Editor’s note: This is the third article in a weekly series looking at the top jobs in data science and analytics. The first two pieces looked at data engineers and data scientists. This article looks at the demand for and opportunities available to the data analyst.
Job title: Data analyst
Reports to: A data analyst, similar to the data scientist, will often have different functions within different businesses in varying industries, so whom they report into can and often will differ depending on the type of business.
Typically, a data analyst would report into a lead data analyst or an analytics manager, however in smaller businesses they may report directly into a chief analytics office, or a vice president/head of analytics.
Due to the nature of the role of a data analyst, they may also report into the person in charge of the business function/department for which they sit, such as a data analyst within marketing analytics reporting intro a chief marketing officer, or the CFO leading an analyst within financial analytics, for example.
Demand for this role: Given the fact that a data analyst can be deployed in almost every business function, from analyzing potential investment targets to HR analytics, and from looking at a company’s financial performance or tracking consumer behavior for more accurate marketing, there is a definite and increasing demand for candidates in this field. Similar to the data scientist, every business and every function within a business can benefit in a number of ways from having a strong analytics practice, and there is huge value to be added by these candidates.
Top industries hiring for this job: As mentioned, the data analyst can add huge amounts of value to a business through the deep insights that they can provide, so every major industry would be interested in these skills. A Hedge fund or prop shop would use their skills to make vastly important investment decisions, whilst a marketing business would utilize an analyst to track consumer’s behavior across websites for more successful marketing campaigns, which again would differ from a political organization looking to predict voter behavior, for example.
Responsibilities with this job: The responsibility of a data analyst will differ depending on the organization in which they are employed, or the function within the business. However, in its simplest form the general role of a data analyst is to provide deep insights to help businesses make decisions. The insights that a data analyst can provide will be utilized in multiple different ways, as discussed above.
Required background for this job: With a data analyst, most companies would consider candidates with a Bachelor’s degree in a quantitative field such as computer science or statistics, however many organizations organizations would require a minimum of a Master’s degree. In specialist areas, a more specific degree would also be required. In the finance space, for example, a degree in financial analytics specifically or quantitative methods would be necessary, and a data analyst within the healthcare field would set themselves apart with a degree in biostatistics or bioinformatics, for example.
Skills requires for this job (technical, business and personal): A typical data analyst will have multiple tools and technologies in their portfolio, namely some or all of the following; Tableau, R, SQL or SAS, among others. A natural interest in statistics and mathematics would also be hugely advantageous given the nature of your responsibilities, and an ability to collaborate with multiple business functions will also be attractive to employers.
Compensation potential for this job: A fresh graduate with a Bachelors or Master’s degree in the New York City job market could realistically expect an entry salary of $60,000 to $80,000, however this can vary substantially depending on the industry. The finance industry is renowned for higher salaries, and the data analyst will pay testament to this.
Salaries can typically reach around $120,000 to $140,000 for an analyst with around 4-5 years of experience, and a candidate with 10 or more years could realistically expect around $160,000.
Success in this role defined by: Success in this can be defined by having the ability to provide deep and intelligent insights that will allow the business to make important decisions. In the finance space, helping the firm to make successful investments would be indicative of success, whilst allowing your business to grow revenue through improved marketing campaigns built around your insights will also be considered a success, and helping your employer to improve its profitability through streamlining business processes would also be important for a data analyst, for example.
Advancement opportunities for this job: Career progression for a data analyst can go in a variety of directions. Typically, you could move into a lead analyst position and pursue that to reach vice president, head of or director of analytics, or a chief analytics officer.
You may also look to move into data science and pursue a career into predictive modeling and machine learning, or an analyst in a specific field may look to broaden their experience in that field. A data analyst in marketing may choose to progress into head of marketing or chief marketing officer, while someone in the finance space may choose to pursue a career as a CFO, for example.
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