What is a career in data?

The best role to start a career in data, is an a analyst. This 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.

What skills do I need?

Here are the top four:

1. SQL

First and foremost, learning SQL (Structured Query Language) is an essential skill for any data role. As the gold standard data language for most relational database management systems like MySQL, Oracle, and Microsoft SQL, SQL is something Data Analysts need to accomplish their day-to-day tasks. SQL is used to extract and organize data from a database, making it usable for analysis.

2. Microsoft Excel

One of the most popular spreadsheet solutions, Microsoft Excel is another tool Data Analysts use frequently in their work, so learning the functions of Excel is an important skill for anyone taking on a data analysis job. It’s especially helpful for making data more accessible to non-technical specialists and keeping things organized once some baseline extraction and analysis has been done, or when you’re working with smaller datasets. Excel is a super useful tool for basic data visualization and some simple manipulation.

3. Data management

Data management is the structures and processes through which data is stored, accessed, and used by various systems, people, and software. It’s the tools and connections (sometimes called a data stack) that move data in and out of your data warehouse, keep it secure, give it structure, and make it usable. Especially for a company who wants to hire a Data Analyst as their first data hire, they should look for someone with exceptional data management skills.

4. Excellent communication

Finally, every Data Analyst must be an exceptional communicator. From understanding the company needs to sourcing the correct information to sharing it effectively and accurately, communication is an essential skill for every junior analyst. This includes written and verbal communication as well as narrative development, storytelling, supportive visuals, and critical thinking. It’s very important that data experts can share their hard work and knowledge with the business and the stakeholders.

Career Opportunities in Data

Below is a list of some of the many different roles that you may encounter when searching for or considering data analysis.

  • Business analyst: analyses business-specific data.

  • Management reporting: reports data analytics to management on business functions.

  • Corporate strategy analyst: this type of role will focus on analysing company-wide data and advising management on strategic direction. This role may also be focused on mergers and acquisitions.

  • Compensation and benefits analyst: usually part of a human resources department that analyses employee compensation and benefits data.

  • Budget analyst: focuses on the analysis and reporting of a specified budget.

  • Sales analytics: focuses on sales data that helps to support, improve, or optimize the sales process.

  • Web analytics: analyses a dashboard of analytics around a specific page, topic focus, or website comprehensively.

  • Fraud analytics: monitors and analyses fraud data.

  • Business product analyst: focuses on analysing the attributes and characteristics of a product as well as responsibility for advising management on the optimal pricing of a product based on market factors.

  • Social media data analyst: social media and growing tech companies rely on data to build, monitor, and advance the technology and offerings that social media platforms rely on.

  • Machine learning analyst: machine learning is a developing technology that involves programming and feeding machines to make cognitive decisions. Machine learning analysts may work on a variety of aspects including data preparation, data feeds, analysis of results, and more.

The Career Journey

Junior Data Roles

Salaries: 18k-30k

Experience Required: Level 2-4

Mid Level Roles

Salaries: 40k-70k

Experience Required: 2 to 5 years

Senior to Management

Salaries: 70k-120k

Your Learning Journey