mentor-led Data Analytics Bootcamp.  

About Akansha Rukhaiyar

Akansha is a freelance writer for SaaS B2B brands, with a parallel interest in writing for mental health services and education websites. She has worked with globally diverse clients and loves to incorporate The Office references in her writing in the most accessible ways