Data Analyst: Job Description, Salary, Skills & Career Path

Data analysts are becoming extremely sought-after IT professionals, and are able to earn high salaries with great perks, as technology has continuously grown and became an imperative aspect of most sectors, which means that basically any organization can benefit from a data analyst’s work.

The proper analysis of data is extremely valuable to a business because it helps them reach their goals effectively. In the following section, we will walk you through everything that you need to know about data analysts by answering these FAQs about it.

What is a Data Analyst?

Data analysts working in the data and technology sector retrieve and gather data, process and organize it, and use this information to form important conclusions that is valuable in influencing business decisions.

This work will vary depending on the type of data that they are working with, which can range from social media to sales information, but the basic goal is the same: using data to answer questions, compile reports, and solve key issues.

A data analyst’s approach to analyzing a set of data will fluctuate depending on the type of problem or issue that a data analyst is trying to answer or resolve.

The Different Types of Data Analytics:

There are many different types of data analytics, and a good data analyst should know how to utilize all of them. The main types of analytics include:

Descriptive analytics

Answers questions relating to the past. Generally, what went well, what went wrong, and analyzing the trends to avoid making the same mistake twice or to utilize a previously successful strategy

Diagnostic analytics

Answers questions relating to the past but pertaining to why something happened. Outlines steps that can be taken to recreate or avoid the same scenario again.

Predictive analytics

Answers questions relating to the future. Generally, what is likely to happen, is it in our favor or not? etc.

Prescriptive analytics

Answers questions relating to the future, but pertaining to the actions that should be taken either to avoid or ensure certain scenarios from occurring.

Data Analyst Job Description: Key Roles & Responsibilities

Data analysts have several daily responsibilities to fulfill within their roles, including the production of reports, spotting data patterns, working in a team environment, and of course, collecting data to be analyzed.

These responsibilities will vary slightly depending on the sector and industry that a specific analyst chooses to work in, however, there are key elements that come with the job regardless.

  1. Collecting and interpreting data
    1. This is the most technical aspect of the job, and analysts will often work with web developers to optimize this process
    2. Analysts also use tools such as software and data collection surveys for this
    3. Perform analysis to gather important and necessary information
    4. Used to guide business decisions
  2. Identifying patterns and trends
    1. When analyzing data, it is crucial to be able to recognize certain patterns in order to best inform clients
    2. This is also done through software tools
  3. Creating reports of findings
    1. These reports are meant to be comprehensive
    2. Address issues and offer solutions
  4. Working with team
    1. Although it may seem like data analysts work individually, collaboration is a key aspect of the job
    2. Working across various departments and company sectors is crucial in order to effectively communicate findings and deliver solutions
    3. Can work with a wide variety of other job positions, from marketers, top executives, data architects, developers, salespeople, and much more

Data Analyst Job Qualifications

If you’re considering entering this line of work, you may be asking yourself what educational background is necessary or helpful to enter this field of work with. It is important to note that there are multiple paths to become a data analyst, but considering some of these options may work in your favor:

  • Bachelor’s degree in related subjects
    • Consider mathematics, statistics, economics, or computer science
  • Learn the basic data analytic skills
    • A certification is a great idea to build up your resume and add a sense of trustworthiness and reliability
    • Some of the best certification titles to get are:
      • Certified Analytics Professional
      • Open Certified Data Scientist
      • aCAP
      • CCA Data Analyst
  • No degree? Consider a data analyst apprenticeship
    • Gain relevant experience from a wide range of potential employers
    • Though less traditional, this option has proven successful for many
  • Earning a master’s degree in data analytics
    • Will greatly expand job opportunities and offer higher salaries
    • However, like any field, years of experience will offer these same benefits

Please refer to my other article for more information about the best 7 data analyst certifications

How do you know if a Data Analyst job is right for you?

Besides the basic requirements, there are several key skills that data analysts should have in order to excel in the career. These include:

  • Proficiency in mathematics and/or computer science
  • Deep understanding of a variety of programming languages including SQL and Python
    • Knowledge of software tools is also critical
  • Excellent problem-solving skills
  • The ability to work with others
  • Acute attention to detail and accuracy
  • Working with a logical and statistical approach
  • Meeting important deadlines
  • Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written
  • Critical thinking skills
  • And of course, ability to analyze, model, and interpret collected data

How to Become a Data Analyst ? Education & Career Path

As mentioned, there are many different paths to becoming a professional data analyst. The traditional path includes getting a bachelor/s in a related subject area, and/or attaining a master’s in data analytics. This path can be more reliable and offer higher entry-level salaries, but it’s not a guarantee.

Many have entered the field with no professional degree by applying to apprenticeships, building up experience and skills, and getting certifications. This path will likely offer lower base salaries to start and may prove more challenging to find a job with, but it also does not require the expensive costs related to college and university education and degrees.

It is important to keep in mind that this is a growing field, so competition is not saturated. This may make a non-traditional path more attainable and attractive for many.

Where Do Data Analysts Work?

Data analysts are valuable assets to any company or field. The profession is in high demand pretty much everywhere, so the employment opportunities for interested potential data analysts are virtually endless.

