What does a Data Analyst do

Everything You Want To Know About Data Analyst

Role, Job Descriptions, Qualifications, Salary, Certifications, Training, Career Paths

LinkedIn ranks Business Analysis as the top sixth hard skill companies need most from employees. This data was sourced from LinkedIn's network of over 660+ million professionals and 20+ million jobs to reveal the most in-demand soft and hard skills. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, business analysts' employment opportunities are expected to grow to 14% from 2018 to 2028, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. The practice of business analysis is a highly flexible field as the work Business Analysts do is very diverse.

With the increasing demand for senior and entry-level jobs, data analysis is growing exponentially. Amazon, Hewlett-Packard, Infosys, HCL Technologies, Capgemini, Accenture, EY, and Deloitte are major companies with good data analysts' salary packages. As companies continue to get more data-focused, this career path will continue to grow as Data Analysts are essential to guide companies to make the best decisions possible.

Let's learn about:

Data analyst definition

Data analyst role

Data analyst qualifications

Data analyst salary

Data analyst certifications

Data analyst training

Who is a Data analyst?

Data analysts analyze business data to identify process performance problems, new products to introduce, new markets to expand and many other important business decisions.

Data Analysts interact with users and business leaders to understand how data-driven changes take effect, to process how data can be used to improve products, services, software, and hardware. They also articulate those ideas but also keep in mind technological feasibility and financial and functional efficiency. Depending on the role, and company interests, you might work with data sets to improve products, hardware, tools, software, services, or process.

Data Analyst Role

Data analyst is a role where one can contribute to an organization’s strategy, its offerings, its revenue, and its margin. It offers a great opportunity to interact with many stakeholders. Data analysts work as a bridge between business stakeholders and data scientists. A Data Analyst is an important part of any project team. Acting as the key interface between various stakeholders and making change happen based on insights derived from data.

Some of the core responsibilities of a data analyst, irrespective of their industry are:

  • Define Business Problem or Opportunity

  • Identify and Understand the Stakeholders information needs

  • Formulate Research Questions
  • Plan Business Data Analytics Approach

  • Select Techniques for Identifying the Research Questions

  • Plan Data Collection

  • Determine the Data Sets

  • Collect Data

  • Validate Data

  • Select Techniques for Sourcing Data

  • Develop Data Analysis Plan

  • Prepare Data

  • Explore Data

  • Perform Data Analysis

  • Assess the Analytics and System Approach Taken

  • Select Techniques for Analyzing Data

  • Identify and Understand the Stakeholders

  • Plan Stakeholder Communication

  • Determine Communication Needs of Stakeholders

  • Derive Insights from Data

  • Document and Communicate Findings from Completed Analysis

  • Select Techniques for Interpreting and Reporting Results

  • Recommend Action

  • Develop Implementation Plan

  • Manage Change

  • Influence Business Decision-Making

  • Understand Organizational strategy

  • Define Talent strategy

  • Define Data strategy

  • Select Techniques for Guiding Company-Level Strategy for Business Analytics

Data Analyst Qualifications

When it comes to data analyst qualification, a bachelor’s degree is desirable. Organizations may prefer candidates in business administration or related degrees for entry-level positions, but it is not really mandatory. A bachelor’s degree in business administration includes knowledge in communication, accounting, business, law, and other specialized streams. Often employers also prefer candidates with a master’s degree in mathematics or statistics.

The most popular route into data analysis without a degree is to transfer from a role in a related field. Many successful data analysts have started their careers in any department of the organization like - business management, human resources, information technology, or related fields and gain work experience. Once they have gained enough professional experience, candidates can apply for entry-level positions as data analysts. 

Along with a degree and experience, getting a Data Analyst certification carries a lot of weight with organizations and also helps the candidate to acquire the requisite knowledge and meet their professional goal. Certification can improve overall performance, remove uncertainty and widen market opportunities. A certified data analyst has a broader perspective of the data analysis techniques and approaches. It also shows commitment, as preparing for these certifications and clearing the exam is not an easy task. Organizations also recognize individuals for the hard work and commitment which the candidate has put into it.

