Deciding to learn a skill and actually learning it is a road that’s harder than it seems. There are countless what-ifs in between that an individual has to go through, and sometimes questions like “Is it really worth it?” and “How long will it take?” pop up in mind and threaten the endeavors of a person.
So, if you’re also someone going through these stages and planning to pursue a career in data analytics, you might be at the perfect spot. In this article, I will discuss in detail how you can become a data analyst. And how long does it take till you can start cashing your skill?
Speaking of cashing your skills, please go through our article on How Much do Data Analysts Make? It’s quite comprehensive, it tells you all about potential income by experience level, the different roles, industries, and salary by country as well. Check it Here.
So, make sure you give it a thorough read, as I’ll also be dropping some important resources that can help you become a data analyst in the shortest span possible. However, before we jump on, let’s quickly recall what data analytics is all about. So, let’s start!
What is Data Analytics?
Data analytics is all about playing around with structured and unstructured data with the ultimate aim of extracting some actionable insights from it. These useful insights that the data provides become the driving force of better decision-making for organizations.
For example, consider a toy manufacturing business that collects customer data from its official page on social media websites. Turns out, if you employ the correct data analytics tools and techniques, all this customer data could provide insights such as the location where most of the customer base is located, the items most customers are interested in, and the specific age groups of customers viewing the products.
All these things, once studied in-depth, could help the organization shape their next product or marketing campaign, where they can easily target the right traffic and get the highest ROI. However, this is just a tiny example of the vast applications of data analytics.
How Long Does It Take to Learn Data Analytics?
On average, considering low to proficient coding skills and statistical knowledge, it takes anywhere between 6 weeks to 3 years to become an industry-ready data analyst.
Data analytics is a complex field since dealing with raw data, and given the huge quantity it’s available nowadays, isn’t simple by a long shot. Data analysts have to be skilled at big data and data visualization tools to effectively study the data to extract trends and patterns from it.
Moreover, it requires a decent level of programming knowledge as well. Python and R are the two most widely used languages that come in handy for data analysts. So, one needs to be proficient in either of them to become a skilled data analyst.
If you have a strong mathematical knowledge and a solid grasp of Python/R, your best bet is about six weeks. But, if you’re not comfortable with coding and don’t have a solid mathematical background as well, it could take you three years or more until you could break into the data analytics industry, assuming you take the right steps to reach there.
Is Data Analytics Hard?
This is another widely asked question by youngsters driven by all the hype of data science in the IT industry. So, is data analytics hard? If so, in what ways?
To be honest and straightforward, nothing is hard if you develop a passion for it. Data analytics is all about numbers. And if you have always enjoyed playing around with numbers and doing statistical analysis on a bunch of data, don’t let anybody tell you data analytics is hard for you.
However, if you’re someone who has never enjoyed their mathematics’ class in high school or has always been bothered by numerical calculations as well as charting and data representation, you could be in a bit of trouble. For people not into such calculations, data analytics can be very dry and pushing. And if you don’t enjoy it, trust me, it won’t take long till you get exhausted, given the open-ended nature of the field.
So, my only advice to the young aspirants is to see if they’re comfortable dealing with numbers all day long and visualizing big datasets to notice small trends and patterns, while also being fine with a bit of coding here and there. Figuring this out isn’t that hard, and you can take a couple of capstone projects from online courses to see if you fit in.
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Now, let’s move on to some practical steps to follow to become a data analyst if you’ve decided to follow this path as your professional career. Irrespective of whether you have a Computer Science degree or not, these tips will help you become an expert in the field.
1. Devise a Plan
Coming up with a definite plan is crucial when pursuing any field, let alone data analytics. If you don’t have a goal in your mind that you can work towards, you will never know how far to go, and how to go about it.
So, the first thing to do is plan on what to learn. Access the skills you already have and figure what you’re missing out on. Again, catching up on your mathematical and statistical skills along with a programming language is of the essence. Whatever you’re lacking, note it down and make a routine on how to work on it.
2. Acquire the Skills Required
Since you’ve already figured out the skills that you’re lacking and your schedule to work on them, the next step is to find the relevant material to acquire those skills. If you’re enrolled in a relevant degree, that’s great. But if you’re not, don’t worry.
There are countless resources and boot camps available on the internet for free. Enroll in online courses or learn from YouTube videos and start working on all the skills you need to start your data analytics career.
Here are some necessary skills to get started with:
- Data cleaning and processing
- Data visualization
3. Solve Real-World Problems with your Projects
Data science is a field where solving real-life problems is more important than using the technology itself. Once you use real-world data to tackle a problem people face in everyday life, not only will you grasp the concepts perfectly, but you’ll also realize the importance of the field.
So, try not to work with meaningless datasets and instead pick practical problems and use real-world data to deal with them. Moreover, this will reflect well on your resume as well and leave a significant impact on employers.
4. Practice Presenting Findings
Presenting findings in an easy-to-understand and jargon-free manner is a must-have skill in data analytics. Your findings should be understandable for the external teams as well as the stakeholders – so you can provide value to the organization.
So, always practice presenting the findings of your projects in a storytelling way – this will come in very handy further in your career.
5. Gain Work Experience
That’s it! Once you’ve gone through the above steps enough times and you’re confident, you’re ready to start applying to internships or entry-level jobs where you can provide value to businesses. You might feel underqualified while applying for your first roles but don’t worry; you will get plenty of time to prove yourself.
And once you’re settled in an organization and proven your worth, your career will only go uphill from there. Just make sure that you stay updated with the new technologies and keep practicing, and you’ll be good to go!
Data analytics is amongst the fastest rising fields in the IT industry nowadays. Given the new technologies coming out, making the process more abstract, the entry barrier into the field is reducing quite much, resulting in a lot of aspirants.
However, as great as it seems, one needs to fully access himself before giving in to the hype. Throughout the article, I’ve discussed how hard it is to learn data analytics based on your past skills and experiences, and whether it is the right field for you.