A data analyst is at the forefront of the data revolution, acting as the gatekeeper for the data an organisation collects. They sort and sift through large data sets to create meaning from numbers. From global banks to indigenous startups, organisations across the board are hiring data analysts. IDC predicts that in India alone, big data is set to grow 60x in the next 10 years.
If you’re still on the fence about launching your career in data analytics, here are five reasons why it’s the best choice for 2020.
Reason #1: Data analytics salary is higher than the average IT job
The average salary for an IT graduate in India is around Rs 3,50,000 a year, according to PayScale. An entry-level data analyst commands Rs 4,27,000 on average. As they gain experience, they stand to earn more than Rs 20,00,000 a year.
Reason #2: Data analytics jobs see increased demand across industries
Data analyst jobs are growing by leaps and bounds every day. Every industry is in the data game now, be it Ola, which uses customer data to improve the navigation experience; Myntra, which uses it to tailor your home page; or Ashok Leyland for test driving of their trucks.
Typically, data analyst jobs are available in three types of organisations:
- Companies which build their own analytics, like Zomato or Uber
- Smaller companies which provide analytics for clients, like SaaS startups
- ITes companies like Accenture or Wipro
With data analytics being a multidisciplinary field, you can apply your data analytics skills across industries — you can diversify your skillset or even take up a niche area for specialisation, such as forensic accounting or cybersecurity analytics.
Reason #3: Data analytics career opportunities are wide-ranging
In 2014, Kenneth Cukier, an American journalist and the former Data Editor of the Economist, and Victor Mayer-Schönberger, Professor of Internet Governance and Regulation at the Oxford Internet Institute, together wrote a paper titled, The Rise of Big Data: How It’s Changing the Way We Think About the World. In it, they argue that, “The Internet has reshaped how humanity communicates. Big data is different: it marks a transformation in how society processes information.”
Jump to 2020, we are in the middle of the big data explosion. Each industry and organisation is processing information in its own unique way. If you get a data analytics job, here are a few roles you might be performing.
A generalist who will fit into any organisation, a data analyst helps companies make sense of large volumes of data. Their primary tasks would include mining data, cleaning them, preparing reports, communicating insights etc.
Business intelligence analyst
BI analysts work on specific kinds of data such as sales, marketing, finance etc. from which they glean insights for management to make business decisions.
Quantitative analysts work in finance companies, like a brokerage firm, to identify investments that perform well, watch and track share prices etc.
An operations analyst works to identify areas within a company to focus on efficiency.
A marketing analyst is a specialised BI analyst. They work on marketing data from website usage, social media performance, ad campaign performance etc. to provide input for future marketing initiatives.
Reason #4: Data analytics is as exciting as you can make it
Unlike most people think, data analytics is not a one-trick pony. It is not about staring at numbers all day on a spreadsheet. In fact, there are various kinds of data analytics today.
Where an analyst collects, summarises and identifies patterns in historical data. This is descriptive, in the sense that it describes what happened in the past.
For instance, a data analyst at a fast food chain will perform descriptive analytics on datasets like customer footfalls, most ordered dishes, time to serve an average customer, special discounts and their effects etc. It tells the leadership how the business is doing.
Gartner describes diagnostic analytics as “a form of advanced analytics that examines data or content to answer the question, ‘Why did it happen?’ It is characterised by techniques such as drill-down, data discovery, data mining and correlations”.
For instance, a data analyst at a fast food chain might find why a certain dish on the menu is more popular than others — is it the taste, the price, the combo offers, packaging, time of day etc.
This is a combination of descriptive and diagnostic analytics used to predict patterns in customer behaviour and research in industries as varied as oil and gas, retail and banking.
The food chain data analyst would use data to predict where to open the next store, for instance. Or what combo offer will be most profitable.
Reason #5: Your growth is sure to be rewarding
Data analysts have multiple growth paths.
- They can grow up the ladder as senior analysts, team leaders, director of analytics etc.
- They can also become data scientists, machine learning engineers or artificial intelligence engineers.
- They can work as freelancers consulting for small businesses.
- They can also be industry / domain specialists, with niche and rare skill sets.
2020 is the best time to start a data analytics career because the future will belong to those who can turn information into intelligence. Today, data has become a key driver of competitive advantage of organisations globally. Jobs in this sector will be exciting, varied and rewarding.