How to Become a Data Analyst with No Experience or Degree

Sept. 5, 2022

With an average salary of $69,945 per year in the US, data analysis can be a lucrative career for those with strong skills in maths, statistics, and problem-solving. But how do you get a foot in the door? And what if you don’t have a degree or prior work experience?
How to Become a Data Analyst with No Experience or Degree

Well, read on for everything that you need to know about starting in data analysis without having any connections to the industry, including a look at why finding a mentor via MentorCruise can help you devise a great plan to start in the industry!

What is a Data Analyst?

Data is critical for decision-making, detecting issues, and identifying gaps within an organization. Of course, while software can take care of data collection, someone needs to analyze this data accumulation and derive insights accordingly.

A data analyst will look at data from various aspects of a business, such as customer behavior or staff performance, and provide leadership with a report on how the company is faring, where improvements can be made, and which investments (such as new products or software) make the most sense of long-term profitability.

In short, a data analyst looks at data with the intention of using it to identify and solve problems.

Some Certifications You Can Take to Become a Data Analyst

There are various different paths that you can take to become a data analyst. Some people pursue a bachelor’s degree to secure themselves a spot within the ever-growing tech industry. While there isn’t a bachelor’s degree in data analytics available, most people with this career path in mind will work towards a degree in mathematics, economics, computer science or statistics. The majority of these degrees take four years to complete when tackling them full-time.

A slightly faster route to a career in data analytics is to obtain a certification in data analytics. This involves taking a more hands-on, project-based course with a specific focus on mastering the skills necessary for this particular role.

It can be worthwhile enrolling to pursue a certification. For instance, some data analytics bootcamps can help you to build an impressive portfolio, involve some form of mentorship or on-the-job experience, and even provide you with the right networking opportunities to begin an internship!

What is the Earning Potential for a Data Analyst?

According to Indeed, the average data analyst in the United States earns $69,945 per annum. As with most professions, your earning potential increases based on experience. Entry-level data analysts can expect to rake in approximately$66,293 per annum, while data analysts with at least 10 years’ experience are looking at upwards of $82,798 per annum.

What’s the Outlook for the Data Industry?

The data industry is booming and there’s a huge talent shortage, which means this is a fantastic realm in which to build a career. As businesses attempt to keep up with the evolving data market, they’re constantly in search of professionals with the skills and know-how to help them do it.

Statistics show that the majority of companies across the United States are investing in data projects. According to a survey conducted by QuantHub, business owners claim that the realm of data analytics is the second most difficult to find skilled professionals – second only to cybersecurity.

What Personality Type is Best Suited to a Career in Data Analytics?

While anyone can become a data analyst if they’re willing to put in the hard work, it’s true that certain personality types are better suited to the profession.

The most important personality trait for successful data analysts is an innate sense of curiosity. You should also be good at explaining concepts, conducting research and using your findings to solve problems.

A successful data analyst is also usually someone who pays attention to smaller details rather than just looking at the bigger picture. They can work on their own or as part of a team.

What Are the Skills Needed to Become a Data Analyst?

  • Strong analytical skills: First and foremost, you’ll need to be able to analyze data and information to identify patterns, trends and problems.

  • Programming languages: Data analysts will communicate findings using specific programming languages, and most organizations have their own preferences. You’ll notice which programming languages an organization prefers when applying to job ads, with the most common programming languages being Python and R. Did you know that you can find a mentor specializing in Python right here at MentorCruise?

  • A knowledge of software and digital tools: Technology plays a massive role in data analytics, so you’ll need to be familiar with the software and various digital tools to make your job easier and to maximize your productivity.

  • Attention to detail: The smallest fluctuation or change in data could indicate an impending problem or an inefficiency. As a data analyst, it will be up to you to pick up on and flag these minor discrepancies.

  • Organizational skills: Staying organized is key to excelling as a data analyst.

  • SQL: You’ll usually need to know Structured Query Language (SQL) to access data within an organization. It’s a special language used to communicate with databases and is, luckily, relatively straightforward to learn.

  • Statistical visualization: It’s not enough for you to understand your findings – you’ll need to communicate them, too. You’ll do this via statistical visualization using specific software.

The Types of Data Analyst Jobs That Don’t Require Experience

  • Data analyst intern: This involves assisting an organization’s data team and figuring out which aspects of the work you like.

  • Data entry clerk: This job involves updating databases with minimal analysis. It’s a great springboard for bigger and better positions as you get more comfortable working with numbers.

  • Entry-level data analyst: This is a step-up and involves data input and basic data analysis.

  • Quality assurance analyst: These analysts use data to determine quality based on specified standards, usually in relation to a company’s products or services.

  • Business analyst consultant: These data analysts are client-facing and use their skills to analyze data and provide insights. Junior business analyst consultants usually work as part of a bigger team of consultants rather than on their own.

  • Data quality analyst: These analysts analyse the accuracy of an organization’s data itself. They also optimize databases to improve future findings.

Tips for Finding a Data Analyst Job with No Experience

  • Start off with self-study: The more you can teach yourself before receiving on-the-job training, the better. The great news is that you have the internet at your disposal and plenty of free information and tutorials right at your fingertips! Start with learning SQL, R and Python to give yourself a head-start.

  • Get hands-on with your own projects: The knowledge you’ve garnered through self-study isn’t enough if you don’t know how to use it in practice! Take the time to design data projects and work on communicating your findings. You could offer to do this for free for a friend or relative with their own business. (Here’s some info on which data projects could help land you your first job).

  • Apply for an internship: Many data analyst internships are paid, and it’s a fantastic way to start racking up some experience and further expand on your skills and employability. Even if you can’t find a paid internship, it’s possible to still earn some money on the side in your free time if you manage your time well.

  • Grow a professional network: As with every other profession, the people you know go a long way towards building a sturdy career. Make an effort to connect with other data analysts and to sign up to join LinkedIn to participate in industry-related groups and events.

  • Build up a portfolio: If you have something on hand to help you showcase your work, it’ll be easier to land a job when you’re ready to start applying. Be sure to research examples of data analyst portfolios to ensure you’re following industry best practices when compiling your own.

  • Find a mentor: A data analytics mentor can help guide you on your path to landing a job in the data analytics field and beyond, even if you’re just starting out with self-study. They can provide you with invaluable advice regarding which skills to work on, which companies to apply to, and how to impress during your job interviews. Once you’ve kick-started your career, a mentor will also be able to provide insights into how to climb the ladder and increase your earnings.

Find a Mentor at MentorCruise

At Mentor Cruise, we’re here to streamline your road to success as a data analyst or a data analyst. No more wondering how to become a data analyst with no experience – finding a mentor is the ultimate starting point where the only way is up! Get online mentoring from a trained, experienced expert and get on the career track you want to be. Apply today!

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