Typical employers of data analysts include banks, social media specialists, consultancies, software development companies, colleges and universities, telecommunication companies, manufacturers, and pharmaceutical companies.

Data analysts work anywhere from big, private firms, to the healthcare industry, to big technology companies like Facebook and Google. The type of work done will also vary somewhat depending on the industry and employer type, and also impacts salary levels and expectations.

Many data analysts say that a great benefit to working in this field is the ability to work from home and remote locations. For the most part, as long as you can meet deadlines and present your findings appropriately, employers offer flexible work schedules.

Data Analyst Average Salary

As mentioned, a data analyst’s salary varies widely depending on their level, education, experience, industry, and region. However, there is a general and basic guideline to the average salary that data analysts can expect at various levels and regions.

Please note that these are basic ranges, top salaries can be significantly higher while lower-end salaries can be significantly lower.

Data Analyst Salary in Canada

On average, Canadian data analysts can expect to earn about C$50,125 at the entry-level. As their career progresses in the next few years, the average pay increases to about $56,186.

Once analysts in Canada reach their mid-career, about 5-9 years of experience, the average salary rises immensely to $65,186. As experience and years of work increases, so does salary.

Canadian data analysts with 10-19 years of experience earn an average of $71,364, and after they hit twenty years of experience, the average is about $78,322.

It should be noted that these rates also vary throughout regions in Canada, with the Quebec, Alberta, and Ontario regions being on the higher end of the spectrum while British Columbia, Nova Scotia, and Manitoba are on the lower end.

Canadian data analysts also enjoy a wide range of benefits, such as healthcare insurance plans, food provided on site, paid time off, and much more. Still, benefits are mostly dependent on the type of employer or general industry.

Data Analyst Salary in Southern USA

The average salary for data analysts in southern regions of the United States is about US$72,529 with a $2,500 cash bonus per year. Entry-level data analysts earn about $68,743 annually, and after just a few years of experience, this number rises dramatically to $76,814 a year.

After more than ten years, the average salary is $85,857. Much like Canadian data analysts, southern USA analysts are commonly offered many benefits. Still, this is highly dependent on the job sector and industry.

Data Analyst Salary in West Coast USA

The average salary in the west-coast is about US$84,375 with a $3,000 cash bonus each year. Entry-level data analysts in this general region enjoy high salaries, with an average of $79,969 a year.

After a few years, the salary grows significantly to $89,359 annually. After the ten-year mark, senior level analysts earn an average salary of about $100,000. Benefits include bonuses, great insurance plans, flexibility, and relative job security.

Data Analyst Salary in East Coast USA

Salaries in the east-coast regions, like anywhere else, vary slightly between the states. However, the average for this region is about the same as the rest of the nation, US$76,102 annually, with cash bonus ranges $3,000 – $7,000.

The entry-level salary is about $72,128, mid-level is $80,597, and senior level is $90,086. Benefits for data analysts in the east coast remain the same as the rest of the nation and are still dependent on industry sectors.

Data Analyst Salary in the UK

The average salary for a data analyst in the UK is about £32,848 a year. Of course, this is dependent on the region, the highest paying cities are London, Luton, and Cambridge.

Entry-level positions earn an average of £24,468. After several years of experience, this grows to £31,374 a year. Top senior data analysts in the UK can expect an average salary of about £37,109.

Data Analyst Salary in Europe

Countries such as Switzerland earn significantly more than the continental average, with national salaries for lower-mid level data analyst position averaging about €83,000 and senior positions over €100,000.

Other countries are significantly lower, with the median annual salary for lower positions being about €35,000 and higher positions around €50,000.

However, these salaries are also reflective of the cost of living in each country. Switzerland is much more expensive than Spain, Italy, or Belgium for example.

Data Analyst Salary in India

The average salary for a data analyst in India is ₹430,076. Entry-level analysts earn about ₹343,614 annually, while national average increases to ₹414,886 – ₹672,629 for mid-level positions.

Experienced analysts with more than ten years of experience can expect to earn ₹900,000, and after twenty years, the national average total increases to ₹1,750,000.

Data Analyst job openings are projected to rise tremendously in the next ten years. Positions in the private sector may offer higher salaries and rates, while the public sector may offer lower salaries but better benefits.

It is important to take into consideration the location, industry, and cost of living when deciding if this job is right for you.


Data analysts are an integral aspect to any organization or business, aiding in important decision making and problem solving by using their expertise in information analysis.

They hold a wide range of responsibilities that yield high rewards in the form of salary, benefits, and job flexibility. There are many avenues to becoming a data analyst in the growing field, as well as a large pool of potential employers and industries to choose from.

The job compiles mathematics, coding, and research, which can make it highly enjoyable to individuals who excel and thrive in those areas. The job has a high satisfaction rate and much room to grow.

If you’re interested in a high-paying career that offers job security and benefits, and are interested in mathematics, economics, and computer science, consider becoming a data analyst! (or a Business Analyst, that works too. For more info: Data Analyst Certifications & Business Analytics Certifications).


I'm a senior CS Engineer from Morocco, working as an Independent Consultant and a part-time blogger.

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