Careers in Data Analytics

data analyst,careers in data analytics

Some of the most sought-after jobs today are in data analytics. The field is expected to grow by 28% through 2026. This growth is fueled by the rising importance of data in business as well as the availability of, and the desire to harness the large amounts of transactional data being collected on businesses, products, and people.

As more businesses realize the power of clean, accurate data, more data analyst professionals are needed to bridge the gap between data and decisions. Interest in data analytics is skyrocketing, and job seekers are pursuing careers in data analytics at unprecedented rates.

Here are a few statistics that highlight exactly how fast the industry is growing:

Whether you’re just starting to research a profession in data analytics, or you’re finishing up a business intelligence program, you’ll want to make sure that you have the necessary skills for success. Many companies are looking for people with data analytics expertise to help them figure out how to improve sales, cut costs, and grow profits. And more importantly, uncover issues within the company quickly so that leadership can spend time on value-added activities.

As analytics continue to play a central role in business, the number of positions in this field will only continue to grow. Here’s how to make yourself marketable as a data analyst.


What exactly does a data analyst do?

Analysts work with data in every role you can imagine. They are employed in marketing, financial services, information technologies, and a wide variety of other areas.

Having a degree is often desired for most data analyst jobs but it is not mandatory. The degrees most sought after in the field of data analytics are typically statistics, math, computer science, and business administration. These degrees help analysts to learn how businesses function from a wealth of different perspectives. Data Analytics is both business and technically focused and as such, having a blend of these is advantageous.

The ability to blend both technical and business knowledge, particularly in the fields of information security, data mining, statistics, and machine learning, is key to becoming a successful data analyst.

Skills Every Data Analyst Should Have

Data analysts use technical data to paint a bigger picture of business operations and trends. They take the data generated by their organization and use it to make predictions that better drive the business. This is why it’s so important to have a mix of technical and soft skills as a data analyst.

A few of the most important skills for data analysts include:Collaboration: In a team environment, collaboration is a must. Data analysts need to be able to explain what they’ve found or what they plan to do with other members of the team.

Communication: In order to effectively communicate data, it is important to be able to communicate ideas, findings, and recommendations in a way that your team will understand. You are your business’s voice on important issues relating to people, culture, technology, and processes, so it’s vital to be able to communicate information and data to others. Check our Communicating with Data blog to learn more about effective communication with your team and clients.

#neverstoplearning: Data analysts don’t do a single thing once. Everything you do is leading toward an outcome. Both on-the-job and in a work-study setting, you will constantly need to develop your competence in order to meet your professional requirements; so don’t stop learning.

Be empathetic: It is important for all data analysts to be empathetic when approaching data and solutions. Understand who may be impacted by these changes and how.

Additionally, we recommend that anyone interested in pursuing a profession in data analytics is also:

  • Always curious
  • Like numbers
  • Always looking for “why”
  • Loves digging deeper
  • Looks at the big picture

How to Stand Out

Data analytics can be learned, but in order to be the best, it’s important to use your technical skills to understand the bigger picture within your business. Many organizations have a “this is the way that we have always done it” mentality. The best data analysts are bold and willing to challenge norms within their organization.

Likewise, they can prioritize what is important and what is not while getting to know business processes inside and out. 

Lastly, the field of data analytics is changing every day. The skills that made you successful this year might not work next year so constant learning is key to stand out in the job market.

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How to Become a Data Person

If you’re one of the many people who want to launch a career in data analytics, you’ve probably heard that there are certain degrees or certifications you’ll need to land your first job. You might have also heard that you’ll need to take a lot of high-level math and statistics classes at the undergraduate level.

The truth is that data analytics jobs require a wide variety of skill sets, including programming classes, math and statistics classes, and communication skills. Many people become great data analysts without all of the prerequisites they feel they need. There are also many ways to develop these capabilities if you are transitioning into data analytics from another career path.

There are many excellent data analytics and BI courses in Canada to prepare you for a career in this field:

If you’re interested in learning more about a profession in data analytics, Founder and President of Iteration Insights Chris Sorensen is delivering a webinar for CPA Alberta on May 26, 2021. Click here to register.

Careers in Data Analytics FAQs

What is a data analyst?

A data analyst is a person who uses clean, accurate data to make decisions that drive their organization towards its strategic goals. Data analysts collect and analyze data that is used to make business predictions, uncover any potential issues quickly, and free up time at the managerial level so leadership can focus on value-added activities.

What skills does a data analyst need?

A data analyst must have a mixture of technical and soft skills. Data analysts must know how to use an analytics tool, such as Power BI or Tableau. But they must also possess a variety of soft competencies to really bring that data to life. Soft skills for data analysts include strong business acumen, the ability to produce and present reports, the ability to spot patterns, and strong communication skills.

How can I develop my skills as a data analyst?

Data analysts must continually learn and develop their expertise in order to stay on top of ever-changing industry trends. Most post-secondary institutions offer courses in data science. Consider signing up for certificate programs, master’s programs, attending webinars and other events and subscribing to industry blogs and podcasts.

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Chris Sorensen CPA, CGA, is the Founder and President of Iteration Insights. He is a Microsoft Certified Data Analyst Associate and Microsoft Certified Trainer with a combined 20+ years of industry and teaching experience. Chris provides our partners with the data-driven solutions they seek and has proven capabilities to train and empower their people in analytics. Following his lifelong learning approach, Chris also coordinates both Power Platform and Azure Analytics User Groups, providing a space dedicated to knowledge-sharing and growing Alberta's tech community.

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