Data Analyst Skills

Data analyst skills can be grouped into 3 broad categories: Process Skills, Tools and Technology and Behavioral skills.

Process skills

  • Planning and Monitoring.
  • Elicitation and Collaboration.
  • Problem definition
  • Data collection
  • Data analysis
  • Data visualization
  • Insight communication

Tools and Technology skills

  • Data Base structures
  • Excel
  • SQL
  • Visualization tools such as Tableau

Behavioral skills

  • Communication Skill
  • Negotiation Skill
  • Facilitation Skill
  • Analytical thinking Skill
  • Problem-solving Skill
  • Decision-Making Skill
  • Ability to see the bigger picture
  • Ability to appreciate and empathize
  • Ability to influence without authority
  • Good interpersonal skills

Data Analyst Certifications

A huge advantage that any data analyst can give to his/her career is to get certified. Data analyst certification can help data analysts stand out in the field and provide proof of competence. Market research has shown that certified data analysts earn much higher salaries than those who are not certified. Besides higher salary, the other benefits of doing a data analysis certification are:

  • Certification help improve overall performance.
  • They remove uncertainty and widen market opportunities.
  • A certified data analyst has a broader perspective of the data analysis techniques and approaches and demonstrates better capabilities in principle and practice.
  • Employers show increased confidence when hiring a certified data analyst as it also shows commitment, as preparing for these certifications and clearing the exam is not an easy task.

There are multiple data analysis certifications. Their acceptability, qualification criteria, and fees vary widely. Some of the points which you need to consider before choosing which data analyst certification is correct for you are:

  • How much experience do you have as a data analyst?
  • What is your employment status?
  • The popularity and recognition of a certification

IIBA recently launched a Certification in Business Data Analytics. This is a level 2 certification intended for those with 2-3 years of experience and those who are experienced with core BA skills. Earning this certification informs employers of your passion for and competencies in performing business analysis on analytics initiatives. The certification helps identify skilled business data analytics professionals to organizations seeking these in-demand skills.


BA Career Guide 2023


Data Analyst Training

Data Analyst Boot camps

Data analyst boot camps are designed to teach new skills and improve the current skill set, unlike certifications, which are there to prove the skills you already have. Boot camps can be full-fledged, instructor-led courses that run for weeks or months at a time or traditional workshops held over the course of a few days. You can find a boot camp to suit your needs irrespective of your preferred learning style.

Bootcamp courses are offered both in-person and online. Organizations bring boot camps to the company to run a four-day workshop. Many boot camps are free but depending on the program some might require a subscription fee or a one-time fee. The one-time fee ranges from $2000 to $5000. Bootcamps are designed to give hands-on experience and help you build your resume and portfolio — some even offer career guidance and mentorship.

Become a proficient Business Data Analyst and Stay Ahead of the Curve with Adaptive's Data Analytics Bootcamp.

Master’s programs

There are plenty of programs designed to provide a formal data analyst education. If you have a business degree or a computer science degree, you might want to look at a master’s in data analysis.

Data analysis learning can be expedited by undergoing a formal training. Many colleges, universities, professional training institutes provide structured training on data analysis. 

Data Analyst Salary

Data analyst salary is determined by various factors such as location, qualification, experience level, and job specialization. For example, data analysts' average salary in the Asian region is not as high as the average salary in North America. Analysts in the UK who specialize in data processing may receive better compensation. Compensation also depends on the company you are working for. Many prominent analytics companies specializing in Financial Analytics profiles usually tend to pay higher entry-level salaries. Even though many consulting and services firms might pay you a lower basic compensation, they make it up by offering a lucrative bonus at the end of the year.

Worldwide average salary ranges for data analysts based on experience:

  • Entry Level: $40,000 to $70,000

  • Mid-Career: $55,000 to $95,000

  • Experienced: $70,000 - $150,000