What is a data analyst?

A data analyst collects, processes and performs statistical analyses on large dataset. They scrutinize information using data analysis tools and help their employers or clients make important decisions by identifying various facts and trends from the results they pull from the raw data.

How to become a data analyst?

To become a Data Analyst, you’ll usually need a degree or postgraduate qualification that includes data analysis, like:

  • Math and Statistics
  • Marketing and analytics
  • Business and marketing
  • Data science

If you want to specialise in an area like medical or economic market research, you’ll find it useful to have a postgraduate master’s degree of PhD in Statistics or Applied Statistics.

Data analyst duties

Data analyst duties are diverse and depend on the employer and specialty, but some responsibilities are common to most:

  • Designing and maintaining data systems and databases; this includes fixing coding errors and other data-related problems.
  • Performing initial analysis to assess the quality of the data
  • Preparing reports based on analysis and presenting to management
  • Mining data from primary and secondary sources, then reorganizing said data in a format that can be easily read by either human or machine
  • Commissioning and decommissioning of data sets
  • Processing confidential data and information according to guidelines
  • Supporting the data warehouse in identifying and revising reporting requirements
  • Training end-users on new reports and dashboards

Data analyst skills

To be an effective data analyst, you’ll need certain skills and competencies. The following are often cited in job vacancies:

  • A high level of mathematical ability
  • Analytical skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Programming languages, such as SQL, Oracle and Python
  • Excellent time-management
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills

How to find a data analyst job:

These jobs are advertised online, in local newspapers and at your local jobcentre. To find all the data analyst jobs near you, you need to:

  • Search for data analyst jobs on popular job websites such as; Indeed, Total Jobs and CV Library
  • Use the DWP’s Find A Job Service
  • Check local newspapers and local Facebook groups, especially groups dedicated to local jobs

Data Analyst Job Titles

When you search for data analyst jobs online, be aware that the jobs might be advertised using a different job title. Popular job titles for data analyst jobs include;

  • Data Scientist
  • Data Engineer
  • Data Architect
  • Data Storyteller
  • Database Administrator
  • Business Intelligence Analyst
  • Business Analyst
  • Digital Media Consultant

What does a data analyst do?

The job of a data analyst varies depending on the job role and the company you’re working for. Check the duties and responsibilities of data analyst job advertisements to find jobs that best suit your skills and experience. 

The day-to-day tasks of a data analyst include;

  • Speak to clients to understand their needs
  • Write proposals, describing how research will be carried out
  • Performing initial analysis to assess the quality of the data
  • Advise researchers about survey methods and design
  • Analyse the data using statistical software programs and computer models
  • Present results in a useful way, through talks, written reports, graphs and tables
  • Explain findings to market research executives