Getting a job in Analytics
Exploring careers under the analytics umbrella, whether considering data analytics, business analytics, big data analytics or even data science, uncovers diverse pathways that share a surprisingly homogeneous foundation. With most entering the wider field from a Data Analyst route, foundational requirements of all analytics positions see fundamentals like Python, SQL and statistics degrees a common fixture across the analytics board.
Beyond these shared skillsets, jobs in analytics boast lucrative salaries even at entry level with opportunities spanning industries, offering flexible working arrangements and reaching a demand at an all-time high. A demand which is anticipated to hit 2,720,000 by 2020 in the U.S. alone, according to IBM.
Below delves into how analytics novices can translate aspiration into a career in analytics.
Qualifications & Certifications
Of the degrees which are highly valued, majors in economics, statistics and computer science tick the most boxes, but broader mathematics degrees also hold value. A degree of some form is fairly non-negotiable. In fact, a 2019 Burtch Works study found that eighty-eight percent of analytics professionals have progressed beyond a bachelor’s degree with a master's degree, and a further eighteen percent have a Ph.D.
For those who are sans degree or experience, certifications are worth exploring. They give a platform to demonstrate expertise of those industry-required skills and a chance to prove them against vendor-specific standards. Valued certifications include Certified Analytics Professional (CAP), Cloudera Certified Associate (CCA) Data Analyst and the Certification of Professional Achievement in Data Sciences. SAS certifications also offer a range of highly credible options.
Finally, Kaggle is an excellent platform that is valued on-par with these certifications, internships and work experience by employers. Described as Airbnb for Data Scientists, Kaggle is an online platform that gives users a place to gain practical experience, compete in competitions and work with large, real-world data sets comparable to ones used in the workplace.
Whilst university qualifications and further certifications are the typical mandate for analytics professionals, demonstrable technical knowledge is what employers and recruiters are assessing during the interview stage.
Required knowledge and experience of programming languages, specifically Python and R, and their application to analytics is unsurprising. Even if not a specific job requirement, Python experience specifically gives a serious upper hand when trying to highlight potential value to an employer.
Knowledge of SQL (pronounce 'sequel') basics is another vital language, valuable not only for employers. Unlike Python and R, SQL is a Query language that allows analytics professionals to confidently work with, manipulate and navigate large data sets. With SQL in-demand in almost every analytics position, it is a valuable tool to have mastered.
Finally, the ability to demonstrate data visualisation and communication skills is a strong green flag for employers. Whilst closely linked to Data Science, translating and visualising data into business-relevant information will give all analysts professionals a strong advantage.
Stepping into the analytics field sees entry and intermediate-level roles that are highly diverse. As with many industries, specialisation comes with experience and seniority. Yet, landing these entry-level positions can be a challenge in itself. Even with a stellar degree and experience that ticks those entry-level requirements, landing a position has been described as a practice in patience.
When looking for entry-level roles, jobseekers should explore Data Analyst jobs, Information Scientist positions or Business Analyst jobs. Here is where having a bachelor's degree is beneficial with many of these analyst roles requiring a degree as a replacement for an applicant’s lacked experience. Holding a relevant degree from a regarded university is generally enough to get applicants to the interview phase for many entry-level roles.
With companies paying premium for analytics professionals and demand reaching an unprecedented level, there has never been a better time for budding analysts to move into the field. When the impressive career trajectory is added to the equation, there is little doubt why analytics has been labelled one of the sexiest jobs of the twenty first century.