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In a world where big data analytics is shifting the way companies operate, the role of a data analyst and their duties gain more and more importance each day. Due to the demand for analysts, the financial compensation for them is quite generous as well. Whether you’re exploring the opportunity of being a data analyst or researching salaries to compare to yours, we have gathered information on the average data analyst salary and other useful information on this role.

What Do Data Analysts Do?

Before we dive into the salary details of this in-demand job, we must first establish what exactly data analysts are paid for. Their responsibilities and duties can vary depending on the size of the organization in which they work and its nature. However, their responsibilities typically include:

  • Identifying areas in which efficiency can be increased.
  • Discovering, evaluating, and implementing services and tools that support data validation and cleansing.
  • Analyzing, manipulating, and making sense of data sets relevant to the organization’s goals.
  • Setting and tracking KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).
  • Creating and updating reporting processes.
  • Auditing and monitoring data quality.
  • Working together with other departments of the organization in order to understand data content.
  • Conducting surveys and analyzing data gathered from them.
  • Preparing reports using business analytics reporting tools and presenting them to internal and external audiences.
  • Establishing and maintaining automated data processes.

How Much Do Data Analysts make?

Now that we have established the scope of work of a data analyst, we can further investigate how much you can expect to earn working as one. It should be noted, however, that salaries can vary due to a number of factors such as location, seniority level, years of experience, qualifications, certifications, the size of the organization, scope of work, etc.

According to Glassdoor, the average salary for data analysts working at an entry-level is $68,336 annually. Data analysts with more experience and consequently in higher seniority levels can expect an annual salary ranging from $95,177 to $103,751. The increase in salaries with qualifications and experience highlights a need for continuous education and learning in this profession, as the field of big data analytics continues to grow exponentially.

How Can You Get Started with Your Data Analyst Career?

Do you find data science and data analytics a good career fit? If you’re exploring opportunities and looking to kick off your career as a data analyst, here are the steps you can take.

Earn a bachelor’s degree

While independent learning is always great, graduating from an undergraduate degree in a field with an emphasis on statistical and analytical skills is one of the best ways to systematically learn the knowledge and skills that are needed in this field.

The suitable degree programs for data analysts can be mathematics, data science, computer science, and other similar fields. These programs all have similar courses that will teach students to find data from various sources and analyze it in order to gain an understanding of a business’s operations and actions.

Learn data analytics skills

Becoming a data analyst means that data analytics skills should be your forte. Therefore, apart from learning new skills through courses in an undergraduate degree, it never hurts to further sharpen these and find new ways in which you can improve.

As a future data analyst, you should consider researching or brushing up on the following skills:

  • Data cleansing and preparation
  • Data analysis and exploration
  • A good understanding of statistics
  • Data visualization
  • Data reporting
  • Strong communication skills (writing, speaking, listening)
  • Industry knowledge

Consider certification

Certifications are a great tool that can help to keep you ahead of the competition. There are various certifications that you can apply for as a data analyst. These include:

  • Associate Certified Analytics Professional (aCAP)
  • Certification of Professional Achievement in Data Sciences
  • Certified Analytics Professional
  • Cloudera Certified Associate (CCA) Data Analyst
  • EMC Proven Professional Data Scientist Associate (EMCDSA)
  • IBM Data Science Professional Certificate
  • Microsoft Certified Azure Data Scientist Associate
  • Microsoft Certified Data Analyst Associate
  • Open Certified Data Scientist
  • SAS Certified Advanced Analytics Professional Using SAS 9
  • SAS Certified Big Data Professional Using SAS 9

Get your first entry-level data analyst job

After earning a bachelor’s degree in the field and learning the core competencies of the role, the next step involves getting your first job as a data analyst. While this is easier said than done, there are plenty of opportunities for young professionals in the field. Take advantage of networking opportunities, be it in your school, certification program, or any other setting in which you can find people working in data analytics or in an organization in need of a data analyst.

Internships are also a great way to get started and learn from working in an office environment. From there, you can explore opportunities for landing a full-time job.

Earn a master’s degree in data analytics

Graduate degrees are not mandatory in the field, however, in a competitive labor market, they are an additional advantage for advancing in your career as a data analyst. A Master of Science in Big Data Analytics or in a similar field will allow you to gain new skills that can help you land specialized roles in data analytics. Some of them include:

  • Data Scientist
  • Director of Analytics
  • Big Data Engineer
  • Big Data Analyst
  • Data Architect

Working in data science and analytics will prove quite the lucrative career path, especially if you are one to constantly seek opportunities for advancement. This is a field that is shifting and growing each day, therefore it calls for professionals that are dedicated to improving business operations through the analysis of data.

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