Much like their close professional counterparts – data scientists – data analysts compile, process, examine, and analyze data sets to answer questions and solve problems. Positions in data analysis have emerged in large numbers thanks to the new availability of big data that has accompanied the digital age of the twenty-first century world. With expertise in quantitative methods that include statistics, programming, data correlations, learning theory, and machine learning, data analysts may be found in fields that include business, finance, e-commerce, healthcare, government, and information technologies.
Data analysts serve organizations in many capacities, from journalism to strategic research, making use of a combined skill set that emphasizes their capacity to work with data sets while presenting their research findings to diverse audiences within and beyond their organizations.
An effective data analyst has a demonstrated capacity to:
- Provide data reports and visualizations to convey conclusions from data set analysis
- Establish organizational goals and data-driven questions with management, business, and product teams
- Improve and streamline data analysis processes
- Create and maintain data models and dashboards
- Work closely with IT and R&D teams on organizational objectives
Glassdoor.com reports that data analysts garner an annual salary of approximately $67,377. Sometimes considered “junior data scientists,” data analysts have significant crossover with data scientists in their daily tasks, although they may experience less freedom to design and manage their own data-driven projects, relying instead on pre-existing tools and methods. Nevertheless, some companies make no distinction between the two roles. Both require creative thinking and a sophisticated facility with quantitative methods.
Professional Associations and Communities in Data Analysis:
Data Analyst Job Boards:
- Mode Community: This platform features jobs for data scientists, analysts and engineers.
- iCrunchData: iCrunchData features an award-winning platform for jobs in data and technology.
- Kaggle: Specializes in career openings for data professionals.
- Data Elixir: Distributing a newsletter among data science professions, Data Elixir also maintains a job board with new openings in the field.