What Does a Data Analyst Do: Responsibilities, Skills, and Salary (2022)

Organizations in all industries increasingly rely on data to make critical business decisions—which new products to develop, new markets to enter, new investments to make, and new (or existing) customers to target. They also use data to identify inefficiencies and other business problems that need to be addressed.

In these organizations, the job of the data analyst is to assign a numerical value to these important business functions so performance can be assessed and compared over time. But the job involves more than just looking at numbers: An analyst also needs to know how to use data to enable an organization to make more informed decisions.

These roles are in high demand. IBM has estimated that there will be more than 2.7 million job openings for professionals with data skills by 2020, with nearly 40 percent of jobs in advanced data analytics requiring a master’s degree or higher. Entry-level data analysts receive an average starting annual salary in the $60,000 range; however, success in the role can lead to senior positions with salaries exceeding $135,000.

If the role of a data analyst sounds like a good fit for you, here’s what you need to know.

(Video) Data Analysts: Roles, Skills, Tools, and Salary Range

What is Analytics?

Analytics brings together theory and practice to identify and communicate data-driven insights that allow managers, stakeholders, and other executives in an organization to make more informed decisions. Experienced data analysts consider their work in a larger context, within their organization and in consideration of various external factors. Analysts are also able to account for the competitive environment, internal and external business interests, and the absence of certain data sets in the data-based recommendations that they make to stakeholders.

A Master of Professional Studies in Analytics prepares students for a career as a data analyst by covering the concepts of probability theory, statistical modeling, data visualization, predictive analytics, and risk management in the context of a business environment. In addition, a master’s degree in analytics equips students with the programming languages, database languages, and software programs that are vital to the day-to-day work of a data analyst.

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(Video) What Does a Data Analyst Actually Do?

Types of Data Analytics

Four types of data analytics build on each other to bring increasing value to an organization.

  • Descriptive analytics examines what happened in the past: Monthly revenue, quarterly sales, yearly website traffic, and so on. These types of findings allow an organization to spot trends.
  • Diagnostic analytics considers why something happened by comparing descriptive data sets to identify dependencies and patterns. This helps an organization determine the cause of a positive or negative outcome.
  • Predictive analytics seeks to determine likely outcomes by detecting tendencies in descriptive and diagnostic analyses. This allows an organization to take proactive action—like reaching out to a customer who is unlikely to renew a contract, for example.
  • Prescriptive analytics attempts to identify what business action to take. While this type of analysis brings significant value in the ability to address potential problems or stay ahead of industry trends, it often requires the use of complex algorithms and advanced technology such as machine learning.

In a 2016 survey of more than 2,000 business executives, the consultancy PwC found that organizations find descriptive analytics to be insufficient for informed, data-driven decision making. As such, diagnostic and predictive analytics are increasingly important to organizations.

Key Responsibilities of a Data Analyst

The answer to the question “What does a data analyst do?” will vary depending on the type of organization and the extent to which a business has adopted data-driven decision-making practices. Generally speaking, though, the responsibilities of a data analyst typically include the following:

  • Designing and maintaining data systems and databases; this includes fixing coding errors and other data-related problems.
  • Mining data from primary and secondary sources, then reorganizing said data in a format that can be easily read by either human or machine.
  • Using statistical tools to interpret data sets, paying particular attention to trends and patterns that could be valuable for diagnostic and predictive analytics efforts.
  • Demonstrating the significance of their work in the context of local, national, and global trends that impact both their organization and industry.
  • Preparing reports for executive leadership that effectively communicate trends, patterns, and predictions using relevant data.
  • Collaborating with programmers, engineers, and organizational leaders to identify opportunities for process improvements, recommend system modifications, and develop policies for data governance.
  • Creating appropriate documentation that allows stakeholders to understand the steps of the data analysis process and duplicate or replicate the analysis if necessary.

Most Valuable Skills for Data Analysts

Effective data analysts possess a combination of technical skills and leadership skills.

