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How does a beginner become a data analyst?

  • Evan Rogen 
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In this data-driven age, the role of a data analyst has never been more critical. The role of a data
analyst is more important than ever in this era of data-driven decision-making. 
Businesses in a wide range of sectors urgently need these professionals who can convert intricate
data sets into observable insights to support decision-making and growth. This need is expected to
keep rising due to a boom in data output. This guide gives beginners an in-depth understanding of
the prerequisites for starting a successful profession as a data analyst in 2023.

The role of a data analyst

Data analysts sit at the crucial intersection of business and technology. Their primary role is to
interpret data and transform it into insight that may offer ways to enhance company operations and
thus impacting the bottom line.

To integrate company objectives into data processes and strategies, they work closely with
stakeholders to understand their goals. Data analysts collect, prepare, and run statistical analyses on
the information. Their entire existence is centered around data sets, from which they produce reports
using tools for data analysis and design and production of reports using tools for data reporting.
Additionally, data analysts are in the role of maintaining databases and ensuring data accuracy.
They continually review their procedures and systems for improvements. To effectively
communicate their findings, they must possess various technical abilities, attention to detail,
business acumen, and good communication skills.

Required skills

A specific set of technical and soft skills, divided into two categories, are needed to become a data


Technical skills:

  • Mathematics and statistics: To analyze numerical data efficiently, data analysts need a solid foundation in maths, especially statistics.
  • Programming: As they are frequently used for data processing and statistical analysis, understanding programming languages like Python, R, or SAS is essential.
  • SQL: Specific data must be retrieved from databases and processed using SQL or structured query language.
  • Data visualization: By presenting the analyzed data visually, tools like Tableau and PowerBI enable non-technical team members better grasp it.
  • Machine learning: As companies seek out predictive analysis, having a basic understanding of machine learning techniques is crucial.

Soft skills:

  • Problem-Solving: Data analysts must adopt an analytical mentality to analyze complex data
    and glean valuable insights.
  • Communication: To deliver data findings to stakeholders in a simple, understandable
    manner, concise and effective communication is crucial.
  • Attention to Detail: This skill is crucial as overlooking the smallest detail in data analysis
    can lead to incorrect conclusions.
  • Critical Thinking: To ensure accuracy and relevance, data analysts must be able to
    challenge presumptions and evaluate data.
  • Business Acumen: Understanding the business domain is crucial for a data analyst to
    identify the right questions to ask and interpret data in a business context.

Educational pathways

Although a bachelor’s degree in statistics, mathematics, or computer science provides a strong
foundation, it isn’t the only path to becoming a data analyst. 

Professional training in data analysis is available through a wide variety of online courses and boot
camps. Credibility-boosting qualifications like Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Scientist Associate
and Certified Analytics Professional (CAP) can also be obtained. Select the educational path that
best fits your background and professional aspirations.

Getting hands-on: Practical experience and portfolio building


The field of data analysis requires a great deal of practical experience. Take part in internship programs or work
on initiatives that let you put what you’ve learned into practice. Think about participating in open-
source initiatives or Kaggle challenges to hone your skills with actual data. 

Additionally crucial is portfolio development. It enables you to demonstrate your aptitude to
potential employers and offer proof of your problem-solving abilities. Include projects where you’ve
effectively modified, cleansed, and visualized data to yield valuable insights.

Job hunting: How to secure your first data analyst position

Finding your first job as a data analyst involves a combination of networking, leveraging online job
platforms, and preparing for interviews. Online communities, local gatherings, and business
conventions are where networking can occur. It’s really easy to discover jobs on websites like
LinkedIn and Indeed. 

Refresh your technical knowledge and be prepared to articulate your thought process when
answering questions about addressing data challenges as you prepare for interviews. Remember that
while your first work may not be your ideal position, it is a step in the right direction and will give
you vital experience.

Keeping up with trends: The future of data analysis

Data analysis constantly changes as the digital era progresses, so keeping up with the most recent
developments are crucial. For instance, the development of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine
learning has already significantly impacted data analysis, improving the capacity to process
enormous volumes of data and forecast patterns. 
Data security and moral data management procedures are likewise becoming more prominent. Data
analysis is anticipated to become increasingly integrated into industries like healthcare, finance, and

Your continued success as a data analyst will depend on your ability to monitor these trends, adapt
to new technology, comprehend how they affect data analysis, and possess the skills required for
data analysis. Strong analytical skills, proficiency in statistical analysis tools, knowledge of
programming languages like Python or R, and the ability to effectively communicate insights are
some of the skills required for a data analyst. Keep honing these skills to stay ahead in the field!


Embarking on a career as a data analyst can be an exciting and rewarding journey. The secret is to
begin with a strong base of skills and expertise, accumulate real-world experience, and continuously
learn and adapt in this always-changing profession. 

Remember that every data story you share helps people make informed decisions that promote
growth and innovation. Prepare to transform data into insights and those into action by doing so. To
stay relevant and advance in your work, never stop studying and improving your skills.