As a Data Analyst, you will be responsible for collecting data, organising it in such a way that it can be used, and then presenting the results, in the form of useful information.
Also known as
- Customer Insight Analyst
- Information Analyst
- Reporting Analyst
Data very plays a crucial role in helping businesses and organisations to function effectively. As a Data Analyst, you will be responsible for collecting data, organising it in such a way that it can be used, and then presenting the results in the form of useful information
What form this information or data takes depends on the area you work in. Data Analysts are now being used in almost every walk of life, as organisations begin to realise the importance of the data that they gather, via IT systems and databases. You could be working in:
- Financial Systems
- Government Organisations
- Employment Agencies
- Law Firms
- The NHS
- Retail Companies
In order to make use, and learn from this collected data, your duties could involve:
- requests for particular data extracts
- dealing with data quality issues - can it be used for the intended purpose?
- generating reports from the database
- monitoring database performance
- producing statistical modelling (diagrams that help to explain the data results)
- tracking and managing client activity
- investigating customer data, revealing customer behaviour
Personal Qualities and Skills
As a Data Analyst, you will need to:
- be good with mathematics
- have great IT skills, including being familiar with databases and query languages
- have good analytical skills
- be good at solving problems
- to be able to work to deadlines
- pay attention to details and accuracy
- have great teamworking skills
- be willing to keep up to date with any changes in data protection laws and the latest database technologies
- have excellent communication skills, and to be able to explain technical issues, to non-technical people.
Pay and Opportunities
As a Data Analyst you can expect to earn in the range:
Starting: £20,000 - £25,000
With experience: £30,000 - £40,000
High Flyers: £45,000 - £60,000
Hours of work
Database Analysts usually work 35 hours from Monday to Friday, but might work some late evenings when deadlines require, or work out of hours if systems fail.
Where could I work?
Employers are in every sector of industry and commerce, including banks, building societies, insurance companies and others in the finance sector, and in public service (for example, local and central government departments).
Opportunities for Data Analysts occur in towns and cities throughout the UK. A significant number of vacancies for IT and telecoms professionals are in London and the South East of England.
Future skills needs
Technical skills are highly important in this industry. However, employers have also highlighted the need for the following non-technical skills:
- teamworking skills
- good communication skills
- business skills.
Where are vacancies advertised?
Vacancies are advertised in local/national newspapers, on recruitment and employers' websites, and on Universal Jobmatch (www.gov.uk/jobsearch).
Social media websites, such as LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook, are a great way to network, find vacancies and get in contact with possible employers. Make sure that your profile presents you in a professional manner that will appeal to potential employers.
Take a look at our General Information Article 'Finding Work Online'.
Entry Routes and Training
So, how do you become a Data Analyst?
It is unlikely that you could become a Data Analyst with just GCSEs. However, you could consider getting a lower level job, and training on-the-job. You might be able to get onto an Intermediate or Advanced Level Apprenticeship in IT, Software, Web and Telecoms Professionals, and work your way up. It'll be up to you to learn new skills, and to show that you can progress to Data Analyst roles.
See the subjects section, for a list of relevant GCSE subjects, that could help you to get in.
Or you could decide to move onto study A levels. In order to study A levels, you will usually need five GCSEs (A - C), or equivalent. If you intend to study A levels, then start to think about which subjects you would like to study. IT based subjects at GCSE and A level would help you to stand out from the crowd.
If you intend to leave education straight after completing your GCSEs, you will need to start looking for suitable job vacancies. If you are under 18 you will need to find a job that includes training, part-time study, or apply for an apprenticeship.
If you have completed at least two A levels, including one in a relevant subject, then you might be able to start work as a Data Analyst. See the subjects section, for a list of relevant subjects.
You will need to show that you have good background knowledge of IT and databases.
Or you could choose to go onto university, to study a relevant degree. At university you will learn some of the skills, techniques and technologies, that employers need.
Another option is to get onto a Degree Apprenticeship in a relevant area.
You will need to start carefully planning which A levels you are going to study. IT based subjects at GCSE and A level would help you to stand out from the crowd. Then once you are studying for your A levels, you will need to start looking for suitable job vacancies, or applying to universities through UCAS.
Some employers require you to have a degree before you become a Data Analyst. Degrees in relevant subjects are available at many universities.
In order to get onto a degree course you will usually need at least two A levels. An A level in an IT based subject would be a great help.
Another option is to get onto a Degree Apprenticeship in a relevant area.
So now is a great time to start planning your route through to university. IT based subjects at GCSE and A level would help you to stand out from the crowd. Also, try to get as much experience of working with databases as you can. This could be through work experience, a part-time job, or maybe at school or college.
To get onto an Intermediate or Advanced Level Apprenticeship, you’ll usually need five GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, possibly including English and Maths.
To get onto a Degree Apprenticeship, you will usually need at least 2 A levels.
For entry to a relevant degree course, the usual requirement is:
- 2/3 A levels
- GCSEs at grade C/4 or above in 2/3 other subjects
- English and Maths at GCSE.
Alternatives to A levels include:
- BTEC Level 3 qualifications
- the International Baccalaureate Diploma.
The BTEC Level 3 qualification 'Professional Competence for IT and Telecoms Professionals' will help you to stand out from the crowd. See if a college close to you offers this qualification.
However, course requirements vary so check college/university websites very carefully.
Some universities accept the Welsh Baccalaureate as equivalent to 1 A-level.
It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.
If you don't have the qualifications needed to enter a degree course, you might be able to start one after completing an Access course, for example, Access to Science. You don't usually need any qualifications to enter an Access course, although you should check this with the course provider.
A foundation year before the start of a science degree is available at some universities and higher education colleges for students who don't have the science A levels usually needed for entry to the course.
Apprenticeships: Get In. Go Far
National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)
Skills for business and information technology
Address: 1 Castle Lane, London SW1E 6DR
Tel: 020 7963 8920
BCS: The Chartered Institute for IT
Address: First Floor, Block D, North Star House, North Star Avenue, Swindon SN2 1FA
Tel: 0845 3004417
Bring IT On
Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships
Tel: 0800 028 4844