Data surge has made analytics essential to most business decisions. Learn about the qualifications and responsibilities of analytics jobs that would help prepare you for a career in data analytics.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
Each day, we constantly ask questions. How many hours of sleep should I get? Why is the traffic so bad on my route to work? When should we offer a promotion to customers?
Analytics is everywhere. With greater use of interconnected digital technologies, we are getting more access to all kinds of data, including extremely large sets of structured and unstructured data called big data. Each day, humans generate a whopping 1.145 trillion MB of data.
Data analytics allow businesses to optimize performance and operations, analyzing patterns and trends (descriptive analytics), figuring out why past events occurred (diagnostic analytics), forecasting what will happen in the future (predictive analytics), and defining a path forward (prescriptive analytics). Experts surmise that data analysis has allowed companies to save 10% of costs and grow revenue by 8%.
This growth in data analytics means career opportunities are booming. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that we will see 26% job growth in analytics fields until 2028. According to an article by Deloitte, “In 2020, for the second time in four years, the number of jobs posted by tech companies for analysis skills—including machine learning (ML), data science, data engineering, and visualization—surpassed traditional skills such as engineering, customer support, marketing and PR, and administration.”
One of the most popular career starting points is that of a data analyst. Data analysts retrieve and organize data so that they can draw insights and product reports. This involves a mix of data mining, data cleaning, and data visualization. With a median salary of $77,923, data analysts can quickly upskill into other roles as a data scientist, data architect, or data engineer.
Fortunately, even if you don’t begin with the coveted data analyst title, there are many ways to reach that milestone soon.
Since analytics has become a critical part of almost every job function, there are many different paths that can lead to a career in analytics. Here a few common trajectories:
All analytics roles require a few foundational skills and aptitudes, like strategic thinking, quantitative skills, strong oral and written communication abilities, and problem-solving; however, specific responsibilities and salaries differ by industry.
For those with a quantitative bent, statistician is a career path that provides in-depth exposure to numerical analysis, commonly in research or academic fields. Statisticians will often use data collected in surveys, polls, and questionnaires to find patterns and trends to communicate to company leadership.
Required skills: Data mining, machine learning, probability, mathematics, statistical analysis, including knowledge of R, SQL, and SAS
Qualifications: Statisticians often need a master’s degree or Ph.D. in statistics, mathematics, and/or economics; however, a bachelor’s should qualify you for entry-level positions.
Operations analysts solve problems internally to improve business processes and the supply chain. This involves recommending policies and procedures, incorporating regular reporting of metrics, achieving cost efficiencies where possible, and improving workflows to promote cross-functional collaboration.
Required skills: Operations analysts need familiarity with the MS Office product suite, as well as database, project, and customer relationship management skills.
Qualifications: At a minimum, operations analysts should have a business or logistics background. To advance in their career, operations analysts may pursue the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences’ Certified Analytics Professional credentials.
Market research analysts collect data to help companies sell products and services, identifying industry trends and sales information that pinpoint what, when, how, and who to sell to. They may analyze data through interviews, focus groups, surveys, questionnaires, or spreadsheets.
Required skills: Oral and written presentation skills, understanding of online market research tools, market research, willingness to learn statistical software like SAS, Stata, and RStudio, and data visualization tools like Microsoft Power BI and Tableau.
Qualifications: Market research analysts should be proficient with Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) and statistical software platforms such as SPSS, WinCross, SAS, and Market Sight. They often have marketing or research backgrounds.
Marketing analysts are similar to market research analysts, but they focus on developing and tracking campaigns and customer outreach and acquisition strategies. They prepare reports on sales, customer experience, and competitors, and analyze SEO, web analytics, and social media ad effectiveness. Marketing Analysts make sure that marketing efforts lead to the best possible return on investment (ROI).
Required skills: Skills in business research, SEO optimization, MS Office, statistical packages (SPSS, SAS or similar), databases and MS Office, CRM, and communication
Qualifications: Marketing analysts should be familiar with search engine optimization and various digital marketing techniques, like Google Analytics. They often have taken coursework in marketing, market research, and business.
Budget analysts examine data to make recommendations about where to cut spending, how to allocate funds, and how to prepare annual budgets and reporting, using cost/benefit analysis and other techniques. 41% of budget analysts work for different government agencies, while others may be employed for educational institutions or scientific/technological organizations.
Required skills: Solid math and statistics background, analytical skills, attention to detail, experience with budgeting and money management
Qualifications: It is normally recommended to take coursework or earn a degree in business, accounting, economics, or public administration. The Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM) credential from the Association of Government Accountants (AGA) may be useful for working in the public sector.
Financial analysts identify business or investment opportunities based on financial records. They study economic and industry trends, build financial models to predict future events, and analyze profit and loss forecasts. On a daily basis, their work involves financial modeling, data collection, financial reporting, valuation, capital budgeting, and forecasting.
Required skills: Foundation in financial modeling, proficiency in Excel, solid mathematics and statistics skills, and an understanding of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems
Qualifications: Most financial analyst positions require a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, statistics, economics, business administration, or another related field
Business analysts partner with IT and business sides to evaluate processes and requirements and suggest changes to improve efficiency. This may involve end-to-end business analysis, budgeting and forecasting, planning and monitoring, variance analysis, pricing, and reporting. Since they may need to conduct consulting or meet with stakeholders, this strategic role can involve travel. For more information on the difference between a business analyst and a data analyst, check out this Springboard article.
Required skills: SAP skills, experience with Microsoft Office (Excel, PowerPoint, Word), SQL or Tableau proficiency, communication and project management ability
Qualifications: Business analysts often bring bachelor’s degrees in business, commerce, finance, or economics and work experience in a business or data-intensive field.
Is data analytics the right career for you?
Springboard offers a comprehensive data analytics bootcamp. Our data analytics curriculum goes beyond just technical skills to focus on areas where employers find the biggest gaps: strategic thinking, problem-solving, and communication. Watch videos from Microsoft. Learn insights from McKinsey experts. Tackle case studies from Harvard Business School. No other data analytics bootcamp does this. You’ll graduate with an analytical mindset. That’s an edge not just for your job search, but throughout your career.
Check out Springboard’s Data Analytics Career Track to see if you qualify.
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