In sketching out a typical data analytics career path, we’ll focus on the most typical data analytics position: data analyst. At the end, we’ll touch on alternative roles, such as data scientist, data engineer, and data architect, that experienced data analysts can transition into.
Bachelor’s Degree, Bootcamp, or Certificate Program
Most aspiring data analysts start their journey through a bachelor’s degree, bootcamp, or certificate program that will impart data analytics skills.
Data Analytics Bachelor’s Degrees
While specific bachelor’s degrees in data analytics do exist, students interested in ultimately going into the field often major in related fields like applied mathematics, computer science, or even economics, finance, or business if they want to focus on business analytics (read more about business analytics in our explainer). These majors often offer instruction in the skill areas outlined above, while distribution courses in the social sciences or the humanities can help students build crucial soft skills like storytelling and critical thinking.
Most bachelor’s degrees require a four-year commitment, but tuition varies widely. According to educationdata.org, the average undergraduate paying in-state tuition at a public university will pay a total of $102,828 over four years, while an undergraduate at a private university will pay $218,004.
If you’re interested in learning more about data analytics bachelor’s degrees, head to our guide to the best data analytics undergraduate colleges and universities.
Data Analytics Bootcamps
For someone who’s already earned a bachelor’s degree in another field or who simply doesn’t want to invest the time and money it takes to earn a four-year degree, data analytics bootcamps offer a path into data analytics measured in months, not years, with an average tuition of $11,727.
Data analytics bootcamps are geared towards providing attendees with the training needed to secure an entry-level position in the field. Accordingly, the emphasis is often on practical application rather than theory. For this reason, most bootcamps culminate with a capstone project of some kind, which lets students apply what they’ve learned in a real-world setting and begin building a data analytics portfolio to use for recruitment.
If you’re interested in learning more about these kinds of opportunities, head to our data analytics bootcamp guide.
Data Analytics Certificate Programs
An alternative to a data analytics bootcamp for someone who already possesses some of the skills necessary to work as a data analyst is a data analytics certificate program. These programs can often be completed more quickly, with some focused on developing specific skills instead of a comprehensive skill set. Other certificate programs do offer comprehensive instruction but provide less interaction and career support. In exchange, the cost of attending can be lower.
For more on the different kinds of data analytics certificate programs out there, head to our guide.
At the same time as they complete their first course of data analytics study, aspiring data analysts will usually start their job search. Generally, the recruitment process will involve:
completing an internship to build experience and develop a relationship with ah company,
utilizing career-support services and staff provided by a university or bootcamp,
networking, first through friends, family, and alumni, and then building out,
researching data analytics roles in different industries,
building out a data analytics portfolio through school- and independent projects,
and optimizing a resume to highlight skills and experience.
For tips and recommendations for the data analytics job hunt, check out our step-by-step guide to landing a data analyst job.
Junior Data Analyst
Aspiring data analysts will generally find their first success — and the first stop on their career path — as a junior data analyst. On average, junior data analysts make $57,266 according to Salary.com. While some companies ask that candidates bring with them a certain amount of experience in the field, these requirements can often be met through internships and education, especially if the candidate can demonstrate mastery of technical skills. Sometimes, employers will also ask that entry-level candidates have relevant industry experience, a requirement that can also be met through internships.