What Does a Data Analyst Do: Roles, Skills & Salary (2023)

Organizations in all industries increasingly rely on data to make critical business decisions—which new products to develop, new markets to enter, new investments to make, and new (or existing) customers to target. They also use data to identify inefficiencies and other business problems that need to be addressed.

In these organizations, the job of the data analyst is to assign a numerical value to these important business functions so performance can be assessed and compared over time. But the job involves more than just looking at numbers: An analyst also needs to know how to use data to enable an organization to make more informed decisions.

These roles are in high demand. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job openings for analysts are projected to grow by 23 percent between 2021 and 2031. More specifically, about 13,500 new job openings for data scientists are projected each year. Entry-level data analysts receive an average starting annual salary in the $90,000 range; however, success in the role can lead to senior positions with salaries exceeding $130,500.

If the role of a data analyst sounds like a good fit for you, here’s what you need to know.

(Video) Data Analysts: Roles, Skills, Tools, and Salary Range

What is Analytics?

Analytics brings together theory and practice to identify and communicate data-driven insights that allow managers, stakeholders, and other executives in an organization to make more informed decisions. Experienced data analysts consider their work in a larger context, within their organization and in consideration of a wide range of external factors. Analysts are also able to account for the competitive environment, internal and external business interests, and the absence of certain data sets in the data-based recommendations that they make to stakeholders.

A Master of Professional Studies in Analytics prepares students for a career as a data analyst by covering the concepts of probability theory, statistical modeling, data visualization, predictive analytics, and risk management in the context of a business environment. In addition, a master’s degree in analytics equips students with the programming languages, database languages, and software programs that are vital to the day-to-day work of a data analyst.

Download Our Free Guide to Breaking Into Analytics

A guide to what you need to know, from the industry’s most popular positions to today’s sought-after data skills.


(Video) What Does a Data Analyst Actually Do?

Types of Data Analytics

Four types of data analytics build on each other to bring increasing value to an organization.

  • Descriptive analytics examines what happened in the past: Monthly revenue, quarterly sales, yearly website traffic, and so on. These types of findings allow an organization to spot trends.
  • Diagnostic analytics considers why something happened by comparing descriptive data sets to identify dependencies and patterns. This helps an organization determine the cause of a positive or negative outcome.
  • Predictive analytics seeks to determine likely outcomes by detecting tendencies in descriptive and diagnostic analyses. This allows an organization to take proactive action—like reaching out to a customer who is unlikely to renew a contract, for example.
  • Prescriptive analytics attempts to identify what business action to take. While this type of analysis brings significant value in the ability to address potential problems or stay ahead of industry trends, it often requires the use of complex algorithms and advanced technology such as machine learning.

In a 2016 survey of more than 2,000 business executives, the consultancy PwC found that organizations find descriptive analytics to be insufficient for informed, data-driven decision making. As such, diagnostic and predictive analytics are increasingly important to organizations.

Key Responsibilities of a Data Analyst

The answer to the question “What does a data analyst do?” will vary depending on the type of organization and the extent to which a business has adopted data-driven decision-making practices. Generally speaking, though, the responsibilities data analysts must perform on a daily basistypically include the following:

  • Designing and maintaining data systems and databases; this includes fixing coding errors and other data-related problems.
  • Mining data from primary and secondary sources, then reorganizing said data in a format that can be easily read by either human or machine.
  • Using statistical tools to interpret data sets, paying particular attention to trends and patterns that could be valuable for diagnostic and predictive analytics efforts.
  • Demonstrating the significance of their work in the context of local, national, and global trends that impact both their organization and industry.
  • Preparing reports for executive leadership that effectively communicate trends, patterns, and predictions using relevant data.
  • Collaborating with programmers, engineers, and organizational leaders to identify opportunities for process improvements, recommend system modifications, and develop policies for data governance.
  • Creating appropriate documentation that allows stakeholders to understand the steps of the data analysis process and duplicate or replicate the analysis if necessary.

What Skills Do You Need To Be a Data Analyst?

A successful data analyst possesses a combination of technical skills and leadership skills.

(Video) real talk about my Data Scientist jobs + salary for entry level data science

Technical skills include knowledge of database languages such as SQL, R, or Python; spreadsheet tools such as Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets for statistical analysis; and data visualization software such as Tableau or Qlik. Mathematical and statistical skills are also valuable to help gather, measure, organize, and analyze data while using these common tools.

Learn more:Project Management Skills for Data Analysts

Leadership skills prepare a data analyst to complete decision-making and problem-solving tasks. These abilities allow analysts to think strategically about the information that will help stakeholders make data-driven business decisions and to communicate the value of this information effectively. For example, project managers rely on data analysts to track the most important metrics for their projects, to diagnose problems that may be occurring, and to predict how different courses of action could address a problem.

Data Analysis vs. Data Science vs. Business Analysis

The difference in what a data analyst does as compared to a business analyst or a data scientist comes down to how the three roles use data.