(Video) Data Analyst Job Description - Qualifications, Skills & Salary

Technical skills include knowledge of database languages such as SQL, R, or Python; spreadsheet tools such as Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets; and data visualization software such as Tableau or Qlik. Mathematical and statistical skills are also valuable to help gather, measure, organize, and analyze data.

Learn more:Project Management Skills for Data Analysts

Leadership skills prepare a data analyst to complete decision-making and problem-solving tasks. These abilities allow analysts to think strategically about the information that will help stakeholders make data-driven business decisions and to communicate the value of this information effectively. For example, project managers rely on data analysts to track the most important metrics for their projects, to diagnose problems that may be occurring, and to predict how different courses of action could address a problem.

Data Analysis vs. Data Science vs. Business Analysis

The difference in what a data analyst does as compared to a business analyst or a data scientist comes down to how the three roles use data.

(Video) Data analysis careers | Top 3 skills for entry-level data analysts

  • The data analyst serves as a gatekeeper for an organization’s data so stakeholders can understand data and use it to make strategic business decisions. It is a technical role that requires an undergraduate degree or master’s degree in analytics, computer modeling, science, or math.
  • The business analyst serves in a strategic role focused on using the information that a data analyst uncovers to identify problems and propose solutions. These analysts typically earn a degree in a major such as business administration, economics, or finance.
  • The data scientist takes the data visualizations created by data analysts a step further, sifting through the data to identify weaknesses, trends, or opportunities for an organization. This role also requires a background in math or computer science, along with some study or insight into human behavior to help make informed predictions.

At startups and other small organizations, it is not uncommon for a data analyst to take on some of the predictive modeling or decision-making responsibilities that may otherwise be assigned to a data scientist.

What Do Data Analysts Make?

The average annual salary of a data analyst can range from approximately $60,000 to $138,000. According to the sites’ job listings, roles at financial and technology firms tend to pay higher than average.

Learn more: How to Increase Your Salary as a Data Analyst

The data analyst role is also a natural stepping stone for more senior data-driven jobs. According to PayScale, data analysts move on to roles such as senior data analyst, data scientist, analytics manager, and business analyst. These roles come with substantial increases in pay, too. According to IBM’s estimates, the annual salary of data scientists will start at nearly $95,000, while analytics managers will make nearly $106,000 per year.

(Video) What Does Data analyst do Responsibility Skills and Salary's #technology #data #datascientist

If you’re interested in building a career in analytics, take the first step by downloading our free, comprehensive guide below.

FAQs

What is a data analyst salary? ›

Data Analyst Salaries in United Kingdom

The national average salary for a Data Analyst is £35,413 in United Kingdom.

What skills does a data analyst need? ›

Here are the eight most important data analyst skills:
  • Data cleaning and preparation.
  • Data analysis and exploration.
  • Statistical knowledge.
  • Creating data visualizations.
  • Creating dashboards and reports.
  • Writing and communication.
  • Domain knowledge.
  • Problem solving.
27 Jun 2022

What is the responsibility of a data analyst a data analyst? ›

Data analysts collect, organise and interpret statistical information to help colleagues and clients use it make decisions. Data analysts gather and scrutinise data using specialist tools to generate information that helps others make decisions.

Does data analyst require coding? ›

Do Data Analysts Code? Some Data Analysts do have to code as part of their day-to-day work, but coding skills are not typically required for jobs in data analysis.

Who can become a data analyst? ›

While a bachelor's degree is the most common entry-level qualification, some companies look for candidates with a master's degree in data analytics or a related field. A 2017 study by IBM found that six percent of data analyst job descriptions required a master's or doctoral degree [2].

What are top 3 skills for data collector? ›

Here are the top related skills to data collection:
  • Analysis.
  • Research.
  • Microsoft Office.
  • Excel.
  • Data Analysis.
  • Responsible.
  • Management.
  • Managing.

