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What Does a Data Analyst Do & How to Pursue a Career in Data Analysis

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Businesses are confronted with a range of dilemmas on a daily basis. Which customers should they target, what are their customer’s main pain points, and how can they be solved? They also want to know which marketing strategies and ad campaigns will generate the best results for their business. A data analyst can help to answer these questions.

According to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, data science is one of the world’s 20 most popular and highest-paying occupations

Furthermore, the industry is expected to witness a growth of 31% over the next 10 years, so you can be confident that data analysts will be in high demand. 

So what does a data analyst do exactly — what does this job entail? And how can you become a data analyst? We will cover all this and more below.

data analyst

What is a Data Analyst?

Data analysis is the process of extracting crucial information from data so that a business or organisation can make informed decisions. The process involves a number of steps: identifying the type of data required, analysing this data, and drawing conclusions. Based on all of this, a data analyst can make recommendations, including actionable steps, to help the organisation achieve its goals.

In essence, a data analyst’s job is about working out how data sets could be used to solve problems, rather like a detective. However, this job is much more than just collecting data – it also involves understanding and explaining how this information affects business performance.

Some of the key tasks of a data analyst can include:

  • Extracting data from multiple sources
  • Cleaning data to ensure everything is accurate and relevant
  • Using technical tools to interpret data
  • Identifying the latest trends in data sets
  • Delivering detailed reports to management
  • Working with the IT team, management, and other departments to develop goals and strategies
  • Managing databases
  • Identifying and resolving data problems

The field of data analysis provides a range of excellent opportunities to professionals looking to advance their careers in an industry that’s expected to grow rapidly in the future.


Read our alumni testimonials and see how studying data helped them advance their career.

How to Become a Data Analyst

Data analyst roles span many industries, including healthcare, finance, government, science, and logistics

Here are some key steps to take if you’re interested in joining this exciting field.

Gain a Relevant Qualification

To work as a data analyst, you’ll need an undergraduate degree in a relevant field at a minimum. Most employers look for a bachelor’s in maths, computer science, or business analytics as a prerequisite.

Better still, a master’s qualification with a focus on data, like EDHEC’s Master’s of Science in Data Management & Business Analytics, will help you to stand out as an exceptional candidate. With more professionals studying data, a specific qualification like this is likely to become even more essential in the future.

Build the Necessary Technical Skills

Hiring managers look for candidates with technical skills. Given that data science is all about collecting, analysing, and using data sets to improve the financial performance of a business, it’s important to have key skills that relate to these areas.

Some of the common technical skills required for data analyst roles are:

  • Data cleaning and visualisation
  • Statistical knowledge to avoid logical errors
  • Knowledge of dashboards and comprehensive reports
  • Domain knowledge
  • Python programming
  • SQL
  • Statistics and maths
  • Microsoft Excel and database management tools

A combination of soft and hard skills is crucial: in addition to hard skills, you should also be strong in communication, problem-solving, teamwork, and strategy development.

Develop a Work Portfolio

An excellent work portfolio will also help you to secure your dream data analyst role, as it can be invaluable in conveying your skills to recruitment managers. Obviously, it can be difficult to create a portfolio if you have limited work experience in the field, but some ways to build a portfolio as a fresher include coursework, group projects, and internships.

Learn the Art of Presenting Your Findings

While data science is primarily about technical skills, the way you present your analysis to stakeholders is also crucial. The data is most useful to organisations when it’s presented in the right way and with actionable insights. Therefore, it’s important to know how to convey your message and use the right visuals to back up your insights.

Gain Certifications

In addition to a relevant degree, industry-specific certifications can help you to launch your career as a data analyst. There are a range of certifications offered by professional organisations as well as tech companies such as Google and Microsoft, which can help to supplement your education and demonstrate your skills, especially if you lack specific work experience in the field.


Take the First Step Towards Becoming a Data Analyst Today

Are you ready to pursue a career as a data analyst now you have a clear picture of what a data analyst does? Signing up for a relevant course at a reputable institution like EDHEC will not only help you develop the necessary skills and gain an essential qualification, but you’ll also build your network and potentially make connections that could help you to launch your career in the field.


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