How to Become a Data Analyst
Posted on October 2, 2020 by Rav Ahuja
The demand for data professionals like Data Analysts is booming. This is a direct result of more and more organizations becoming data driven and leveraging data to streamline their operations, compete better, and improve customer experiences.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the thriving job market for data analysts will see a 20% growth until 2028, and the job site Indeed.com reports the average salary of a Data Analyst in United States is US $75,185.
It’s a great time to become a data analyst. But how can you gain the skills and experience to break into the field? In this article we’ll discuss:
- What is Data Analytics?
- Do you have the qualities to be successful as a Data Analyst?
- What skills do you need to learn to become a Data Analyst?
- How do you become a Data Analyst?
- The easy way to become a Data Analyst with the help of IBM and Coursera
“The demand for data analysts is stronger than ever, but many people who are interested in this career don’t have the required skill set or a formal degree in the field. In-demand jobs shouldn’t be limited to a select few,” said Betty Vandenbosch, Chief Content Officer at Coursera. “The new IBM Data Analyst Professional Certificate helps learners without previous education or work experience enter a career in data analytics. We’re proud to partner with an industry leader like IBM to prepare learners around the world for these jobs of the future.”
1. What is Data Analytics?
To help answer this first question, let’s watch this video and listen to a few data experts talk about what Data Analytics means for them.
Although these experts explain that Data Analytics can describe a variety of tasks and skills, a few common themes include: understanding the problem, identifying and collecting the right datasets, cleaning and preparing the data for analysis, analyzing and mining insights, visualizing the results, and presenting your findings.
2. Do you have the qualities to be successful as a Data Analyst?
To understand what qualities and traits are necessary to become a Data Analyst, let’s watch this next video and listen to the views of a few practicing data professionals on this topic.
A good Data Analyst needs to have comfort working with numbers, a curious and inquisitive nature, attention to detail, an ability to spot patterns and trends, the mindset to dig deeper, an enjoyment of storytelling, and the courage and drive to learn new things. You can become a successful Data Analyst if you possess these qualities, regardless of your work experience or educational background.
3. What skills do you need to learn to become a Data Analyst?
In the previous video the experts, in addition to qualities, also talked about the skills of a Data Analyst. While qualities are things that you should already possess, skills can be developed with a learning approach that’s right for you.
A Data Analyst needs to develop both soft skills and technical skills. The soft skills include presentation and communication skills, teamwork and collaboration, becoming research-oriented, and digging deeper. Technical skills for Data Analytics include understanding the data ecosystem and tools, using spreadsheets like Excel, wrangling and cleaning data, creating visualizations and dashboards with software like Tableau and Cognos, becoming proficient in querying databases and data warehouses using SQL, and knowing a programming language like Python or R.
4. How do you become a Data Analyst?
Let’s look at some of the options for developing the skills to become a Data Analyst. The traditional approach has been to complete a college or university degree in this field. While you can earn a higher starting salary by getting a degree, many people are unable to follow this option for a variety of reasons – they may not have the pre-requisite academic background to enter a degree program, it might be too expensive, or you may already be working full time and not have the luxury of taking the time off.
Another option is to take online courses and certificate programs. These can cost a lot less than degree programs, can be finished in a shorter amount of time, and can be more flexible in terms of time and effort involved and when you choose to work on them.
5. The easy way to become a Data Analyst with the help of IBM and Coursera
IBM recently partnered with Coursera to create a self-paced, online Professional Certificate to prepare learners with job ready skills for an entry level Data Analytics position. IBM and Coursera worked with a number of industry experts to analyze the tasks performed by Data Analysts, and the skills required to be proficient in this domain, and with the help of top-notch instructors put together a step by step 8-course IBM Data Analyst Professional Certificate.
“We have had a great success with IBM Data Science and AI Professional Certificates on Coursera,” said Leon Katsnelson, Director and CTO IBM Developer Skills Network. “So, when Coursera shared with us their vision for helping people without college degrees skill up for better careers, we knew we had to do it. Learners in the IBM Data Analyst Professional Certificate program can expect to gain real-world, hands-on skills for working with data to get ready for the next step in their careers.”
These courses cover all the major skills required by Junior or Associate Data Analysts, and take a very applied and practice-oriented approach to learning. Every module in every course except the introduction includes hands-on labs that allow you to apply the skills learned to real-world data problems. Every course includes a hands-on final project or assignment, in addition to the capstone project at the end of the program.
This is a self-paced program, which means you can choose to study on your own schedule – part-time, full-time, evenings, weekends, or whenever is convenient for you. You can finish the entire program in 3-4 months while studying 10-12 hours a week, or 7-9 months if spending 3-4 hours a week. And if life gets in the way, you can pause and come back after a few months.
And, best of all, you can try out the program for free and ensure it is the right fit for your needs and learning style before committing to it. And if you decide to pursue it, the program costs US$39 per month – significantly less than pursuing a traditional degree.