Become a Certified Data Analyst: Jobs, Skills, Salaries

Written by Coursera • Updated on

As a certified data analyst, you can work in various industries with the potential for a competitive salary and career progression. Learn more about data analyst careers.

[Featured image]  Three data analysts review data on several report sheets in a large white room with two other analysts in the background

If you’re good with numbers and computers and know your way around an Excel spreadsheet, data analytics might be the field for you. Data analytics is a rapidly-expanding field that offers high-paying salaries and a lot of growth potential. As a data analyst, you can work in almost any imaginable field, providing you with a range of options for specialization.

What is a certified data analyst?

A certified data analyst is a data scientist who has completed a certificate program. These IT professionals help organizations reach their goals by collecting, reviewing, and analyzing large amounts of data. Their primary job is to find patterns or trends in data so the organization can set goals and develop a plan to improve performance.

Where do data analysts work?

In short, data analysts work everywhere they can help organizations increase their productivity and efficiency. From marketing or sales to social media and investment banking on Wall Street, you can find data analysts in almost any imaginable field. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the following industries have the highest levels and highest concentration of data scientists:

  • Company and enterprise management

  • Computer systems design

  • Credit intermediation

  • Data processing, hosting, and related services

  • Information services

  • Management, scientific, and technical consulting services

  • Scientific research and development

  • Software publishers

Data analyst: Typical roles and tasks

As a data analyst, you might do many different tasks daily, depending on your work and position. However, you may have to complete any of the following functions during the course of your day.

  • Apply statistical models to analyze data

  • Build and maintain databases

  • Collect and organize data

  • Clean data

  • Communicate findings

  • Review and analyze data

  • Search for patterns and trends

  • Use tools to display data

Skills required for data analyst careers

Your skill set should include technical and human skills like critical thinking and data visualization to qualify for a career as a data analyst. Data analysts are in high demand as new technologies emerge and develop. The following list highlights some of the more common skills companies look for in data analysts. 

  • Critical thinking: Data analysts must be able to look at large quantities of data and decipher patterns while predicting future trends. This skill can help you look at things from multiple perspectives to see the bigger picture. 

  • Communication: not only do data analysts have to be able to review and analyze data, but they must communicate their findings to their superiors. Communicating your findings to others in a way they can understand is essential. 

  • Data visualization: Being able to take large amounts of data and conceptualize it in a digestible manner is essential to the work of a data analyst. This includes learning how to choose appropriate visualization charts for specific audiences. 

  • Mathematics: Data analysts work closely with numbers and data trends, making math an essential skill in your tool belt. 

  • Microsoft Excel: Excel is a spreadsheet software commonly used in data analytics. Proficiency with this software can appeal to potential employers and help you in your day-to-day work as a data analyst. 

  • Query languages: Data analysts' most common query languages include SQL and SAS. You use these languages to give computers instructions for collecting and analyzing data.

  • Programming languages: knowledge of various programming languages, such as R and Python, can be helpful with data visualization, cleansing, and analysis.

Read more: 7 Skills Every Data Scientist Should Have

How do you become a data analyst? 5 Certifications to consider 

You can choose from various certificate programs available to aspiring data analysts. Here are five certifications that may be worthwhile: 

  • IBM Data Science Professional Certificate 

  • Microsoft Data Analyst Associate Certification 

  • Microsoft Certified Azure Data Scientist Associate 

  • Cloudera Certified Associate Data Analyst 

  • Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate 

Placeholder

professional certificate

Google Data Analytics

This is your path to a career in data analytics. In this program, you’ll learn in-demand skills that will have you job-ready in less than 6 months. No degree or experience required.

