How to become a data analyst? That is the question that more and more people these days seem to have. It is no secret that data analysis (and the field of data science, in general) is a lucrative and high-paying career - one look at the job market will leave you without a doubt of that.
However, simply deciding that you want to be a data analyst isn’t enough - the data analyst career path is filled with different requirements, and it might become easy to get lost in all of them. That’s why today, in this tutorial, we’ll talk about all of the intricacies of how to become a data analyst with no experience.
Table of Contents
Understanding Data Analysis
Let’s start things off by discussing the profession itself. You may or may not know the general information already, but whatever the case might be, a short overview will be helpful either way.
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So, what is a data analyst? A short answer would be that a data analyst is a person who deals with large amounts of information. One of the key elements on how to become a data analyst is that this person needs to know how to translate the data (numbers) into common, everyday English, and then present this information to their employers. Now, let’s take a closer look at this career path.
Data analysis is one of the two big professions that fall under the umbrella of data science. The other profession - data engineering - is seen as the (quote on quote) “advanced” version of data analysis. This is because while data analysts only need to analyze the data and then present it to the people in charge, data engineers also have to do their research, both before and after the data analysis part.
In general, a data analyst needs great critical and logical thinking skills, advanced knowledge of maths and IT, the ability to think fast and make quick, yet effective decisions, and a few other skills. Since the data analyst career path is so sought-after, there’s a lot of competition for a single job position. This means that if you truly want to know how to become a data analyst, you’ll have to put in the hard work to stand out of the crowd to be noticed for your skills.
Why Do You Want to Be a Data Analyst?
Besides the fact that you might be a numbers' person, and the data analysis career path is the only one you can imagine for yourself, there are two more reasons why people start thinking of how to become a data analyst.
First of all, job stability. Whether we’d be talking about data science, computer science, or the field of IT, in general - all of these fields are famous for offering and providing some of the best jobs in the market stability-wise. If you manage to find a way how to become a data analyst in a growing and progressive company, AND you are willing to put in the hard work and effort required for you to grow, you can be sure that you’ll be able to hold that job for a long time.
Furthermore, data analysis offers a great salary. According to Glassdoor.com, the average annual salary of a data analyst should be around $62,400, or roughly $5200 per month. That’s a great salary to begin with, and there are plenty of opportunities to increase it further if you are dedicated enough.
So, with all of that said, you can now have a better idea of why data analysis career path is so popular, in general. While it isn’t easy and requires a lot of time to truly master, the job perks that you can receive afterward make it all worth it.
How Do You Become a Data Analyst?
Needless to say, there are a lot of different things and criteria that you should meet to be able to qualify for the data analyst job position. However, some things are more important and concrete than others - they are usually called “data analyst qualifications”. We’ll cover three of these criteria - education, experience, and motivation. Once we’re done, you’ll have a clear idea of how to become a data analyst.
Data Analyst Education Requirements
Education is the very first important aspect that needs to be “in place” when you’re thinking about the data analyst qualifications. Proper education is essential for people data analysts - without it, no employer is going even to consider hiring you.
If you want to turn towards the field of data analysis, your best bet is to choose an area that’s closely related to math for your bachelor’s/master's degree or personal studies. Math is going to be a super-important part of your career. After all, your whole job will revolve around analyzing numbers and then translating them into English.
The most frequent data that you are likely to encounter are sales figures and customer action reports. So, numbers are going to be where you focus all of your attention into - that’s why math is so important!
All of that being said, formal education isn’t necessarily the only way to go. Although it surely is the norm, an increasing amount of people are turning towards individual learning methods (i.e., online courses, tutors, even YouTube videos). And even better, nowadays, you can also find scholarships that can help you get courses if you are not financially able to do so.
These days, employers seem to value a person’s dedication and responsibility more than anything else in the workplace. This is probably because many companies have special training periods for newcomers - you can teach a person data analysis. Still, it’s a lot more difficult (frankly, impossible) to “teach” responsibility and passion.
All of the statements mentioned above are especially true for newly established, western mentality-upholding startups. If you’re planning to work in a company like that, keep in mind that your character traits are equally as (or even more) important as your data analysis skills.
So, to sum up, education is a crucial part of learning how to become a data analyst (whatever that education might be). The more time and energy you put into studying the field, the more chances you’ll have to start your data analyst career path successfully.
How to become a data analyst with no experience? Is it even possible? This is a common question mostly because a lot of these people are recent university or college graduates who are looking for their first, stable job.
Let’s get one thing straight - experience is essential. Whether you’re a self-learner or a holder of a Master’s degree in Maths - without experience, it becomes complicated to be able to find a well-paying job. But that’s actually where a lot of people make the big mistake - they aim for the best positions without having any experience, and then get surprised when they are not accepted.
The secret of how to become a data analyst with no experience is pretty simple - start slow! If you’re looking for your first job, aim for a less-paying, but more available job position. As it was mentioned in the “Education” section, many employers nowadays are ready to train and teach new employees all of the essentials of working within the company. You do not need to be an expert in the field of data analysis to receive a stable job - all that it takes is a strong passion and willingness to start slow!
That being said, you can actually “boost” your data analysis qualifications by participating in various activities related to the field. University events, certified online courses, special groups dedicated to learning data analysis, or even individual projects - every single thing that you do adds up! Experience doesn’t necessarily have to be related to past jobs - many different things can increase your data analysis experience!
Motivation is a bit more subjective than the other two requirements listed above. You can easily measure a person’s education level and their skill and experience, but things become a bit more complicated when we talk about motivation. However, that being said, it is just as important of a factor as the previous two - let me elaborate.
If you’re an employer, you probably know how easy it is to spot and distinguish motivated and passionate people from unmotivated ones. Some potential employees light up as soon as the topic of data analysis arises - it is evident that they are excited about how to become a data analyst, and dedicated to the area of expertise, and practice their skills every single day. On the other hand, it’s effortless to spot people who don’t even really know what they’re doing in the job interview in the first place. They might have seen a job ad somewhere on the internet, and thought to themselves - “ya, I have a degree in math, and I like to analyze things - why not!”.
Motivation has to be something stable and lasting - you can’t just “be motivated” until you get the job, and then regret it every single day from here on out. Without passion, your results will lack - this, in turn, will lead to underwhelming job performance, low pay and might even result in you getting fired, altogether.
To put things very simple - if you want to know how to become a data analyst, make sure that this is truly a career path that you’re passionate about, and are willing to dedicate yourself to.
Data Analyst Career Path - Is It For You?
Whether you’re looking how to become a data analyst, or how to get into the field of data science, in general, one thing’s for sure - without proper education and a whole lot of motivation, it will be tough to find a stable, well-paying and perk-providing job. Experience is important, but it is not a deal-breaker - if you’re motivated and passionate enough, the experience won’t be an obstacle in your data analyst career path.
Remember - always spend some time researching the most recent industry trends to “keep up with the times”. Take courses, go to lectures, participate in online groups and seminars - every single minute spent learning about data science will increase your chance of scoring that job and doing great at it!