Data analysis is at the heart of a wide range of businesses and industry sectors, and organisations regularly recruit for data analyst positions.

Data analyst jobs are frequently available through an expert IT recruitment firm like Randstad Technologies, where there is a flow of employment opportunities stemming from long experience in the IT field and through close connections with many major recruiters throughout the country.  The firm highlights jobs for both recent graduates and for those looking to advance their career.

There are several steps that a prospective data analyst needs to take in order to get a foothold in this type of employment. They are outlined below.

Education: school.

An interest in the potential for developing skills as a data analyst can often manifest itself in secondary school, with a focus on subjects such as mathematics and computer science. 

Schools can provide a good grounding through A Levels or NVQs, and their careers department can help to refine that focus to the next level.

Students with an interest in computing can also help themselves by concentrating on learning the basics of the spreadsheet application Microsoft Excel, which is generally used by small to medium-sized companies (SMEs) for their data analysis requirements.

 Learning Excel commands is useful, as is getting to know Microsoft’s Visual Basic for Applications (VBA). Some basic understanding of Structured Query Language (SQL) would also be helpful.

Education: university and college.

It is unusual for a data analyst not to have a post-secondary qualification, so the next step is to find an appropriate university or college course to study for a degree or a diploma. 

A number of subjects are particularly useful when studying to become a data analyst, including a good understanding of statistics and mathematics, together with other subjects such as business studies and accounting. 

As data analyst jobs are frequently found in the finance department of a company, studying any subject that relates to financial data management will prove beneficial.

Work experience.

Becoming a data analyst can be achieved by gaining work experience in related areas. These might include working as a business analyst in an accounts department, or as a computer developer or programmer. A naturally analytical mind is a great bonus when moving into and progressing in this field, as is the ability to problem solve.

Computer skills.

Much of the software used in data analysis is highly specialised, so it is important to take the time to learn and understand how specific computer programs operate in order to become proficient.  It requires dedication and practice, so good IT skills are vital.

Operational work.

Day-to-day activities will vary depending on the industry sector, but may include:

  • market Research analysis
  • analysing consumer feedback trends
  • forcasting demands for services or goods
  • working to find patterns and trends that will help companies take business decisions
  • checking up on quality control standards.

As with any job that requires large amounts of data to be analysed, there will be a range of different tasks to do at various points of the business cycle.

How much does a data analyst earn?

In 2018 the average pay expectation for a data analyst in the UK is £25,511 per year. The location with the highest average salary for the role is London coming out at £32,000 per year.