How to Make a Career Change to Data Analyst
Data analytics continues to grow with more and more jobs opening up and a high rate of job satisfaction.
It's a great choice for new graduates, but you might wonder if it's a good fit if you're already in the middle of your career.
You've already guessed based on the title that I think it can be a great choice for people switching careers. While no job is completely "future proof", data analyst and data science roles move you in that direction.
Data Analyst Career Options
One of the great things about data analytics careers is they offer many different options.
If your current career isn’t in analytics, you probably have still built some great data analyst skills without even knowing it.
You have skills that you can leverage as you transition into a data analyst job.
Career Change to Data Analyst from a Non-Technical Role
Let’s look at how to become a data analyst if you’re working in a non-technical role. This would include jobs in sales, marketing, and operations.
You bring a knowledge of the area you’re working in which can make you even better at analyzing the data in that area.
You likely have good communication skills to go along with your specialized knowledge.
Since you already have some time in the workforce, you're aware of some of the practical challenges that you might encounter working on data-related projects and solutions.
Skills to Develop
The data analytics basics to work on are technical and statistical skills - that is learning a programming language (or a no code option) and learning the math skills that a data analyst needs.
To build data analyst experience and hone your analytical skills, use data sets that you have available and analyze them. Use the results for data driven decision making.
For instance, if you’re in marketing, analyze the results of different specific marketing campaigns for effectiveness. By doing this, you’re also creating a reputation for being good at working with data.
This starts to build opportunities to become a data analyst within your current company.
Even if you go to other companies, you can leverage your knowledge of a specific subject coupled with your data analyst skills to become a marketing data analyst.
Career Change to Data Analyst from a Technical Role
Now let’s look at how to become a data analyst if you’re working in a technical role.
Just like with non-technical roles, you bring a knowledge of the area you’re working in which can make you even better at analyzing the data in that area.
If you have an IT background, then you probably know a programming language, but might need to improve your statistical data analyst skills.
If you have an engineering or math background, you may not know a programming language, but you probably have strong statistical skills.
Skills to Develop
For many people in technical roles, communication and presentation skills are going to be key skills to becoming a data analyst.
As with non-technical roles, use the data you already have available to build data analyst experience and your analytical skills. Use the results for data driven decision making.
Somewhat related to data analyst jobs are business analyst jobs.
If you want to take a less math/technical approach, but still focus on solving problems in the business, a business analyst career could also be a good role for you.
If you’re considering becoming an analyst, check out my quiz on analytics career paths. Answer a few questions and find out what analytics career path is the right fit for you.