What skills do a data analyst may have *? ›

5 Essential Data Analyst Skills
  • Programming. The most common languages used in data analyst roles are R and Python. ...
  • Math. Data analyst jobs require basic math skills, specifically in statistics. ...
  • Data Processing Platforms. ...
  • Visualization. ...
  • Machine Learning.
27 Sept 2022

What is a successful data analyst? ›

A good data analyst must have a firm understanding of the business operations. In any organisation, the analyst must be commercially aware of the customer, people within his or her team, different departments and the line of business.

What does a data analyst do day to day? ›

Generally speaking, a data analyst will retrieve and gather data, organize it and use it to reach meaningful conclusions. “Data analysts' work varies depending on the type of data that they're working with—for example sales, social media, inventory, etc.

What is the first step a data analyst? ›

1. Get a foundational education. If you're new to the world of data analysis, you'll want to start by developing some foundational knowledge in the field. Getting a broad overview of data analytics can help you decide whether this career is a good fit while equipping you with job-ready skills.

What is the job role of analyst? ›

Sample analyst job description

As a member of the IT team, the analyst will focus on solving organizational problems by analyzing processes, workflows, and systems to identify opportunities for either improvement or automation.

Can data analyst work from home? ›

As the data market grows and remote work continues to rise, data analysts will increasingly find opportunities for flexible, location-independent work. While it may prove more difficult for entry-level analysts to find a remote position, it's certainly possible.

Do data analysts use math? ›

As with any scientific career, data analysts require a strong grounding in mathematics to succeed. It may be necessary to review and, if necessary, improve your math skills before learning how to become a data analyst.

Is data analysis a hard skill? ›

Data analysis is neither a “hard” nor “soft” skill but is instead a process that involves a combination of both. Some of the technical skills that a data analyst must know include programming languages like Python, database tools like Excel, and data visualization tools like Tableau.

Which is best tool for data analysis? ›

Microsoft Excel is the most common tool used for manipulating spreadsheets and building analyses. With decades of development behind it, Excel can support almost any standard analytics workflow and is extendable through its native programming language, Visual Basic.

Where do data analysts work? ›

Data analysts work on Wall Street at big investment banks, hedge funds, and private equity firms. They also work in the healthcare industry, marketing, and retail. In general, data analysts are everywhere.

What education does a data analyst need? ›

Most entry-level positions for data analysts require a bachelor's degree in computer science, statistics, or a related area.

What is basic data entry? ›

What is data entry? Data entry is the process of entering data and updating information into some electronic service or database. An individual that enters data does so by directly inputting data into a company database with a computer, mouse, keyboard, scanner or other data entry tool.

What are data entry skills? ›

These skills include typing, word-processing, and computer expertise. Data entry technicians also need soft skills like self-motivation, time management, and detail orientation.

Is data analyst a technical job? ›

The data analyst serves as a gatekeeper for an organization's data so stakeholders can understand data and use it to make strategic business decisions. It is a technical role that requires an undergraduate degree or master's degree in analytics, computer modeling, science, or math.

What tools do data analysts use? ›

2) What Tools Do Data Analysts Use?
  • Business intelligence tools. BI tools are one of the most represented means of performing data analysis. ...
  • Statistical Analysis Tools. ...
  • General-purpose programming languages. ...
  • SQL consoles. ...
  • Standalone predictive analytics tools. ...
  • Data modeling tools. ...
  • ETL tools. ...
  • Automation Tools.

What is data analyst job? ›

A data analyst is a person whose job is to gather and interpret data in order to solve a specific problem. The role includes plenty of time spent with data but entails communicating findings too. Here's what many data analysts do on a day-to-day basis: Gather data: Analysts often collect data themselves.

What type of person is a data analyst? ›

The average Data Analyst is likely a natural problem-solver: Perceptive, analytical, and detail-oriented. The average Data Analyst tends to be confident and insightful, enjoying deep discussion to understand a particular issue.

Do data analysts need machine learning? ›

While not every analyst works with machine learning, the tools and concepts are important to know in order to get ahead in the field. You'll need to have your statistical programming skills down first to advance in this area, however.

