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Data is becoming increasingly available to businesses. In fact, 90% of the data available today has been created within the last 2 years. Therefore, Data Analysts are in high demand to help companies track their performance and work out where to improve. If this is a career you’re interested in pursuing, our guide looks through a Data Analyst’s day to day tasks, how much they earn and how to become one.

What is a Data Analyst?

As the name suggests, a data analyst essentially understands and analyses data. They can translate numbers into actions, so a company can make informed decisions based on statistics. A data analyst can work for a variety of sectors including marketing, sales, education, finance, business intelligence, data assurance and data quality.

What does a Data Analyst do?

Most Data Analyst roles take place in an office, however, this can vary if the role involves consulting clients. The average day-to-day for a Data Analyst involves collecting data. This can be via surveys or setting up software. You will also be expected to track key performance indicators, as well as monitoring and auditing the data and create data visualisations, such as graphs or dashboards. Another important aspect of the role is to understand the data collected and to identify and implement actions to increase efficiency and achieve a company’s goals. For example, a Data Analyst might track sales figures and create a strategy to increase revenue.

What is the average Data Analyst salary?

Salaries can vary depending on how experienced you are and where you’re based, with London generally offering higher paid careers. However, the average starting salary for a Junior Data Analyst is around £25,000. After a few years’ experience, you can expect around £30,000 – £35,000 on average. High level Senior Data Analysts can expect anything up to £60,000 or more a year.

How to become a Data Analyst

Important data analyst skills to have include excellent numerical skills and an eye for detail, as well as an overall knowledge of necessary software. This will differ depending on which sector you go into. For example, if you’re an analyst for a marketing company, understanding Google Analytics and SEO might help you. Whichever area you opt for, it’s also important to have excellent communication skills as you will be liaising with internal and external clients.

In terms of qualifications, having a degree is the most common route to becoming a data analyst. Aside from a Data Analysis bachelor’s degree, other relevant degrees include Economics, Mathematics, Statistics, Information Management, Computer Science and Business Information Systems.

However, a degree is not essential. Data analyst apprenticeships are an alternative route and give you the skills and professional qualifications you need within just 18 months. To apply for an apprenticeship you only need to have GCSEs, so it can offer a paid alternative to sixth form or college. Find out more here.

If you’re part of a business that would like to learn how to analyse your data yourself, visit our Data Academy. We offer Data Analysis boot camps and courses to teach data literacy, from 30 minutes to 18 months.