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How To Become A Data Analyst

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By: Matt Choi

March 22, 2021

The Data Analyst career path teaches students to determine how data can answer questions and solve problems. Students will learn how to examine data from multiple sources to provide security and privacy insights in the courses included. They will also learn to design and implement workflow processes, layouts, and custom algorithms for multifaceted, enterprise-level data sets used for data mining, modeling, and research purposes. Cybrary's knowledgeable instructors guide the process, and students have access to a virtual environment where they can practice the skills they have learned.

What is a Data Analyst?

Data analysis is defined as the process of inspecting, cleansing, transforming, and modeling data to discover valuable information that allows someone to make informed conclusions and decisions. The Data Analyst is the individual who uses their knowledge and skills to examine and evaluate the information to report discovered insights.

What Does a Data Analyst Do?

Data Analysts are like detectives. They figure out how things work and make sense of everything, answer questions, and identify trends. It's a rewarding, challenging, and creative career.

Every day, Data Analysts use computer systems and calculation applications to evaluate their numbers. The data they analyze has to be normalized, regulated, and calibrated to be isolated, be extracted, or used with other number sets while maintaining its integrity. Data (numbers and facts) are the beginning, but the most important aspect of being a Data Analyst is knowing what that data means and presenting the findings in a meaningful way.

Typically, Data Analysts will have the following responsibilities:

  • Mining data from various sources.
  • Working with IT teams, leadership, and Data Scientists to set goals.
  • Dissecting and cleaning information to eliminate irrelevant data.
  • Analyzing and interpreting data using appropriate techniques and tools.
  • Identifying patterns and trends in sets of data.
  • Resolving code problems and other data-related issues.
  • Creating presentations and reports for management.

Data Analysts need to have the skills to decipher the information and the ability to report and explain the year-over-year differences across multiple departments. Because they have a level of expertise in knowing what the data means, Data analysts are often called upon to advise department heads, Project Managers, and other leaders about specific data points and how they might be improved.

While a Data Analyst's skills are not as advanced as a Data Scientist's, they are often working toward the same goals. That means that though the role is more limited in scope, a data analyst is on the path to advance to a data scientist position.

What is the Average Salary for a Data Analyst?

In the U.S., the average annual salary for a Data Analyst is $61,1221, with a salary range of $44,000 to $87,000. More specific salary amounts depend on certain job responsibilities and other factors. For example, a Senior Data Analyst, who already has a Data Scientist's skills, will command a higher salary than someone just starting as an Analyst.

Who Makes a Good Data Analyst?

Data Analysts are important to today's organizations because they help provide insights by reflecting on their performance, work, and customer base. These insights help determine how certain factors affect profits, so company leadership can make sound business decisions, moving the business forward.

Successful data analysts must have both a comprehensive grasp of technical skills and strong industry knowledge. They must have a thorough understanding of the relationships among the company's databases and data sources. Additionally, good Data Analysts have the following skills:

  • Attention to detail – Data is exact. Data Analysts must pay attention to details in their analysis to ensure they come to the right conclusions.
  • Analytical skills – Data Analysts work with large amounts of information, including facts, figures, and numerical analysis. They have to be able to analyze that information to provide leadership with accurate insights.
  • Critical thinking – Data Analysts have to look at data, trends, and numbers to formulate conclusions.
  • Communication skills – Good written and verbal communications are a must for Data Analysts. They have to report their findings by translating the data into comprehensible reports and documents.
  • Technical skills – There are numerous technical skills and tools that Data Analysts must have to succeed. Some of these include XML, SQL, R, JavaScript, SAS, Python, Hadoop, etc.
  • Math skills – Data Analysts have to have good math skills to process all the numerical data they receive.

Data Analysts tend to have distinctive personalities. They are often people who are inquisitive, intellectual, and investigative. They're frequently described as curious, logical, methodical, and analytical.

Would you like to become a Data Analyst? Cybrary can help you on your path.


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