Why do companies hire data analysts? ›

Help them in taking better Decisions

The information derived from Big Data Analysis is very essential for creating business strategies. Analysts manipulate heavy volumes of data and convert it into useful information which helps organizations make well-informed and efficient decisions.

Do data analysts make good money? ›

What is an average data analyst's salary? The average base pay for a data analyst in the United States in December 2022 is $63,865, according to job listing site Glassdoor [1].

Is data analytics a stressful job? ›

Several data professionals have defined data analytics as a stressful career. So, if you are someone planning on taking up data analytics and science as a career, it is high time that you rethink and make an informed decision.

Is data analyst hard? ›

Data analysis is neither a “hard” nor “soft” skill but is instead a process that involves a combination of both. Some of the technical skills that a data analyst must know include programming languages like Python, database tools like Excel, and data visualization tools like Tableau.

How much are data analyst paid in uk? ›

Average £36,685 per year.

Which field has highest salary? ›

  1. Medical Professionals (Doctors and Surgeons) Healthcare offers one of the highest salary jobs in India. ...
  2. Data Scientist. ...
  3. Machine Learning Experts. ...
  4. Blockchain Developer. ...
  5. Full Stack Software Developer. ...
  6. Product Management. ...
  7. Management Consultant. ...
  8. Investment Banker.
25 Oct 2022

DO data analyst work from home? ›

Work from home data analysts have the same job duties as in-house data analysts; the main difference is that work from home data analysts complete their job duties from home or a remote location outside of the office. They use a range of methods to chart, examine, and analyze data for their clients.

What is the highest salary of data analyst? ›

Data Analyst salary in India ranges between ₹ 1.9 Lakhs to ₹ 11.6 Lakhs with an average annual salary of ₹ 4.4 Lakhs.

What do data analysts do all day? ›

A data analyst reviews data to identify key insights into a business's customers and ways the data can be used to solve problems. They also communicate this information to company leadership and other stakeholders.

Do data analysts work long hours? ›

As a data analyst, you should expect to work regular business hours in a week. Typically, this can be from 40 to 60 hours per week.

Are data analyst happy? ›

According to Payscale reviews from 3,118 respondents, data analysts report a job satisfaction rating of 3.75 out of five. Data analysts like the job because it is challenging and there's ample opportunity to grow and learn.

Do data analysts use math? ›

As with any scientific career, data analysts require a strong grounding in mathematics to succeed. It may be necessary to review and, if necessary, improve your math skills before learning how to become a data analyst.

Can I become data analyst in 3 months? ›

Can I become data analyst in 3 months? Ans: Make the most of your three months and learn everything you can. Because time is limited, the emphasis should be on learning Excel, SQL, R/ Python, Tableau/ PowerBI, and ML if time allows. Investing your time in projects will also give you an advantage when applying for jobs.

Can a beginner learn data analytics? ›

Beginners start with data analytics by learning the different types of data and how information is processed to draw meaningful conclusions from it. This data analytics free course can give you a complete overview of data analytics and how it is used.

Can I be a data analyst without a degree? ›

You don't need a full-blown degree to become a data analyst, but you do need a structured and formal approach to learning the necessary skills. The best (and most flexible) way to do so is through a project-based course.

Is data analyst a good job? ›

Skilled data analysts are some of the most sought-after professionals in the world. Because the demand is so strong, and the supply of people who can truly do this job well is so limited, data analysts command huge salaries and excellent perks, even at the entry-level.

Which company pays best for data analyst? ›

Top ten data science companies paying fortunes to data analysts in 2022
  • Tableau. Tableau is one of the top data science companies offering a fortune to data analysts. ...
  • Accenture. ...
  • Fractal Analytics. ...
  • Mu Sigma. ...
  • iTechArt. ...
  • HData Systems. ...
  • TCS. ...
  • Salesforce.
7 Aug 2022

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