CAREERS IN DATA ANALYSIS
Data analysis is a very important skill in today’s market, but proper data analysts are few in number. So, even at entry level, data analysts have huge salaries and exciting perks.
Data analysis jobs can be found in a variety of companies and industries. Basically any firm or company that uses data would require a data analyst for reading through, managing, interpreting and analysing the huge amount of data. Data analysts have important jobs in a company which include using data to make investment decisions, target customers, assess risks, and decide on capital allocation for the company or it’s products.
DAILY WORK OF A DATA ANALYST
No matter which industry we look into, we will find data analysts working on some kind of data or the other to help in the development and assessment of that specific company or product. Data analysts take huge heaps of data and look into it for possible weak spots, make statistical and hypothetical predictions, which are usually accurate, based on trends they are studying, and draw out conclusions to help their employers make better and informed decisions.
Which career path you follow as a data analyst depends a lot on your employer. Data analysts work on one of the world’s most famous financial areas, Wall Street at big investment banks and private equity firms. They also work in the healthcare industry, marketing, and retail. They work with different data, but their sole purpose is to analyse all these different data. In short, data analysts are everywhere – at large insurance companies, credit bureaus, technology firms, and in almost any industry you can think of. Even big tech giants like Google, Facebook and Microsoft analyse big data for their purposes. They employ data analysts for these and also a variety of other purposes which include advertising and internal analysis along with a great deal of user analysis.
In financial institutions like investment banks and such, management track is often favored by many beginners. Having proven yourself capable and responsible among your peers, you may be selected to lead the next group of hires. Prove yourself capable in management, and you could become the next department head, or even the vice-president.
Sometimes, data analysts can also be working as information scientists, and work with the company’s proprietary database. Many information scientists also work with core database infrastructures, which helps them to gain skills which can be also applied in other technical areas like data infrastructure building and development. The government sector is one which relies hugely on data and information gathering, mining and analysis, and so they need a lot of data scientists. Insurance and healthcare companies also need data analysts to work on deep data infrastructures that help their assessment and working a lot.
Technology companies too need data scientists and analysts as technology is constantly changing and evolving. These dynamic and sudden changes affect and challenge the company too – they have to constantly tackle new challenges and pursue new market opportunities. In such companies, data scientists who excel in their existing roles and prove to be better are often chosen for promotion if some new departments are created or positions are vacated due to any reason. So, if you are really good, you might be able to lead others and also allows you to take ownership of segments in a company.
Data scientists or analysts have a dynamic skill set, they are good working with details and numbers. They are also confident, organised and good at multitasking. They are good at working on data programs and data flows. It is necessary for them to have good presentation skills, as they often have to present their analysis regularly, either visually or orally, as may be required.
THE DATA ANALYSIS SECTOR – AN OVERVIEW
There is an abundance of jobs in the data analytics sector, and they usually come with high salaries and exciting perks. Also, there are numerous career paths as a data analyst. There are a wide variety of opportunities for a data analyst in various industries and companies. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) offers several different classifications for salaries and growth.
This category is the most widespread classification of data scientist. This can include business analyst, management analyst, investment analyst and basically any other data scientist who keeps a record of the financial transactions and assets of a company. According to BLS data, the average hourly salary of a Financial Analyst is around $48.55, with an average annual salary of $100,900. Financial analysts in New York earn the most, with an hourly average salary of about $66, and according to BLS predictions, this class of workers is supposed to grow at a faster rate than the average rate of 11% by 2026.
A second BLS often looked to is market research analysts, because they have a fairly high salary, sometimes even competing that of financial analysts. Average hourly wage of professionals in this category is around $34.11, with an average annual salary of $70,960. The BLS also expects a huge growth from this category with a growth rate of 23% in the next six years.
BIG DATA AND MACHINE LEARNING
With the evolution of the business world, there have been major changes in the use of data, with demand for big data technology, big data analysis, and machine learning being fields with the maximum growth. These types of big data technologies are being integrated into data analysis courses and programmes in various major universities across the world. Though this is a fairly new field, it has grown at an incredible rate, and it would not be wrong to describe this growth as an explosion.
