How to Level Up Your Data Analyst Career

Ready to level up your data analytics career? In this post we'll cover a number of routes you can take to advance, including skills to work on, professional development, job titles to explore, and more!
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Data Analytics is one of the most widely applicable professions across the business and tech world. Almost 90 percent of all data has been created in just the past two years, and companies are hiring individuals who can transform that data into actionable insights at a rapid clip to meet demand.

Of course, this makes business sense, too, as data-driven companies are 58% more likely to beat revenue goals than those who are not focused on data according to Forrester Consulting. All of this is to say that landing a career in data analytics can be lucrative and fulfilling, as long as you find the right position to match your level of experience and ability.

From what type of position and salary you can expect to make at the beginning, middle, and later stages of your career, to the skills and certifications you have to have, we’re breaking down everything you should know about a data analyst career in this article! 

Data Analyst Skills

Any Data Analyst must possess a variety of skills as a baseline to function in an entry-level position. Regardless of institution type, analysts are responsible for designing and maintaining data systems and interpreting data sets using statistical tools. Their gleanings are used to spot trends, make forecasts, and provide insights to cross-functional collaborators. On the technical side, they are expected to know:

  • Fundamental statistics skills
  • Database querying skills with SQL
  • Familiarity with Python and R coding language 
  • Ability to use data visualization and business intelligence tools like Tableau and Excel
  • Knowledge of data ethics and business needs analyses

Acquiring these core skills is critical as you look towards landing your first role. This will likely take a great deal of time and commitment and might require the completion of a formal educational program—like an associate’s degree, undergraduate degree, or a specialty bootcamp.

Along with building your skillset, you should also consider strengthening your technical resume, developing a professional portfolio, and preparing for a technical interview. Now the truly challenging part begins—finding a job! 

Entry-Level Data Analyst Roles

Your first job in the data analysis world is likely to be “junior analyst” or simply “data analyst.” At bigger corporations, this position is normally responsible for extracting data, cleaning data, performing analysis alongside a greater team, and sharing day-to-day insights. 

Your past experience and the size of a company will determine if you start in a junior role. Analytics relies on a broad range of skills, including communication, problem-solving, and business acumen, so you might possess transferable skills you don’t even realize. A junior role can help build job-specific skills like querying data with SQL, building data integrations, and give you a sense of the career in general. 

Overall, these types of roles can be found in a variety of industries, which are especially concentrated in business intelligence, finance, healthcare, and media and entertainment.

Entry-Level Data Analyst Salaries

According to data from Indeed.com, entry-level data roles typically command salaries in the $40,000-$60,000 range, which is higher than the national average. Proving yourself in this role is an excellent way to ensure long-term career success!


RoleAverage U.S. Salary
Junior Analyst$50,242
Entry-Level Analyst$39,057
Data Analayst$65,674
Associate Analyst$61,500

Mid-Level Data Analyst Roles

Within 2-5 years, many analysts find themselves ready to take the next step of their professional journey. How long it takes you to reach this step depends on your organization, and if you choose to stay within the same company or look elsewhere. A logical next step here is to take on a role as a Senior Data Analyst or Analytics Manager. These roles will have you taking on a leadership role within a team, deciding on tools and databases to use, and mentoring junior employees. An important aspect of this career stage likely includes becoming comfortable taking the lead in preparing and presenting reports to external stakeholders, including upper-level management.

Another possible career path at this point is to transition from a Data Analyst to a Data Scientist. Although the two titles are used interchangeably, they are two distinct roles. Data Science incorporates more advanced techniques to manipulate databases and develop models. You can build on your existing data analysis skills by learning complex data modeling, machine learning, and algorithms to step into this type of role. Keep in mind, at each organization there’s not necessarily a linear path between these two roles, with overlap between the responsibilities they take on.


Mid-Level Data Analyst Salaries

At this stage in your career as a data professional, you can expect to approach, if not surpass, a low six-figure salary. This figure can vary based on geographic location, industry, and years of expertise. 


