Skip to content

Your Questions, Answered: How to Become a Data Analyst?

How to Become a Data Analyst copy

95% of businesses report that the need to manage unstructured data poses a problem for their business. The high volume of data worldwide means businesses can glean insights and better serve their customers. However, they rely on data analyst skills to make sense of their raw data. If you’re looking for how to become a data analyst so you can help businesses prosper, we’re going to share everything you need to know in this article. 

Source: Unsplash

What Does a Data Analyst Do?

In any company of any size, a data analyst plays a crucial role. They review data and help to solve business problems with the use of data-driven insights. Although they work behind the scenes, their impact is far-reaching as much of their work drives the future of any business forward. 

They combine business knowledge and analytical skills to collect data, conduct surveys, perform statistical analysis, and interpret their findings. Then, they also are responsible for transforming data into easily digestible pieces of information for business leaders, executives, and stakeholders to understand. At the heart of their function, they aid in determining business strategy and greatly affect decision-making abilities.  

What Skills Does a Data Analyst Need?

To prosper as a data analyst, you’ll need to hone a fair share of both hard (technical) and soft skills. Typically, data analyst requirements include knowing the following: 

  • Data visualization techniques
  • Data cleaning methods 
  • Programming (R and Python) 
  • SQL and NoSQL
  • Critical thinking
  • Linear algebra 
  • Statistics 
  • Communication 
  • Machine learning 
  • Basics of business 

How to Become a Data Analyst (and FAQS)

If a knack for numbers, data, and explanations is right up your alley, then becoming a data analyst could be the perfect career for you. To get started in this field, here are the steps to follow:

  1. Earn a bachelor’s degree 

Developing your foundational knowledge of the field is the first place to start. That means, earning a degree! While an associate’s degree can give you an introduction to data analysis, earning a bachelor’s degree (or higher) will open the door to greater career possibilities and expand your earning potential. Even though not all entry-level data analyst jobs require a bachelor’s degree, you’ll be placing yourself ahead of the curve by having one.

It’s recommended to earn a degree in math, computer science, or a related field. If you’d like to earn your degree online at a tuition-free and accredited university, take a look at the University of the People’s Computer Science degree offering. 

  1. Hone data analyst skills

As you’re earning your degree (or even if you don’t), it’s best to start honing in on the skills you’ll need to work as a data analyst. A good way to figure out what you need to know is to explore job opportunities that you’re interested in and review their qualifications.

With this list in mind, you can start working on building your knowledge of skills like data cleaning, programming, statistics, and the like. As you grow your skill set, you can start taking on data analyst jobs and freelance projects to build up a portfolio. This can be extra helpful when you start applying for jobs. 

  1. Apply for jobs 

With your education, skill base, and portfolio in place, it’s time to apply for jobs! Put your best foot forward by spending time creating a strong resume or CV. You may also want to write a cover letter that showcases why you are a good fit for the available position. 

  1. Consider Certification or Earning a Master’s Degree

As you move and grow in your career as a data analyst, you could find yourself wanting more! If you seek career advancement and know of areas in which you’d like to specialize, you can take the optional route of earning a master’s degree or gain certification.

Source: Unsplash


As you go through the motions of considering this role or wanting to grow in the field, there are common questions that are likely to arise. 

Take a look at these FAQs and their answers to ease your concerns and keep you on the right track forward: 

Is it Hard to Become a Data Analyst?

Although most would agree that the job of a data analyst can be challenging, becoming a data analyst is doable! This is especially true for those who enjoy certain technical skills and have a genuine interest in transforming data into valuable insights. 

The field is constantly advancing and evolving, along with new technological tools that make it easier to execute. So, if you’re someone who loves to learn and wants to constantly grow, then the role of a data analyst can be exceptionally rewarding. 

Do Data Analysts Need to Know Coding?

This question depends on the job. For some analysts, coding is necessary. For others, it isn’t a direct part of the job. That being said, knowing how to code can be an advantage for analysts, especially if you want to write your own scripts. 

Is Becoming a Data Analyst a Good Career Choice? 

The role of a data analyst is always in high demand, and for good reason. All businesses benefit from having a team of data analysts around. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in America, the field for data scientists is expected to grow by 36% between 2021 and 2031, which represents much faster than average growth. 

Along with the high rate of growth, data analysts tend to make a lucrative living. Per the same source, the median pay for data scientists in 2021 was $100,910 per year. 

Last but not least, data analysts tend to feel satisfied in their positions. They get to see the impact that they have on an organization and have the opportunity to learn endlessly. 

Is Being a Data Analyst a Stressful Job?

This is another question that truly depends on how you take on the role! Any job can be stressful without proper education, training, and skills to manage time and remain organized. That being said, data analysts are pressed with a lot on their plate and need to ensure the accuracy of their findings because their insights do majorly impact business decisions. The good news is that if you can manage your time well and get your job duties done professionally, the field is rewarding. Not only is it monetarily rewarding, but it is also satisfying to know that you are making a positive difference in the business and its customers. 

Closing Words

Now that you know how to become a data analyst and have an idea of what the job entails, the ball is in your court to decide if it’s the right path for you! Should you choose to pursue a career in this field, be sure to check out the University of the People’s online education model and degree programs.

University of the People