(Video) Data Analyst vs Business Analyst | Salaries | Roles | Comparison | Top Companies

  • The data analyst serves as a gatekeeper for an organization’s data so stakeholders can understand data and use it to make strategic business decisions. It is a technical role that requires an undergraduate degree or master’s degree in analytics, computer modeling, science, or math.
  • The business analyst serves in a strategic role focused on using the information that a data analyst uncovers to identify problems and propose solutions. These analysts typically earn a degree in a major such as business administration, economics, or finance.
  • The data scientist takes the data visualizations created by data analysts a step further, sifting through the data to identify weaknesses, trends, or opportunities for an organization. This role also requires a background in math or computer science, along with some study or insight into human behavior to help make informed predictions.

At startups and other small organizations, it is not uncommon for a data analyst to take on some of the predictive modeling or decision-making responsibilities that may otherwise be assigned to a data scientist.

What Do Data Analysts Make?

The average annual salary of a data analyst can range from approximately $63,509 to $138,000. According to the sites’ job listings, roles at financial and technology firms tend to pay higher than average.

Learn more: How to Increase Your Salary as a Data Analyst

The data analyst role is also a natural stepping stone for more senior data-driven jobs within an analyst career. According to PayScale, data analysts move on to roles such as senior data analyst, data scientist, analytics manager, and business analyst. These roles come with substantial increases in pay, too. The average salary of data scientists is over $97,600, while analytics managers make over $101,000 per year.

(Video) Data Analyst Roles & Responsibilities | Data Analyst Skills | Data Analytics Certification | Edureka

If you’re interested in building a career in analytics, take the first step by downloading our free, comprehensive guide below.


What is the salary of data analyst roles and responsibilities? ›

Data Analyst salary in India ranges between ₹ 1.7 Lakhs to ₹ 12.0 Lakhs with an average annual salary of ₹ 4.3 Lakhs. Salary estimates are based on 57.3k latest salaries received from Data Analysts.

What is the salary skills of data analyst? ›

According to Glassdoor, the estimated total pay for a data analyst is $86,563 per year in the United States, with an estimated base pay of $76,262 per year. A senior data analyst can expect to earn $93,000 per year.

What is the skills of a data analyst? ›

Key skills for a data analyst

The ability to analyse, model and interpret data. Problem-solving skills. A methodical and logical approach. The ability to plan work and meet deadlines.

What is the job role of a data analyst? ›

A data analyst collects and stores data on sales numbers, market research, logistics, linguistics, or other behaviors. They bring technical expertise to ensure the quality and accuracy of that data, then process, design, and present it in ways to help people, businesses, and organizations make better decisions.

What is the best data analyst salary? ›

Data Analyst Salaries by Experience
  • An experienced, senior data analyst earns from ₹831K to ₹1,573K annually!
  • An entry level data analyst earns over ₹400K annually.
Feb 21, 2023

What are the highest paying data analyst roles? ›

The top five industries with the highest paying data analyst jobs are: hardware and networking, finance, software and IT services, entertainment, and energy and mining.

What are hard skills for data analyst? ›

Students need to learn fundamental data analysis techniques, data-oriented programming languages, and have a strong background in math. To cut it in this industry, aspiring data analysts also need excellent communication, teamwork, and leadership skills.

How would you describe yourself as a data analyst? ›

"I have a knack for analyzing complex data and helping companies make smart, strategic decisions. At my last job, I helped the company save more than $400,000 and increased their revenue by 15%. I see this position as a long-term opportunity to collaborate with others and improve my professional skills.

What is data analytics in simple words? ›

Data analytics converts raw data into actionable insights. It includes a range of tools, technologies, and processes used to find trends and solve problems by using data. Data analytics can shape business processes, improve decision-making, and foster business growth.

What does a data analyst do day to day? ›

Generally speaking, a data analyst will retrieve and gather data, organize it and use it to reach meaningful conclusions. “Data analysts' work varies depending on the type of data that they're working with—for example sales, social media, inventory, etc.

Do data analysts work from home? ›

As the data market grows and remote work continues to rise, data analysts will increasingly find opportunities for flexible, location-independent work. While it may prove more difficult for entry-level analysts to find a remote position, it's certainly possible.

What is the lowest data analyst salary? ›

Data analyst salaries by experience
  • 2 to 4 years (Data Analyst): $98,682.
  • 5 to 7 years (Senior Data Analyst): $112,593.
  • 8+ years (Principal Data Analyst): $138,031.
Feb 7, 2023

How do I become a data analyst with no experience? ›

How to find no-experience data analyst jobs
  1. Complete a certification. Completing a certification can help you get a data analyst job without industry experience. ...
  2. Create a data analytics portfolio. ...
  3. Develop your data analytics and transferable skills.
Jan 4, 2023

Is data analytics a stressful job? ›

Several data professionals have defined data analytics as a stressful career. So, if you are someone planning on taking up data analytics and science as a career, it is high time that you rethink and make an informed decision.