RoleAverage U.S. Salary
Senior Data Analyst$85,432
Data Scientist$115,103
Data Engineer$119,855
Data Analytics Manager$99,459

Senior-Level Data Analyst Roles

After several years of experience (anywhere in the neighborhood of 6-10), it might be time to ascend to an upper-management level role. A Chief Data Officer (CDO) or Chief Analytics Officer (CAO) is responsible for the utilization and governance of data across an entire organization. This senior executive takes a step back from the day-to-day responsibilities to guide the overall strategy and direction of the organization using insights from the analyst team. This role often reports directly to the Chief Operating Officer (COO) or Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

Working for several years also gives individuals the ability to leave the corporate world altogether in favor of consulting. Another popular option, becoming a data consultant grants one flexibility to remain self-employed and work with a variety of different clients. Becoming part of a consulting firm is also an option. 


Senior-Level Data Analyst Salaries

At this point in your career, you can expect to earn close to $200,000 yearly. These roles often include additional compensation in the form of stock options, profit-sharing, or other on-the-job perks. 


RoleAverage U.S. Salary
Chief Data Officer$178,606
Chief Analytics Officer$144,344
Data Consultant$89,514
Chief Technology Officer$130,221

Specialty Data Analyst Roles and Salaries

Along the career path, Data Analysts have the opportunity to hone their expertise on a particular specialty, combining their analyst expertise with their chosen area of interest. Because the field applies to so many industries, the options here are nearly endless! Here are just a few examples of these roles you can take on:

  • Business Analyst – Analyzes data specific to the organization and industry they work in
  • Financial Analyst – Utilizes data to guide investment decisions, identify revenue strategies and mitigate financial risks
  • Systems Analyst – Perform cost-benefit analysis to match technological solutions to a company’s needs
  • Healthcare Analyst – Improve medical providers quality of care by analyzing health records and cost reporting
  • Marketing/Digital Marketing Analyst – Analyze market trends across channels to identify areas of opportunity and determine optimal pricing strategies
  • Operations Analyst – Optimizes a company’s performance by identifying and solving technical and procedural bottlenecks using data
  • Corporate Strategy Analyst – Tasked with guiding an organization’s strategy via analysis of key decisions and often involved in mergers and acquisitions.

Specialty Data Analyst Salaries

This is the area in which salaries can vary the most, due to the different degrees of specialized knowledge required for each position. Overall, mid-level career professionals can expect to earn between $60,000-75,000 in these roles.


RoleAverage U.S. Salary
Business Analyst$74,261
Financial Analyst$67,485
Systems Analyst$70,256
Marketing Analyst$59,574
Operations Analyst$70,925

Advancing Your Analytics Career

Making the jump from entry to mid to senior level is often easier in theory than in practice. Here are our top tips for putting yourself in the best position to continue climbing that corporate ladder!

  1. Consider Additional Education – Moving into a management role means seriously upgrading your leadership skills, which could come in the form of a master’s degree in data analytics or business administration. Data Analytics or Data Science Bootcamps are another option to consider if you’re looking to prove your seriousness about the field. These skills-focused programs can be completed online or in person and are a relatively cost-effective way to improve your expertise quickly.
  2. Attain Certifications – A surefire way of becoming qualified for a promotion is by mastering as many complex technical skills as possible. Many universities and even software companies offer ways to ascertain your skill level in the form of “micro-degrees,” official certifications, or badges. You might want to explore this option for tools like SQL, Tableau, R, Python, or within-subject areas—machine learning, data visualization, and advanced statistical analysis are a few to note. 
  3. Never Stop Networking – You can truly never know where your next professional opportunity will come from. Expanding your network is one of the easiest, but most impactful ways to grow your career. Seek out a mentor in your chosen field who can provide you guidance on the proper steps to take to walk in their shoes. Don’t be afraid to reach out to professionals online or engage in online communities where you’ll find like-minded individuals. Staying up-to-date on the latest data happenings is a great way to demonstrate value to your company. 
  4. Always Update – Just because you’re not actively on the lookout for a new role, doesn’t give you an excuse not to keep your resume, social profiles, and portfolio up-to-date. You should always ensure these documents reflect your current abilities and position to present yourself in the best possible light online. 

Learn More About Data Analytics

This article only scratches the surface of what goes into a professional data analytics journey! Check out some of the additional resources we’ve compiled about the field on codingbootcamps.io.

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