How to become a data analyst (2024 Guide)

Do You Need a Degree to Be a Data Analyst?

BrainStation’s Data Analyst career guide is intended to help you take the first steps toward a lucrative career in data analysis. Read on to learn if you need a degree to be a Data Analyst.

Become a Data Analyst

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No, you do not need a degree to be a Data Analyst, but you do need the right hard and soft skills to be considered for a role in data analysis.

Keep in mind that traditionally, most entry-level Data Analyst jobs have required at least a bachelor’s degree. And having a master’s degree in Data Science or Business Analytics is very helpful—in 2017, IBM found that 39 percent of Data Scientists and Advanced Data Analyst jobs required a master’s or PhD.

Is a Data Analytics Certificate Worth It?

Yes, a data analytics certificate is a very worthwhile investment, as it will help you develop the data skills employers are increasingly depending on – according to Dresner Advisory Services, data adoption in enterprises has increased from 17 percent to 59 percent – giving you more opportunities for advancement with your current employer, and lead to better compensation.

Data analytics certificates and courses have surged in popularity as demand for data skills has increased. The best data analytics courses allow students to learn key programming languages, such as Python, R, and SQL, among others, and gain hands-on experience with:

  • Data collecting
  • Data analysis
  • Data visualization
  • Statistical analysis
  • Predictive analytics

Why Learn Data Analytics?

There are many reasons to pursue training in data analytics, whether through a data analytics certificate course or some other form of professional data training. Here are some of the reasons you might want to learn data analytics:

Demand for data analytics skills is high

Simply put, there has never been a better time to be a data professional.

To start, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created daily and that pace is only quickening. The International Data Corporation’s 2017 forecast predicted that revenues for big data and business analytics would reach $150.8 billion worldwide, a 12.4 percent increase over 2016.

In its 2017 report The Quant Crunch: How the Demand for Data Science Skills is Disrupting the Job Market, IBM predicted that the number of jobs for U.S. data professionals would grow from 364,000 to 2,720,000 by 2020. Further, the study found that jobs in data analytics and data science remain open five days longer than average, that demand for data professionals is projected to grow 39 percent, and that the fastest-growing roles in this sphere are Data Scientists and Advanced Analysts.

Employers want current data training

The world of big data has changed at such a breakneck pace, most employers are not just prioritizing the quality of a candidate’s training, but also how recently it was attained.

According to IT research firm Foote Partners, data skills and certifications have increased in value every quarter for the past two years. That aligns with what hiring experts are hearing from companies looking to hire data professionals.

“Any time would be a good time to get a data analytics certification. It shows a potential employer a bona fide level of interest in the industry and the skill set, and as well, continued education demonstrates work ethic and commitment,” said Shaun Lemmer, Partner and Consultant at Benchmark Tech Recruitment.

Technical data skills could boost your salary

Salaries for data roles already compare favorably to other careers in tech, with average annual compensation averaging around $99,558. There is evidence that even if you’re in this field already, boosting your skillset could bump your salary further. According to IBM’s report, professionals with experience using Hadoop, for example, are in the market for jobs that average over $110,000 per year.

“If someone is retooling and considering a career change, getting a certification would be paramount to opening up doors,” Lemmer said.

And according to IBM, it could be a lot of doors. Their report noted that if its forecast supply of 2.8 million “analytically savvy” workers turns out to be correct, nearly every one of those workers would have to change jobs annually to fill the required data analytics and data science positions.

BrainStation’s data certificate courses were created to help professionals take advantage of these opportunities, allowing them to gain hands-on experience uncovering new insights from data sets, making data-driven predictions, and generating striking data visualization.