Does data analyst require coding? ›

Do Data Analysts Code? Some Data Analysts do have to code as part of their day-to-day work, but coding skills are not typically required for jobs in data analysis.

Why are data analysts paid so much? ›

Why Do Data Scientists Get Paid So Much? Data science professions command high salaries because there's not enough supply (the profession has nearly 20,000 open positions in the United States, according to US News) and their skills are in high demand.

What soft skills are needed to be a good data analyst? ›

Hard or technical skills are very important to become a successful data analytics professional. But to truly deliver maximum business value, data analytics professionals need to complement hard skills with strong soft skills, especially communication, collaboration, critical thinking, curiosity and creativity.

Why should we hire you for data analyst? ›

Potential Answer:

“I have previous experience working with projects that had similar problems to yours. I also have excellent communication skills and further technical knowledge that would be an asset to your company. The mix of technical and team skills I bring to the table make me an ideal fit for this role.

How can I introduce myself in data analyst interview? ›

Sample Answer: I have a lot of experience in data analysis and I'm very familiar with the software you use. I've worked on projects similar to this one, and I know how to work with people. I'm also very good at finding patterns in data and communicating my results.

Why should I hire you? ›

Your skills and qualifications. If you can prove that you've got all the skills that the company is looking for in a candidate, you'll have effectively answered the question. Your passion and motivation. You can highlight how good of a company fit you'd be and how much you love working in your field or industry.

What are two important first steps in data analysis? ›

The first step is to collect the data through primary or secondary research. The next step is to make an inference about the collected data. The third step in this case will involve SWOT Analysis. SWOT Analysis stands for Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threat of the data under study.

How do I prepare for a data analyst interview? ›

Tips to prepare for your Data Analyst interview

Find out what the company's problems or potential problems are. For example, what might be their current data problems? Who are their target audiences? With this research, plan how you might solve these problems using your experience.

Is data analytics easy for beginners? ›

Because the skills needed to perform Data Analyst jobs can be highly technically demanding, data analysis can sometimes be more challenging to learn than other fields in technology.

Is data analyst a high paying job? ›

Highest reported salary offered as Data Analyst is ₹50lakhs. The top 10% of employees earn more than ₹25lakhs per year. The top 1% earn more than a whopping ₹44lakhs per year.

Is data analyst a good paying job? ›

Skilled data analysts are some of the most sought-after professionals in the world. Because the demand is so strong, and the supply of people who can truly do this job well is so limited, data analysts command huge salaries and excellent perks, even at the entry-level.

Is data analyst a high income skill? ›

Candidates with advanced skills or at least three years of work experience on their resume can earn an average salary of over $100,000 per year. This data analyst salary guide will help you understand how experience and industry impact a data analyst's salary and some recommendations to increase earning potential.

Do data analysts do a lot of coding? ›

Do Data Analysts Code? Some Data Analysts do have to code as part of their day-to-day work, but coding skills are not typically required for jobs in data analysis.

What qualifications do I need to be a data analyst? ›

  • University. You'll usually need a degree or postgraduate degree in: ...
  • College. You may be able to start by doing a T level in Digital Business Services. ...
  • Apprenticeship. You could start in a junior data analysis role through a data technician advanced apprenticeship. ...
  • Volunteering. ...
  • Other Routes. ...
  • More Information.

Can I become a data analyst without a degree? ›

You don't need a full-blown degree to become a data analyst, but you do need a structured and formal approach to learning the necessary skills. The best (and most flexible) way to do so is through a project-based course.

Can I be a data analyst if I'm not good at math? ›

As with any scientific career, data analysts require a strong grounding in mathematics to succeed. It may be necessary to review and, if necessary, improve your math skills before learning how to become a data analyst.


1. Data Analyst Vs Data Scientist Vs Data Engineer In 2022 | Role, Skills, And Salary | Simplilearn
2. Data Scientist vs Data Analyst vs Data Engineer - Role, Skills, Salary, Demand | Intellipaat
3. BUSINESS Analyst vs. DATA Analyst - What do they do, skills & career paths...
4. How To Become A Data Analyst? | Data Analyst Skills, Roles And Responsibilities 2021 | Simplilearn
5. Data analysis careers | Top 3 skills for entry-level data analysts
(Data Launchpad)
6. What Does a Data Analyst Actually Do? | Data Analyst Role & Responsibilities
(Rishabh Mishra)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Dr. Pierre Goyette

Last Updated: 02/13/2023

Views: 6229

Rating: 5 / 5 (50 voted)

Reviews: 81% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Dr. Pierre Goyette

Birthday: 1998-01-29

Address: Apt. 611 3357 Yong Plain, West Audra, IL 70053

Phone: +5819954278378

Job: Construction Director

Hobby: Embroidery, Creative writing, Shopping, Driving, Stand-up comedy, Coffee roasting, Scrapbooking

Introduction: My name is Dr. Pierre Goyette, I am a enchanting, powerful, jolly, rich, graceful, colorful, zany person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.