How to Become a Data Analyst and Help Draw Insights for Businesses

How to Become a Data Analyst and Help Draw Insights for Businesses | Data Science and Analytics | Emeritus

Each minute, 4.9 billion people across the globe create terabytes, petabytes, and exabytes of data each day. However, data only becomes information when data analysts uncover patterns and glean insights from it. Today, communication, education, offices, and healthcare have shifted to digital platforms. Consequently, the scope of data creation has grown exponentially. This is where data analysts come into play. They facilitate the use of data in life-changing and life-saving decision-making. Want to know how to become a data analyst? Read on to find out.

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How to Become a Data Analyst

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to become a data analyst:

data scienceStep 1: Get the Education Needed

If you are wondering how to become a data analyst, the first step is to get the right education. A Bachelor’s degree in data analytics is essential. However, an equivalent degree in a related field like computer science, mathematics, or statistics can offer a sturdy foundation too. Advanced degrees can help you start strong in your career as a data analyst.

Step 2: Gain Hands-On Experience and Technical Skills Needed

Experience in data analysis need not come from a job. You can take up projects to improve yourself by analyzing available data sets, creating visualizations, and deriving impactful solutions. This can help you enhance existing skills and learn new ones simultaneously.

Step 3: Consider Online Courses, Bootcamps, and Other Certifications

Online courses and bootcamps for data analysis offer an incredible learning experience. You can access online data analysis courses from the comfort of your home and on your own time. In addition, data analysis bootcamps are an excellent investment for when you’re ready to start and upgrade your career. Check out some of the most useful online data analytics courses here

Step 4: Build Your Data Analytics Portfolio

On the question of how to become a data analyst, a portfolio documenting your work is a huge added bonus. Your data analytics portfolio must demonstrate your strongest skills. A mix of technical and soft skills can help your portfolio stand out to all types of audiences. Incorporating data mining, cleaning, processing, and extracting insights from actual data in your portfolio can offer the viewer the best perspective of your skillset.

Step 5: Connect with Others in the Industry and Look for Mentors

Networking is crucial to any field. Connecting with other professionals can offer a variety of insights into this career path. It also helps you understand what skills and qualifications are in demand across in this industry, which is highly dynamic and evolving with new technologies. 

Step 6: Apply for Entry-Level Jobs

As data analysis is relatively new, a fair amount of the learning takes place on the job. Additionally, working as a data analyst allows you to stay on top of the trends in the field. Applying for entry-level jobs opens up parallel opportunities for learning and career advancement. 

Do You Need a Degree to be a Data Analyst?

Yes. A minimum of a Bachelor’s degree is required to become a data analyst. However, a Master’s or other advanced degrees can also help ensure a more solid and lasting career in data analytics.

Most Important Data Analyst Skills

Data mining, cleaning, and visualization are core skills for accurate data analysis. These skills allow for the collection, bias elimination, and apt presentation of data, respectively. In addition, foundational knowledge of machine learning and programming languages like MATLAB, Python, and R can further enhance the analysis.

Finally, critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving are crucial soft skills for a career in data analysis.

What Exactly Does a Data Analyst Do?

You cannot address the question of how to become a data analyst without understanding what they actually do. Data is largely unstructured and without context. Therefore, a data analyst must undertake various processes to convert data into insights. Furthermore, data analysts organize and present this data to the relevant business units to utilize it in critical decision-making.

Related: What Does a Data Analyst Do?

Careers in Data and Business Analytics

A vital feature of a data and business analytics career is that the scope is nearly limitless. Data analyst, marketing specialist, business analyst, research analyst and researcher, and many more specializations are now available for you to explore. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How to Find an Entry-Level Job in Data Analytics?

A Bachelor’s degree in data analysis or an associated field like mathematics or computer science, combined with technical skills and a sturdy portfolio, can land you an entry-level job in data analytics.

2. Is Data Analytics the Same as Data Science?

No, they are not the same. Data science is extracting information from raw data, while data analysis allows you to reach conclusions and make decisions based on the available information.

3. What Qualifications Do I Need to be a Data Analyst?

You need: 

  • Bachelor’s/Master’s degree 
  • Online data analyst courses certifications

4. Is it Hard to Become a Data Analyst?

Adapting to changing technologies with a strong fundamental knowledge can ease the career path for a data analyst.

5. Does Data Analytics Require Coding?

A basic understanding of coding can help a data analyst. However, advanced knowledge of coding isn’t mandatory.

6. What are Popular Jobs in Data Analytics?

Data scientist, data engineer, consultant, operations analyst, and research analyst are some popular jobs in data analytics.

7. Can a Data Analyst Work From Home?

As data analysts use a variety of software programs on their computers, they can easily choose to work from home.

If you want to start a career in data analysis, explore these online courses in data science from the best universities in the world. 

By Juilee Kamble 

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About the Author

Managing Editor, Emeritus Blog
Anwesha is our in-house expert on careers, trends impacting the workforce, and what makes content tick. As a journalist and content creator for 10+ years, Anwesha leaves a bit of herself in every story. Her superpower is to take the bare bones and turn it into a winning narrative for brands. Her passion to tell stories of human triumph led her to Emeritus where she continues to weave engaging tales. Anwesha is also a doting dog mom and hopes to make her boisterous canine a pawfluencer.
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