Data Analyst: Career Definition, Job Outlook, and Training Requirements

Explore the career requirements for data analysts. Get the facts about job duties, education requirements, salary and job outlook to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Computer Support Technician degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Information At a Glance

Data analysts can work in an array of industries, examining data and ensuring its accuracy. Read the table below for more information about becoming a data analyst.

Degree Required Associate's degree or bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Information systems, business administration, healthcare administration
Key Skills Data entry, reporting, auditing and warehousing
Job Growth (2012-2022) Between 3-7%*
Median Salary (October 2014) $55,224**

Source: *O*Net Online, **Salary.com.

What Does a Data Analyst Do?

As a data analyst, you gather, review and interpret data for a variety of industries, such as computer and hardware application development, manufacturing, healthcare and pharmaceutical research. Some of the tasks you may perform include data entry, data auditing, creating data reports and monitoring data for accuracy. Deleting and creating data warehouses may be part of your job duties as well. You also manage the communication of data to pertinent parties and work with clients to complete projects.

While working as a data analyst, you are responsible for ensuring that the data within a company serves its needs. As a professional in the field, you need to make sure that data information is implemented properly and in line with corporate policies and procedures.

What Can I Anticipate from this Job?

The O*Net Online indicated business intelligence analysts, which includes data analysts, are projected to see slower than average growth, somewhere between 3% and 7% from 2012-2022 (www.bls.gov). As of October 2014, data analysts in business settings are reported to have earned a median salary of $55,224, according to Salary.com.

What Must I Study?

To obtain a position in the field, you may want to pursue an associate or bachelor's degree in information systems, business administration or healthcare administration. You must have knowledge of databases, the Internet, software, troubleshooting, statistics, reporting and analysis. Once you've completed your program, you must be able to use your management and math skills to solve problems, work with clients and think analytically. Taking courses in accounting, management, statistics, data mining and organizational behavior prepare you for a data analyst position within any field.

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