How Long Does It Take To Become A Data Analyst?

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The road to becoming a data analyst can be tough without knowing how long it will take.

But it’s definitely worth becoming one, with phenomenal growth with the global big data analytics further expected to grow to over 650 billion dollars by 2029.

If you are also looking to make a career as a data analyst, this article is for you.

Today, we will discuss everything, including what a data analyst does, the skills required to become a data analyst, and how long it takes to become a data analyst.

Let’s get into it!

What Is Data Analytics? 

Data analytics refers to the science of analyzing data to get important insights that help businesses and organizations achieve their respective goals.

These include increasing revenues, finding useful patterns, reducing error rates, increasing customer retention, and predicting business growth. 

The key role of a data analyst here is gathering, organizing, and analyzing raw data or information. This is done to help a business improve its overall efficiency and production and take key business decisions accordingly. 

Further, there is also an opportunity for data analysts to specialize in analyzing data related to specific fields such as finance, marketing, operations, and more.

Job Responsibilities Of Data Analysts

The day-to-day job responsibilities of data analysts include-

  • Converting raw data into easily understandable information
  • Completing data analysis using statistical methods and offering a report to management
  • Monitoring data regularly for industry changes
  • Using data to analyze important business trends and advising management accordingly
  • Helping the business understand the content of analysis locally and internationally
  • Preparing diagrams, graphs, etc., and presenting them to the business stakeholders

Important Skills Required To Become A Data Analyst

A successful data analyst requires both hard and soft skills to be able to perform their job-specific duties.

Among the key data analyst skills to master include:

Hard Or Technical Skills

Here are some of the hard skills to master as a data analyst-

  • Computing skills: A data analyst needs to be proficient in at least one programming or coding language (Java,  C,  SQL, etc) to become an in-demand analyst. It helps them manipulate data and extract relevant information.
  • Reporting and modeling-:Reporting and modeling skills allow a data analyst to convert large datasets into actionable information easily digestible by readers. Likewise, modeling helps data analysts predict future events, such as future sales and process implementation.
  • Mathematics and statistics: Data analysts also require strong mathematical and statistical skills using formulas and combining numbers to get desired results. It is an important skill set that also helps data analysts create graphs, tables, and charts to represent easily understandable data.
  • Data visualization: To be able to represent analyzed data visually appealingly is another important skill for data analysts. Data visualization also involves using charts and graphs to present essential findings, as it helps make the end results clear, concise, and understandable.

Soft Skills

Here are some of the soft skills to master as a data analyst-

  • Analytical skills: Since data analysts are required to study massive sets of data before deriving conclusions, they need excellent analytical skills to identify patterns and determine findings.
  • Organizational skills: Strong organizational skills are another important quality that helps data analysts easily arrange data to retrieve and understand it.
  • Problem-solving skills: Data analysts may encounter several technical issues in their day-to-day work. Problem-solving skills help them successfully find solutions and troubleshoot these issues. 
  • Public speaking skills: The day-to-day work of data analysts also includes compiling information and presenting the findings to business stakeholders. This requires them also to possess excellent public speaking skills or the ability to explain their analysis in an easy language. 

How Long Does It Take To Become A Data Analyst?

Anyone who wishes to make a career as a data analyst requires anywhere between 10 weeks to 2 years to learn the required skills and land an entry-level position, such as junior data analyst or an intern in the field of data analytics. 

On the contrary, it can take four years or more to become a senior-level executive in data analysis. 

The reason behind this time range is the availability of several paths to a successful data analyst career.

For instance, for many data professionals, the journey’s starting point used to be a 4-year bachelor’s degree in computer science.

However, in recent times, it’s becoming increasingly common for data analysts to get better positions and roles in the field directly from data analytics courses and boot camps, which can be completed in as little as ten weeks.

So, ultimately, the time it takes to become a data analyst depends on what kind of role you are looking for and on how much time you are willing to commit to learning the required skill sets.

How To Become A Data Analyst-Your Stepwise Guide

To become a data analyst, you need to follow the below steps:

A. Start Taking Online Classes

In my opinion, taking online classes is a great way to start learning programming before you even get formal education on it.

The knowledge and proficiency gained in these subjects will help you interpret data easily and cope better with classes in school.

Also, this frees up your time to learn more advanced concepts while you attend school. 

B. Get Your Bachelor’s Degree

A Bachelor’s degree is a must for making a fulfilling and rewarding career as a data analyst. Some of the common degrees you can earn or study to qualify for the role of a data analyst include:

  • Computer science: A data analyst uses several tools and is required to work with different programming languages and databases. This requires them to have a thorough understanding of computer programming, software engineering, computer architecture, quoting software, algorithms, and operating systems.
  • Economics– An economics degree can help data analysts analyze complex research papers or case studies to be able to derive meaningful information that can be useful for a business. 
  • Statistics– A degree in statistics allows data analysts to learn and understand the data they work with. It gives them a strong foundation in different areas, including computing, data technology, probability, and numerical analysis.
  • Mathematics– A mathematics degree equips data analysts with several skill sets, including problem-solving skills, logical thinking,  mathematical modeling, and data structures. 

C. Earn A Master’s Degree And Complete The Required Certification

If you are looking for senior-level and management roles in the data analytics field, it is necessary to have a master’s degree.

For instance, a Master of Science (MS) in Data Analytics degree or an MS in Data Analytics can be a great choice if you wish to apply for more senior leadership positions in data analytics. 

You also have the option to complete a certification further to increase your job prospects as an experienced data analyst. 

However, it is important to remember that data analysts should get certification from the vendor that develops their program. Relevant certifications in the field help you keep pace with the technology and software program changes.

You can use various search job boards to find and discover the most common certifications employers look for.

D. Learn A Programming Language

Learning and getting proficient in one or more programming languages allow you to use data analysis systems better. There are a number of programming languages that you can learn here.

These include Python, R, Hadoop, JavaScript, Apache, and XML. 

The best way to learn these languages fast is to take short courses available or enroll yourself in an online class.

Alternatively, you can also improve your existing coding skills by practicing on free online websites or working on web app development companies as an intern.

E. Make A Resume And Apply For Jobs 

The last step in becoming a data analyst is to make a resume highlighting your skill sets and the essential qualifications you have and start applying to the relevant jobs.  

In Conclusion

Becoming a successful data analyst today requires dedicated focus and gaining specific educational degrees and certifications. The overall time commitment for this depends on the degree and certifications you pursue, which can take anywhere between 10 months to 4 years. 

Further, the total time it takes to be a qualified data analyst also depends on how committed you are to learning, upskilling, and advancing your knowledge and career in this field.

As you get the relevant degrees, certificates, and work experience as a data analyst, you can move to more senior roles with higher responsibilities, such as team leads, managers,  company directors, or more.

Justin Chia

Justin is the author of Justjooz and is a data analyst and AI expert. He is also a Nanyang Technological University (NTU) alumni, majoring in Biological Sciences.

He regularly posts AI and analytics content on LinkedIn, and writes a weekly newsletter, The Juicer, on AI, analytics, tech, and personal development.

To unwind, Justin enjoys gaming and reading.

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