A data analyst converts raw data into meaningful information that organisations use to improve their performance.
Data is a key resource of the modern age. It helps us to forecast financial trends and predict what people will buy. You will identify patterns to help organisations capitalise on new opportunities or prevent future risks.
Here at City, University of London, our data science programmes prepare you for a career of developing creative analytical data solutions across various industries.
Data analysts are currently demanded across various sectors, as organisations increasingly gain a greater appreciation of data and its wide-reaching power.
What can I expect as a data analyst?
Working life as a data analyst demands an intensively rigorous level of attention to detail on a day-to-day and minute-to-minute basis.
You will analyse, interpret and extract high volumes of data through data mining, artificial intelligence, machine learning and statistical tools.
Your findings will be simple to understand and have the capacity to affect potentially profound strategic change. You will have to confidence to present results in a clear and engaging way.
Typical data analyst duties include:
- Expertly using advanced computerised models
- Building algorithms and design experiments to merge, manage, interrogate and extract data
- Removing corrupted data
- Test data mining models and select the most appropriate
- Data quality analysis
- Assessing the effectiveness of data sources and data-gathering techniques
- Improve data collection methods
- Data meaning analysis
- Additional data screening analysis
- Preparing analysis based reports
- Continually monitor new technology and techniques
- Presenting findings.
Related courses at City
Whatever your level of interest in becoming a data analyst, City's courses can help you take one step closer to a career, develop specialisms that'll set you apart from the field or broaden your horizons with study in related subjects.
Who can I work for as a data analyst?
Organisations of all sizes and industries are waking up to the power of data, giving you increasing scope. You can work across sectors from finance and academia, to health, retail and government.
Employers investing the most in data analysis are typically found in the finance, retail and ecommerce sectors. But sectors such as telecoms, utilities and transport are adopting data solutions to make decisions concerning their workforce, operations or sales.
After a number of years working in data analysis, you might move on to work for specialist consultancies in client-facing roles that focus on high value projects.
What about data analyst work experience?
Data science internships are offered by a number of larger employers in finance, retail and travel. It could be worth conducting research to find organisations of interest to you before establishing contact.
Internships and placements tend to be advertised in the autumn but you may need to make targeted applications to find out about opportunities at small to medium sized organisations.
Work experience is vital but there is also real value in taking self-directed learning in programming or analysis. This can positively reflect your dedication to the field.
Data science competitions held online are a popular way for companies to identify new and emerging talent. They also offer you the chance to put yourself in front of prospective employers. Organisations hosting competitions include Kaggle and Topcoder while the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) sponsors the new Data Science Challenge.
What are my prospects as a data analyst?
The power and sophistication of data will only get stronger in the coming decades, so your prospects as a data analyst are good. Its continued influence and expansion as a field is virtually guaranteed.
Promotion from junior to senior data analyst level can take between two to five years. With five years of industry experience you are likely to gain responsibility for managing staff with less experience.
Your skills as a data analyst will be transferable across sectors, making it relatively straightforward to make career moves which have greater personal appeal.
Other routes to consider might include joining, or even founding, an early-stage start-up company to work on outsourced projects. Or you might move into research.