Want to Be a Data Analyst? [Career Path & Salary Guide]

5 min read

Welcome to the data-driven sector of the employment marketplace, where people skilled at crunching data and transforming it into actionable business insights are sought after (and paid well!) by companies across all industries – big names, smaller firms, or perhaps even some cool enterprise just down the street from you.

The era of Big Data is well under way, and one of the essential roles is that of the data analyst. So much so that current demand for skilled, experienced data analytics professionals appears to exceed the supply. A recent LinkedIn jobs search for data analytics revealed 200,000+ results including listings for such firms as Accenture, Facebook, Fidelity Investments, Liberty Mutual, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cancer IQ, GE, Verizon, Nike, Microsoft and many, many more.

Read on for in-depth data analyst salary information and data analyst career insights, including a review of the wide range of top-paying jobs in data analytics.

What is a Data Analyst? [Skills + Job Requirements]

Bottom line: Data analysts translate numbers and data into words and graphic visualizations to help organizations and companies understand how to make more informed business decisions — everything from how to price and market new products to how to attract new customers, reduce expenses, improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of medical care and so much more.

Here’s how the employment website Indeed answers the question: What is a data analyst?

“A data analyst is responsible for using their knowledge of data processing software and business development strategies to provide sound business decisions to company executives. Their duties include collaborating with other data professionals to extract data figures, creating reports based on their findings and monitoring key performance indicators (KPIs) to determine business initiatives’ success.”

In terms of key data analyst skills, several of the most important are:

  • Knowledge of programming languages such as Python and R
  • Proficiency with Tableau for data visualization and storytelling
  • Advanced capability with Excel for organizing data and conducting analyses

Additional sought-after data analytics skills include:

Hard skills

  • SQL
  • Statistical programming languages
  • Data visualization
  • Domain knowledge
  • Project management

Soft skills

  • Critical thinking
  • Communication
  • Problem-solving
  • Presentation skills

Data Analyst Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not have a specific listing for the broad category of data analyst; however, it forecasts robust growth (through 2030) for a range of closely related data analytics positions such as:

Any way you look at it, the data analyst job outlook is booming.

Section: Data Analyst Salary [Overall Outlook]

Data analyst salary figures vary greatly, with a wide ballpark range of $60,000 to well above $100,000.

Some of the leading employment websites report the following average annual data analyst salaries.

Note: Salary estimates vary and are often adjusted in real time based on changing data.

Data Analyst Salary by Industry

Zippia offers further breakdowns including the following figures for data analyst salary by industry:

  • Professional/Sales – $75,661
  • Technology – $83,559
  • Finance – $86,172
  • Manufacturing – $77,839
  • Health Care – $72,210
  • Government – $57,228

Technology, retail, financial services, and other industries are referenced in an Indeed listing of top-paying companies for data analysts:

  • Meta — $139,735
  • Citizens Bank — $138,796
  • Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) — $131,183
  • First Republic Bank — $131,036
  • USAA — $124,264
  • Intuit — $118,242
  • Capital One — $112,655
  • Uber — $108,150
  • Intel Corporation — $104,477
  • Freddie Mac — $100,166

Data Analyst Salary by Experience

Obviously, as is the case in nearly every field, your income-earning potential rises based on such additional factors as level of experience and education. For example, Indeed offers estimated salaries for entry-level data analysts ($68,012), mid-career with 3–5 years of experience ($75,998), and longer-tenured professionals with 10 or more years ($84,945).

Here are some additional data analyst salary figures from Coursera:

  • 2–4 years of experience: $$98,682
  • 5–7 years of experience: $112,592
  • 8+ years of experience: $138,031

Top-Paying Jobs Related to Data Analytics

Data analytics skills are transferable and command healthy paychecks across a wide range of job roles and industries. Here is a partial list of average salaries for data analyst and related job titles*.