4.8

(98,895 ratings)

1,368,000 already enrolled

BEGINNER level

Average time: 6 month(s)

Learn at your own pace

Skills you'll build:

Spreadsheet, Data Cleansing, Data Analysis, Data Visualization (DataViz), SQL, Questioning, Decision-Making, Problem Solving, Metadata, Data Collection, Data Ethics, Sample Size Determination, Data Integrity, Data Calculations, Data Aggregation, Tableau Software, Presentation, R Programming, R Markdown, Rstudio, Job portfolio, case study

Data analyst salaries

As a rapidly growing field, data analytics pays very well for even entry-level employees. A data analyst makes $71,455 annually, ranging between $47,000 and $110,000 per year, depending on experience, employer, and field. [1]

Related job roles and their salaries

Consider jobs related to data analysis and compare salaries. See how these careers stack up.

  • Business Intelligence Analyst: $86,787 per year [2]

  • Data Scientist: $125,141 per year [3

  • Data Engineer: $112,477 per year [4

  • Marketing Analyst:$66,854 per year [5]

  • Market Researcher: $65,213 per year [6

  • Operations Research Analyst: $89,266 per year [7

Steps to becoming a certified data analyst 

Becoming a certified data analyst includes earning a degree, building your skill set, and finding a job in the field. Although it is possible to get a data analysis job without a college degree, many data analysts have a bachelor's degree in computer science, mathematics, statistics, or economics. Some employers even prefer candidates who majored in data analysis instead of these related fields.

Read more: Your Guide to the Bachelor of Applied Science Degree

After you earn a degree, you may build your skill set through certifications or work experience. If you decide to get certified, consider how practical the skills will be to your work. You may start with more common skills, such as Excel or a programming language. Or, you can browse job descriptions to see which certifications are most in demand for the specific job you want.

Once you have your certifications, it’s time to start looking for jobs! As previously mentioned, data analytics is a rapidly growing field with a high demand for workers, so you should be able to find a job that suits your wants and needs. However, consider what different data analyst roles will offer you in terms of growth and career progression. 

Certified data analyst jobs: Career progression opportunities

The data analysis field offers room for growth. You may start your career in an entry-level position where you can develop your programming and data analysis skills before moving to more advanced positions. Understanding the career progression of a data analyst, as you see below, can help you decide if it's a field you want to pursue.

  • Data scientist: This non-specialized field typically comes after an entry-level data analyst position. Data science will enhance and advance your knowledge of basic programming, mathematics, and machine learning skills to increase your overall confidence in analytics. 

  • Specialist positions: Specialists work in more specific data analytics or science fields like health care or finance. Moving to a specialist position will allow you to develop a particular expertise after building a more general foundation. 

  • Management positions: More than anything else, these are leadership roles. Management positions are more demanding than other data analyst positions and, therefore, may require a higher level of education or additional certifications. 

  • Consulting positions: Have you ever wanted to be your own boss? If yes, consulting might be where you want to go. In a consulting role, you could work with various clients in different fields of expertise, mainly working freelance in a flexible, less specialized manner. You will need several years of experience to develop expertise in general analytic fields to do this work. 

Ready to learn more about data analytics?

It's never too early to start building your skill set if you want to pursue a career as a data analyst. Learn more about the field of data analysis and the work data analysts do in Introduction to Data Analytics from IBM. Or you may be ready to pursue certification with the Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate available on Coursera.

Placeholder

professional certificate

Google Data Analytics

This is your path to a career in data analytics. In this program, you’ll learn in-demand skills that will have you job-ready in less than 6 months. No degree or experience required.

4.8

(98,895 ratings)

1,368,000 already enrolled

BEGINNER level

Average time: 6 month(s)

Learn at your own pace

Skills you'll build:

Spreadsheet, Data Cleansing, Data Analysis, Data Visualization (DataViz), SQL, Questioning, Decision-Making, Problem Solving, Metadata, Data Collection, Data Ethics, Sample Size Determination, Data Integrity, Data Calculations, Data Aggregation, Tableau Software, Presentation, R Programming, R Markdown, Rstudio, Job portfolio, case study

Article sources

1

Glassdoor. "Data Analyst Salaries, https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/data-analyst-salary-SRCH_KO0,12.htm." Accessed January 10, 2023.

Written by Coursera • Updated on

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