How to Become a Data Analyst?

6 minute read
How to Become a Data Analyst

Human beings generate 2.5 quintillions (8 zeroes) bytes of data each day! The figure is overwhelming enough to realize the need to organize and interpret data. Right from how many people are active on Instagram at a particular time to what people are buying on Amazon, every metric comes with an implicit finding that can help businesses grow. Digital transformation of most businesses has further made data crucial thereby, making data analysis a blooming profession. But what does it mean to “analyse data” and how to get started with your journey of becoming a data analyst? Read on to get all your questions answered.

Who is a Data Analyst? 

All businesses rely on certain valuable data and metrics to make critical business decisions. Be it monthly website traffic, product sales, logistics costs or revenue generation.

  • A Data Analyst is a professional who organizes, interprets and provides insights about such business data in order to drive informed business growth. In other words, a data analyst transforms numerical data into plain language for managers and executives to leverage business processes, reducing costs for instance.
  • Contrary to typical belief, a career in this field can be creative and challenging. As a Data Analyst, your work will involve much more than simply operating with numbers and mathematics all day.
  • A close parallel for a data analyst can be a detective who observes information, digs in for clues, trends and patterns and arrives at relevant conclusions in order to solve a case. Likewise, data analysts operate within an organizational framework, analyzing important business numbers and presenting the findings in interesting ways through graphics, charts, content and more.

Also Read: Business Analyst vs Data Analyst

Qualifications Required

Being a technical role, Data Analysis requires you to have a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Analytics, Computer Science, Statistics, Mathematics, Artificial Intelligence or a degree in Business Analytics. Data Analysis is also a popular career choice for B.Tech and MBA graduates. Students can even choose Data Science as their MBA specialization to combine technical skills with core business knowledge.

Skills Required 

Pursuing a career in data science and analysis undoubtedly requires one to be excellent with numbers, but not just that. You will require a set of technical as well as strategic thinking skills to deal with complex business data and extract meaningful insights.

  1. Microsoft Excel – Getting hands-on with spreadsheet tools like Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel is a must-have skill when it comes to handling business data. Advanced knowledge of MS Excel such as familiarity with Macros, VBA, etc.. will help you organize, interpret and manage business metrics as a data analyst, besides being a time-saving asset.
  2. SQL – Ever wondered who recommends your favorite products on online shopping platforms? It’s an SQL expert! SQL is a database management system that is at the centre of organizing Big Data. There are many uses of SQL for a data analyst to derive conclusions about business data.
  3. Statistical Programming – Knowledge of programming languages such as R and Python will take you higher on the ladder as a data analyst. They make the process of data analysis 10 times faster as compared to Excel and SQL, besides enabling management of complex or large data sets.
  4. Data Visualization – As a data analyst, unless you are able to formulate a narrative about how data can help in an organization’s growth, your findings are unlikely to impact any growth. With data visualization skills, a data analyst will be able to get his/her conclusions across for the stakeholders to make informed decisions.
  5. Critical Thinking – Modern business problems require modern solutions. Therefore, thinking from multiple perspectives and synthesizing implicit connections is a prerequisite to pursue a career as a data analyst.

How to Become a Data Analyst? 

Step 1: Get Your Basics Right

Before beginning a career as a data analyst, it is important to acquaint yourself with basic theories, tools and best practices for handling large-scale data. For doing so, you can take online introduction courses in Data Analysis, get hands-on with data analytical tools, and invest in fundamental skills including spreadsheet tools,  mathematical and statistical efficiency. Besides, invest in honing problem-solving, critical thinking and soft skills.

Step 2: Enroll in a Structured Data Science and Analysis Course

The next step in your journey of becoming a data analyst is to enrol in a well-structured degree program in Data Science. Doing so would expose you to a refined curriculum and expert mentorship from professionals.

Step 3: Network with Industry Professionals

Once you have the necessary skill-set and expertise for becoming a data analyst, the next step is to get your foot in the door as a professional data analyst. Become part of a meaningful network of data analysts by connecting with fellow students, industry professionals and mentors to land yourself an opportunity in the job market.

Step 4: Get Your First Internship/Job as a Data Analyst

Finally, getting an internship or a full-time role as a data analyst in a reputed firm will qualify you as a professional data analyst. As a data analyst, you can leverage opportunities to advance your portfolio by undertaking exciting analytics projects.

Courses You Can Take to Become a Data Analyst

Undergraduate Postgraduate
B.Sc Computer Science – Artificial Intelligence Masters of Science in Data Analytics
B.Sc Computer Science, Economics and Data Science M.Sc Statistics – Data Science
B.Sc Statistics and Data Science M.Sc Applied Analytics
B.Sc Data Science MS Artificial Intelligence and Innovation
B.Sc Artificial Intelligence MBA Data Analytics

Top Universities that Offer Data Analytics Courses 

According to the US News and World Report (2022) Rankings, the following universities offer the best undergraduate data science programs in the world:

  1. University of California – Berkeley
  2. Carnegie Mellon University
  3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  4. Stanford University
  5. University of Washington
  6. Cornell University
  7. Georgia Institute of Technology
  8. Columbia University
  9. University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign
  10. University of Michigan – Ann Arbor

Data Analytics: Salary and Job Profiles 

Being a data analyst is a lucrative career option. How much you earn will depend on several factors such as industry, experience, location and job profile. As of November 2021, the average salary of a data analyst in the United States is $69,517 (INR 51.73 lakhs). With more experience, you can delve into leadership and consulting roles taking your yearly package to $147,147 (~ INR 1 crore).

A day in your life as a data analyst will involve the following job responsibilities:

  • Collecting, organizing and analysing business numbers.
  • Creating, managing and maintaining data dashboards, databases.
  • Identify areas to increase efficiency or automation of business processes.
  • Designing visual representations of key findings.
  • Preparing reports for executives to communicate trends, patterns and give predictive analysis.

Top Recruitment Companies

As a field ripe with opportunities, Data Analysis is the key demand of all businesses. Every organization needs someone who knows how to handle and analyze Big Data and company metrics. Here are some of the big names that extensively hire graduates in this field:

  1. Accenture
  2. Tableau
  3. Oracle
  4. IBM
  5. Dell Technologies
  6. American Express
  7. Flipkart
  8. TCS
  9. Google
  10. Morning Star

Is Data Analytics a Good Career?

Data is the backbone of businesses in all industries – from retail, banking and healthcare to education, government and even communications. This dependency on data has only increased with digital transformation. According to a report by India Today, India is predicted to have more than 11 million job openings in the field of data science and analysis by 2026. It is, therefore, safe to say that becoming a data analyst is a job for the future.


Can I become a Data Analyst after the 12th?

After completing Class 12th in the Science Stream, students can enrol in a certificate, diploma or full-time undergraduate degree program to become a data analyst after 12th.

What is the difference between a data analyst and a financial analyst?

While a financial analyst will primarily interpret financial data to help the company make better-investing decisions, a data analyst works with multiple types of data that might or might not relate to finances.

Why should I consider a career in Data Analysis?

One of the reasons why you should consider a career in this field is the growing demand for data analyst professionals worldwide. Further, it is a challenging, technical profession allowing you to learn something new each day. You not only mechanically crunch with numbers, but also creatively derive value from them.

Connect with our experts at Leverage Edu to know everything that you need about pursuing a career in this field along with the best universities and courses that you can enrol in for becoming a data analyst.

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