In India, a few major colleges and universities offer bachelors programme in Data Science or Data Analytics. Beyond a bachelors degree programme, many colleges also offer masters degrees in these fields and there are various fields one can specialise in as a data analytics professional or student. If you are more interested in becoming a skilled data analyst, then there are various certified online courses available too from various Indian and international institutes on platforms like Coursera, Udemy and edX amongst many others. Added to these courses and studying, practising and trying out different sample data available can help you hone your skills until you come at par with a professional. Skills can be best learned with practice, hard work and perseverance, but you would usually need an actual degree too for pursuing you career as a data analyst.
POSSIBLE CAREER PATHS AS A DATA ANALYST
There are several possible jobs available in the field of data analytics. You might choose something that pertains to your interest, or the specific type of data you like to study about or analyse. These are some of the popular options you might want to choose from or come across before you have actually made your choice :
- BUSINESS ANALYST: Business analysts work on data specific to a particular business or businesses.
- MANAGEMENT REPORTING: This involves reporting the management or the concerned people about business functions and working.
- CORPORATE STRATEGY ANALYST: A corporate strategy analyst’s role focuses on analysing company wide data and advising management regarding strategy direction or strategy changes. This role can be focused on mergers and acquisitions.
- COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS ANALYST: This role is usually a part of the Human Resource Department, and the people in this role decide and calculate the employee compensation and benefit data.
- BUDGET ANALYST: People in this role focus on analysing and reporting a specified budget.
- INSURANCE UNDERWRITING ANALYST: They analyse individual, company and industry data for decisions on insurance plans.
- ACTUARY: They analyse mortality, accident, sickness, disability and retirement rates to create probability tables, risk forecasting and liability planning for insurance companies.
- SALES ANALYTICS: Their study focuses on sales data that helps to support, improve or optimize the sales process.
- WEB ANALYTICS: They analyse a dashboard of analytics around a specific page, topic focus or website comprehensively.
- FRAUD ANALYTICS: Their main role is to monitor and analyse fraud data.
- CREDIT ANALYTICS: Credit companies offer jobs in several types of analytics and information science in several areas which include fields like credit reporting, credit monitoring, lending risk, lending approvals, and lending analysis.
- BUSINESS PRODUCT ANALYST: A group of business product analysts focus on analysing the attributes and characteristics of a product. They are also responsible for advising and suggesting optimal pricing of a particular product or service, based on market factors like it’s availability, competition, needs and a lot more.
- SOCIAL MEDIA DATA ANALYST: Social media and growing tech companies relies a lot on data to build, monitor and advance the technology and offerings that social media platforms rely heavily on.
- MACHINE LEARNING ANALYST: Machine Learning is a developing technology where one programmes and codes a computer to learn from examples to be able to make its own decisions. Machine learning analysts work on a variety of aspects of the process like data preparation, data feed , result analysis, and more.
DO YOU HAVE A DATA ANALYST IN YOU?
Most companies and industries prefer highly qualified and learned students from a data analysis programme from good universities with a strong grade point average and high ranking in class. Such qualifications and status in college or university would easily lead you to an entry-level data analysis position. Sometimes, even a less seasoned degree in mathematics, statistics and economics might land you in a data analytics job for some firms or companies. Even though the job is entry level, you would be earning a lot more than many experienced professionals in several other fields, because of the high demand of data scientists.
Jobs in this field usually come with a very high salary, and that may be as much as $100,000 annually for a fresher out of college, and it might become twice or thrice depending on your seniority in the field and your experience. You would gain experience by working in an entry level job, or by working in some related field, such as investment analysis or stock market analysis. However, one of the most important thing in your resume while applying for a data analyst job is your educational qualifications. Since this is a highly paid job, and since the position is very important for the company, employers need to be very sure of the candidate’s skills and abilities. However, sometimes, if you show promising skills and abilities, you might be hired without strong emphasis on your academic abilities or marks. Sometimes, people without a math related field of study might get the job too, but you would have to prove your worth to be selected for the job.
Along with the job comes a variety of perks too for you to enjoy. However given the importance of your work and deadlines for presentations you would have to present, you would sometimes have to work even during weekends. Leaves are usually very seldom due to the importance of the work. If you are motivated and have a love for numbers and statistics, this might be the best possible career choice for you.