What is a data analyst?
Data analysts are an invaluable resource to any modern business, responsible for transforming, cleaning, inspecting and then modelling data in order to help highlight its most important elements.
In turn, this can then enable the analyst to suggest conclusions based on the information, and as a result support decision-making. Data analysts may also take on responsibility for some other areas such as troubleshooting and security measures (often dealt with using the same expertise that the role would use, such as data collection or with reporting systems).
As well as analysing the data itself, data analysts will often be encouraged to predict (or in some cases project) future trends by looking at patterns within current markets and economic conditions.
What are the salary expectations?
Data analysts are considered to be highly skilled professionals. As a result, the role is usually well paid. The average salary for the position in the UK is currently £35,000, but candidates with higher levels of experience can often demand larger salaries. It's not uncommon for more experienced data analysts to command pay in excess of £55,000. For more senior analysts, there is also the potential to be promoted to the role of a senior data analyst, which inevitably opens up even higher pay scales.
Where are the best jobs located?
As with a lot of career paths within the UK, London offers the best potential for earning. As ever, though, it's worth noting the extra living costs or commuter fees that would come from a role in the capital. Other standout locations in terms of salary include Hertfordshire, Hampshire, Yorkshire, Surrey and Leeds.
What are the top skills?
In the current jobs market, it's expected that Data Analysts have a good working knowledge of several technical skills, as well as the more obvious ones such as database technologies, analysis tools and methodologies. Some of the most in-demand skills are SQL, Business Intelligence, Data Warehousing, SAS, VBA and Chronicle.
Boosting a Data Analyst salary with qualifications
As is the case with almost all career paths, demonstrating genuine enthusiasm and passion for the subject will help candidates to access higher levels of earning, as well as the higher-level roles. Taking extra qualifications remains one of the most effective ways of showing this. Fortunately, there are several qualifications that are suitable for data analysts, and multiple courses that can be undertaken. There are a number of MA courses around that would be appropriate, and there are also a number of qualifications based around using both SQL and MS Excel that would help to boost any data analysts' CV.
As with any role, data analysts' earning potential can be given a substantial boost if the applicant is prepared to invest their own time and effort in increasing and developing their skill-set.