Where can your Data Analytics Career take you?
Data Analyst is one of the hottest jobs on the current job market but in today’s ever-changing business landscape, what is the outlook for your career prospects long-term?
The rise in demand for Data Analysts is of course a reflection of a general realisation across the business world that leveraging data equals better business. With more and more companies generating, collecting and storing data, the need for skilled individuals able to mine that data for valuable insights has understandably grown.
Data Analyst jobs are of course the most commonly associated title in the wider analytics field and fundamentally provide the best grounding for anyone wanting to work in data analytics. Spanning numerous industries, specific job titles may differ according to their industry designation, for example Healthcare Data Analyst, Intelligence Analyst, Business Analyst, IT Data Analyst and so on are just a few of the possible job titles an Analyst role can appear under. Ultimately however they are all one and the same. Placing you on the front line, your responsibilities include the extraction of data, likely cleaning a lot of messy data and then analysing said data in order to share your findings with the key stakeholders and decision makers of the business.
Depending on your level of experience and the company itself, the likely route in will be an entry-level or junior position. The expectation for those starting a career in data analytics is that you possess a basic knowledge of programming languages such as Python and R, some experience with SQL, and data visualisation skills. The aim then is to learn on the job to deepen and broaden your knowledge and skillset in order to open up the opportunities available to you.
With 2-3 years’ experience you could be in a position to advance to Senior Data Analyst, but your options don’t end there. A lateral move could see you take on the role of Business Analyst, or Business Intelligence Analyst which shares a fair amount in common with the Data Analyst position. Your main objective would be using your insights to optimise the overall functioning of the business. So, in extension of the traditional sourcing and analysis of data you would also be a key mechanism in strategic decision-making and influencing the direction of the company.
A technical step above the Data Analyst role is working in data science, which takes that fundamental understanding of data and elevates it to become a tool used for making predictive models designed to estimate future outcomes. Data Scientists are experts not only in manipulating data but also in writing algorithms, as well as utilising machine learning and their advanced programming capabilities. It is also one of the highest paid analytics jobs, with the average UK salary rounding out to around £54,000 per annum, compared to the £31,169 of a Data Analyst (Indeed.co.uk).
Once you’ve gathered a good amount of practical experience in the data analytics space and you’re looking for a more flexible and varied career, you could become a consultant. Data Analytics Consultants will either work for an agency or in a freelance capacity with the freedom to potentially work for more than company at a time. The average UK salary for a Data Analytics Consultant ranges from £59,000 to £70,000 per annum.
The beauty of data analytics is the fact that it is applicable to nearly every type of industry and when you reach consultant level you have the prerogative to be selective about which industry to work in and which clients you take on.
Considering there is a skills deficit in the data analytics market currently, you should find plenty of opportunities to develop your expertise on the job with many companies willing to provide training in-house. So, if programming and using code to problem solve are what makes you tick, the next step is finding the data analyst career path that suits you.