Data Analytics Jobs: Why Data Makes a Great Career

tax-season-mess-messy-teamwork-office-computer-laptop-technology-group-people-corporate-work-meeting_t20_NQJ0EnIf there is one thing that has become apparent in recent years, it’s that we have become a technology-centric world. Even our personal devices use predictive analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) technology to enhance our user experience and create lightning-fast access to information. Enterprise businesses are able to connect with people across more channels than ever before, providing a streamlined experience that is both consistent and dynamic. At the heart of all this sophisticated technology is data.

Data is the foundation for many of the machine learning and AI applications that power the seamless technology environment we are used to today. Sounds easy, right? But that data is only useful to us because of the data analyst.

Along with the three other pillars of IT — infrastructure, development and security — data helps to form the functional IT framework that informs our technology landscape. The ability to analyze data is at the heart of many of our emerging technologies.

Data analysts are responsible for managing and applying all the complex information that is used by these technologies. When successful, good data management allows businesses to save time by building process automation and making strategic decisions.

What Does a Data Analytics Career Look Like?

Jobs in data analytics can make for highly rewarding careers, especially for someone interested in emerging tech. Data is a relatively new field with expanding possibilities and applications across many different industries. That said, there are some commonalities in what’s included in data analytics job descriptions. It’s important to recognize, too, that there’s more to data than a career in analytics.

4 Data Job Categories

As data becomes increasingly important for all business functions within an organization, jobs in this field are branching and evolving. More data skills are needed to meet the various demands of the business. Below, you’ll find general job descriptions and salary information for data-based job roles.

Data-based job roles generally fall into four categories.

1. Database administrator: Median wage is $93,750 per year

These individuals manage the database environment. This is likely to involve tasks such as configuration, maintenance and backup of database systems. Database administrators are also responsible for updating databases to work with new technologies and developing database-related policies for maintenance, security and system usage.

2. Data analyst: Median wage is $72,291 per year

Data analysts dig a little deeper to collect, validate and clean data to allow for informed decision making. This may involve implementing databases or other data collection systems. These individuals also report on that data to implement optimized business processes. Data analysts may also be expected to design and/or implement data models or methodologies.

3. Data scientist: Median wage is $122,840 per year

Data scientists play a critical role in applying data findings for business outcomes. These individuals are responsible for identifying patterns in data, interpreting collections of big data and ensuring data hygiene. They also typically stay up-to-date on data analysis trends and communicate findings to stakeholders, often through data visualizations and other interpretive means.

4. Data architect: Estimated average wage is $121,198 per year

The role of the data architect is relatively new, so the salary data is a bit undefined. The following jobs and salaries are comparable to a data architect:

  • Computer network architect: Median wage is $112,690
  • Database administrator: Median wage is $93,750
  • Computer programmer: Median wage is $86,550

Generally, data architects are responsible for designing, implementing and maintaining the data in an organization. This typically involves developing a data strategy and designing the databases and data structures that ensure the strategy can be utilized. Data architects oversee data performance and functionality and implement end-to-end models to ensure data security and integrity.

Analytics Careers Across Industries

As data becomes more and more useful for different business purposes, the data analyst role has integrated into various functions.

The Data Analyst in Marketing

Data has had an extreme impact in the world of marketing. Years ago, companies had to survey customers to identify preferences, shopping patterns and consumer behaviors. Now,data gives marketing pros valuable insight into what customers want to buy and how to better cross-sell and up-sell. Additionally, marketers better understand which channels consumers prefer and have access to a wealth of knowledge to help them segment audiences.

The Data Analyst in Finance

Finance has long occupied the role of managing business funds to allow for operational success and revenue generation. In years past, finance has had to make sense of huge amounts of raw data to accurately manage when and where a business should allocate its funds.

In more recent years,data analysts have become pivotal in transforming financial data into business insights. Data analysts allow for better decision making, help to provide a better understanding of KPIs and allow for appropriate scrutiny of financial transactions. Data analytics also helps to enhance predictive capabilities and forecasting for future business needs.

The Data Analyst in Health Care

The health care industry is persistently trying to innovate to develop better patient outcomes and predict and prevent widespread illness. On the individual patient level, data analytics plays a critical role in helping to identify patterns and anomalies in patient history, which can help to predict future needs.

From a population perspective, data analytics can be used to develop predictive models to manage large-scale coordination of patient care and identify potential outbreak areas. Whether it’s helping to combat a pandemic or enhancing care for individuals, data analytics certainly has been a pivotal element in health care.

How to Get into Data Analytics

Data analytics requires a specific set of skills and qualifications. Having a college degree definitely helps, but there are additional ways to get the skills you need for a data career.

Data Analyst Skills

Data analysts need to have a strong mix of technical and mathematical skills. Much of data analysis involves critical thinking and problem solving. It also helps to have skills in data visualization so that you can communicate findings to business stakeholders, helping to interpret highly technical information into easily understandable solutions. An understanding of machine learning algorithms and programming languages is also a very useful data analyst skill.

Data Analyst Qualifications

Ideally, you would want a bachelor’s degree in a strong analytical field, such as statistical analysis or computer science. However, more and more educational institutions are beginning to offer specialized degrees in data analysis. Many job candidates will want to augment a formal degree with a data analytics certification to prove their knowledge in this specialized field for job-specific applications.

In early 2022, IT certifications leader CompTIA is launching a new data analytics certification, CompTIA Data+. It validates the data analytics skills and talent organizations need to fuel innovation.

Compared to other professional certificates and certifications, CompTIA Data+ is the only entry-level, vendor-neutral, hands-on data analytics certification on the market. It proves a candidate's ability to not only analyze and report on complex datasets, but also adhere to oversight and data quality standards.

How to Learn Data Analytics

Now that you know what employers are looking for, how do you get a job as a data analyst? First, you’ll need the right knowledge and hands-on skills. There are lots of ways to learn, including data analytics courses and self-study options.

Data Analytics Training from CompTIA

With the launch of the CompTIA Data+ certification will come data analytics training solutions, including the full CompTIA CertMaster suite of products:

  • CertMaster Learn: Learn at your own pace with interactive lessons and videos.
  • CompTIA Labs: Get hands-on practice using real, virtual tools, not simulators.
  • CertMaster Practice: Test your knowledge and find out if you're ready for your certification exam.

We’ll also release a comprehensive textbook, The Official CompTIA Study Guide for Data+. Learn and review exam objectives with the only study guide developed by CompTIA for certification candidates. And, if you prefer instructor-led training to self-study, CompTIA authorized partners will begin offering classes. Whether you learn best in a classroom environment or prefer training at your own pace, you have options.

Data Analytics Certification from CompTIA

When you’re ready, you can take your exam for CompTIA’s new data analytics certification online or in person at a testing center. When you take a CompTIA online exam, you still need to register for a Pearson VUE testing account and abide by exam rules. Taking your exam online from a familiar location may help reduce the stress or delays of a testing environment.

CompTIA Data+ covers the skills you need in data analytics. Start gaining skills like data visualization, data mining and more with CompTIA CertMaster Learn + Labs for Data+. Sign up for a free trial today!

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