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

Data analysts can work in an array of industries, examining data and ensuring its accuracy. Learn about job duties, education requirements and salary and job outlook information. Schools offering Computer Support Technician degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

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 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that data communication analyst positions would increase 53% from 2008-2018 (www.bls.gov). Data analysts in business settings are reported to have had a median salary of $55,053 in 2011, according to Salary.com. The website also reports that experience as a data analyst might slightly increase annual salaries. With less than one year of experience, data analysts had a salary of $51,681-$55,532 in 2011, while four or more years of experience raised the salary range from $53,704-$56,764 per year.

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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