  • Data Analyst – $61,071 | TheMuse
  • Senior Data Analyst – $106,504 | Glassdoor
  • Data Analytics Consultant – $104,573 | ZipRecruiter
  • Data Scientist – $97,579 | Payscale
  • Director of Analytics – $168,196 | Glassdoor
  • Data Architect – $123,415 | Payscale
  • Business Analyst – $96,969 | Glassdoor
  • Business Intelligence Analyst – $98,230 | O*NET
  • Business Intelligence Manager – $130,424 | Glassdoor
  • Business Product Analyst – $98,344 | Glassdoor
  • Compensation and Benefits Analyst – $87,671 | Glassdoor
  • Corporate Strategy Analyst – $94,238 | Glassdoor
  • Sales Analyst – $79,557 | Glassdoor
  • Management Analyst – $93,000 | BLS
  • Financial Analyst – $81,410 | BLS
  • Budget Analyst – $78,970 | BLS
  • Operations Analyst – $82,360 | BLS
  • Quantitative Analyst – $123,823 | Glassdoor
  • Market Research Analyst – $63,920 | BLS
  • Marketing Analyst (with Google Analytics) – $52,681 | Payscale
  • Social Media Data Analyst – $60,385 | ZipRecruiter
  • Web Analyst – $88,843 |Glassdoor
  • Logistics Analyst – $62,171 | Indeed
  • Systems Analyst – $93,730 | BLS
  • Insurance Underwriter – $76,390 | BLS
  • Actuary – $123,180 | BLS
  • Fraud Analyst – $53,791 | Zippia
  • Credit Analyst – $86,170 | BLS
  • Health Care Data Analyst – $64,449 | Pearson
  • Project Manager (using data analytics) – $107,292 | Glassdoor
  • Senior Database Administrator – $110,096 | Payscale
  • Information Security Manager – $131,054 | Zippia

* Salary estimates vary and are often adjusted in real time based on changing data.

How to Increase Your Salary as a Data Analyst

Data analyst positions typically require a bachelor’s degree in information technology, computer science, STEM or statistics, according to a DiscoverDataScience career guide.

Gaining workplace experience is the best way to advance, but this is sometimes easier said than done. Additional pathways include:

Value of a Master’s Degree in Data Analytics

Of course, earning an advanced degree is the most well-established path to career success in data analytics and data science. And while a master’s degree is not necessary to become a data analyst, 93% of all professions surveyed held an advanced degree and approximately 70% of data scientists hold a master’s degree.

Given the high salaries that accompany key jobs across the data analytics employment landscape, a master’s degree – when you crunch the data around cost of tuition vs. higher annual and career earnings – is considered to be an investment in your future that pays for itself over time.

Signs a Data Analytics or Data Science Master’s Degree Is Right for You

Are you someone who is skilled at or interested in programming, mathematics, computer science, critical thinking, problem-solving, or presentations?

Does using technology tools and techniques such as data visualization to help uncover and share valuable insights sound appealing?

Are you knowledgeable or curious about such cutting-edge topics as text mining and machine learning?

If so, then a master’s degree in data science or data analytics may be a worthwhile investment of your time and resources. It’s important to remember that you can also use your career-building advanced degree experience to help position yourself for data analytics and data science success in specific areas of interest, such as business, health, finance, manufacturing, entertainment, communications and media, and more.

Choosing the Right Master’s Degree Program for Your Career Goals

One important step is to evaluate where you are in terms of aptitude, experience, and educational background to determine whether an advanced degree program in data analytics or data science makes the most sense.

It is also helpful to read authoritative online resources that break down some of the key similarities and differences between data analytics, data science, and related disciplines.

And, since many professionals who choose to pursue their master’s degree are looking to do so while working full time, selecting a top-quality online master’s degree program can make all the difference in terms of flexibility to balance your studies with work and family life.

Considering Earning Your Master’s in Data Science?

Free checklist helps you compare programs, select one that’s ideal for you.