How to Become a Data Analyst (with or Without a Degree)

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Due to increasing demand and high-earning potential for Data analysts today, many individuals are planning to enter this field. Whether with or without a degree, this article will help you know what crucial steps you must take to become a Data Analyst in 2023.

How do I become a data analyst? A step-by-step guide

Becoming a Data Analyst requires you to be a problem solver and embark on a journey to solve your organization’s issues. Given below are seven steps to becoming a Data Analyst. 

How to Become a Data Analyst

1. Get a foundational education.

People who are entirely new to the domain of Data Analytics should start by gaining knowledge of the basic fundamental concepts involved to get an overview of how this field works. Also, you will develop an understanding of all the necessary skills crucial to get Entry-level Jobs in Data Analysis.

If you don’t have a bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Data Analysis, you can learn fundamentals through online certification courses, self-study, or practical boot camps. Every Data Analysis process involves different steps you must implement logically – Data collection, organizing, management, cleaning, mining, visualization, and analysis. 

Study the overview of which fundamentals Data Analysis concepts are used with each step. Undergraduate programs can make you eligible for the role of Data Analyst – Computer Science, Statistics, Data Analytics, and Information Systems.

2. Build your technical skills.

Every aspiring Data Analyst must possess technical skills to get an entry-level job in their chosen sector. Whether you pursue a professional degree, online course, or boot camp, ensure to develop the following technical skills.

  • Grasp basic concepts of programming languages like R and Python and spreadsheets tools like Excel.
  • Basic understanding of standard SQL queries.
  • Practical working experience with commonly used Data Analytics visualization tools like Plotly, Tableau, PowerBI, and Matplotlib.
  • Experience with some top data analysis platforms such as Google and Adobe Analytics.

You must not need to learn all software tools and programming languages. You can get command of the listed technical skills depending on the industry and Data Analyst job eligibility requirements. SQL is crucial for all Data Analyst jobs but not necessarily Python.

3. Work on projects with real data.

Unless you practice technical skills on real data, there’s no use in learning theoretical skills. The actual game in Data Analytics starts when you draw insights from real-time information or raw data. Data collection is the first step in Data Analysis.

If you enroll in Online courses and boot camps, choose the ones with live Projects to gain hands-on experience with practical analytical skills. You can pick different free data sets to create your projects if you are involved in self-study. Work on practice projects that include different data analysis phases: Market research to identify the problem, collecting and cleaning data, statistical modeling, visualization, and data analysis.

4. Develop a portfolio of your work.

Save every practical project you work on to create a portfolio. Well-structured portfolio demonstrating your technical and soft skills would increase your probability of getting selected by hiring employers. The portfolio is the best medium to showcase all learned skills.

Ensure to include all projects that prove your command of technical software tools with visualization skills. Highlight which insights you have derived from the collected data. Take assistance from your mentors or the internet to get ideas on building an impressive portfolio in Data Analytics.

5. Practice presenting your findings.

Imagine you have worked long hours to gain data-driven insights but need more confidence to communicate your discovery through compelling visuals. You will find it challenging to collaborate with your colleagues and other stakeholders. Your organization’s decisions depend on your Data Analysis; that’s why they hire you.

Practice verbal ( in front of a mirror ) and written communication ( writing reports and summaries ) to develop soft skills along with technical. Record yourself and view it later to improve your knowledge delivery fluency. 

6. Get an entry-level data analyst job.

Now you have both the technical and soft skills and practical exposure to working on actual data; you’re ready to apply for entry-level Data Analyst job roles like Business Analyst, Junior Data Analyst, Data Engineer, Marketing Analyst, etc. Add all the learned skills in one section of your resume. Describe briefly in one or two sentences which specific insights you found from your analyzed data. 

7. Consider certification or an advanced degree.

Every Data Analyst’s role doesn’t require certification or an advanced degree. Many Data Analyst profiles’ criteria ask for a Bachelor’s Degree as necessary, and you can only negotiate with them if you have one. If your long-term goal is to reach the senior position of Data Scientist, plan to get an Advanced Master’s Degree in the related field.

A Data Science Master’s degree will guide you on the fundamentals of data analysis with practice on real-world projects. Similarly, a Business Analytics Master’s Degree will teach a business-focused outlook on data analysis.

How to become a data analyst without a degree

A degree is optional for all Data Analyst profiles, but what matters is your willingness to learn the involved skills. Let’s understand how to apply and land a Data Analyst job without a degree through Coursera.

Get started with Coursera.

Coursera assists every aspiring Data Analyst in learning and creating a portfolio of in-demand skills and becoming job-ready within six months through its “Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate” Programme. Individuals from any educational background can enroll in this course to prepare for Junior Data Analyst, Data Analyst, and Associate Data Analyst roles without degrees and experience. You can gain the following skills – 

  • Spreadsheet.
  • Data Cleansing
  • Data Analysis
  • Data Visualization (DataViz)
  • SQL
  • Decision-Making
  • Problem-Solving
  • Data Collection

How to become a data analyst without experience

Google offers its “Professional Google Data Analytics” certification course” which any fresher can pursue without experience. Before applying for a Data Analyst job role, companies prefer to select candidates with experience. Let’s understand in brief the Google Data Analytics course for beginners.

Google Data Analytics

You’ll get practical experience in in-demand Data Analytics skills that will prepare anyone for entry-level roles in six months by top Google employees who are leaders in this field. Acquire an immersive knowledge of the techniques and methods utilized by a junior data analyst in everyday tasks.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

How many years does it take to become a data analyst?‎

The duration to become a Data Analyst depends on different factors. 

  • Your learning pace is because everyone’s capability to understand and execute skills is different. It can take less than six months.
  • No of hours you devote every day.
  • Educational Degree you pursue.
  • Duration of the online course you have enrolled in.

Can I be a data analyst without a degree?‎

As mentioned above, the company’s Data Analyst job role criteria would tell whether they need a bachelor’s, master’s, or only a strong portfolio with the right skills to get you hired in their organization. Sometimes, organizations require Degrees in technical, statistical, and mathematical backgrounds to hire for the entry Data Analyst role. Without a degree, an individual should ensure to devote maximum hours in creating a portfolio to showcase skills learned.

Are data analysts in demand?‎

According to Google, approximately 483,000 Data Analytics jobs are open, with an average salary of $92,000 in the entry roles of Junior and Associates Data Analysts. Every sector with an online presence collects data daily to make intelligent decisions for their organization’s growth. Demand for Data Analysts will increase in the coming years more than ever.

What qualifications do you need to be a data analyst?‎

You can only know this once you check the job requirement for the industry you’re willing to enter as a Data Analyst. However, learning the right Data Analyst skills ( knowledge of statistical tools and programming languages) with a portfolio makes it less challenging to become a data analyst without qualifications.Possessing specific qualifications will position data analysts in an ideal situation to excel in their career roles.

Mark Roberts is a freelance writer and tech enthusiast based in San Diego, specializing in internet security and Ai tools.

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