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Data Analyst

Data analysts serve as data experts within a company. They capture and analyze large amounts of data using a wide range of IT tools. Nowadays, this includes not only big data technologies but also advanced techniques from the field of machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI). The results are then appropriately prepared and presented.

Data Analyst Job Profile

What Is A Data Analyst?

Based on this data, the data analyst develops recommendations for action. The specific focus of data analysts varies depending on the industry and business field. Regardless of the specific thematic differences, data analysts establish the necessary prerequisites for data-driven decision-making at both the operational and strategic levels of the company.

In general, a data expert of this kind is particularly in demand in companies where a large amount of usable data is generated. Primarily, these include technology and industrial companies, but the knowledge and expertise of a data analyst are also needed, for example, in marketing companies or insurance companies.

What Tasks Does A Data Analyst Have?

The daily work of data analysts is very diverse and varied. However, all tasks have one commonality: they always involve the collection, analysis, and evaluation of data. In general, the data analyst is involved in the entire data chain process. This means that their range of work and activities extends from identifying and structuring the available raw data to preparing, analyzing, and presenting the data in a meaningful way.

A data analyst must fulfill all aspects of a profound and reliable data analysis

Ideally, the data analyst should generate new knowledge from the existing data. To achieve this, they need to identify anomalies, patterns, and trends in the data and then derive topic-specific recommendations from the corresponding analysis results.

As part of a comprehensive data analysis, data analysts also employ statistical methods. Using these methods, they determine key figures in the form of summarized information based on the available numerical data.

The preparation of the data or the analysis results is usually done in graphical or tabular form, accompanied by appropriate documentation. In general, a data analyst must ensure that the procedures, methods, and tools they use meet all aspects of a profound and reliable data analysis.

Data analysts generally follow a consultancy-oriented approach

For example, a data analyst analyzes past business events, often focusing on company-specific events such as sales, registrations in their own webshop, or subscriptions to self-provided media channels. To fulfill their tasks, a data analyst must also be able to conduct clean A/B tests to identify trends. In this procedure, two factors are deliberately tested against each other. The data analysts then present the data in detail in relation to the respective analysis results, indicating which decision or approach offers the best chances of success. Therefore, a data analyst also always takes on an advisory role.

The most relevant tasks for data analysts in their daily work include:

  • Collecting and grouping data

  • Applying methods for systematic data collection and analysis

  • Building and maintaining data sets and databases

  • Linking internal and external data

  • Making targeted use of ETL methods (stands for Extract, Transform, Load)

  • Transforming unstructured data into structured formats (known as Data Wrangling)

  • Preparing, presenting, and introducing analysis results

  • Identifying anomalies and patterns in data collections

  • Ongoing data quality assurance

  • Identifying weaknesses and areas for improvement
 

Data Analyst vs. Data Scientist - What Are The Differences?

In practice, the term “Data Scientist” is often used synonymously with “Data Analyst.” Although there are numerous overlaps between these two professions, this synonymous use is not accurate. The name “Data Analyst” itself reflects the nature of the job. The primary focus of all activities is to identify, process, and analyze data. Additionally, skills and expertise in data visualization are also required.

Data Analysts provide a solid foundation for decision-making to executives

Data Analysts typically adopt a consultative approach in their work. They are often tasked with processing and analyzing data from Excel spreadsheets and SQL databases. The main objective is to uncover patterns and trends. The resulting information provides insightful perspectives on relevant topics and processes. It serves as a basis for departments, as well as departmental and executive management, to draw conclusions and make informed business decisions.

A Data Scientist must meet additional requirements

While these tasks are part of the standard repertoire for Data Scientists, they need additional skills to perform their jobs professionally. For example, possessing extensive programming knowledge is a mandatory requirement in this field. In addition to these additional requirements in terms of expertise and domain-specific knowledge, the focus of a Data Scientist differs from that of a pure Data Analyst.

A significant difference lies in the approach. While Data Analysts typically work on clearly defined tasks with a thematically limited data selection, Data Scientists usually examine a variety of data from different sources that are not directly related. In this process, a Data Scientist identifies and creates specific questions and potential actions that are likely to bring the maximum benefit to a company.

Machine Learning plays a significant role here

Furthermore, data specialists develop their statistical models and increasingly rely on machine learning. In summary, a Data Scientist can be seen as an extended or advanced version of a Data Analyst. As a Data Scientist, a data specialist has a much larger scope and room for development. Moreover, higher demands are placed on creativity and technical expertise.

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In Which Industries Does A Data Analyst Work?

Data analysts work in one of the currently most in-demand and highest-paid jobs. This is confirmed by the Future of Jobs Report published by the World Economic Forum. In this report, data analysts, along with data scientists, are ranked in the top two positions in the cross-industry ranking of the most sought-after professions in companies. Following them are big data specialists, AI and machine learning experts, and software developers. Data analysts are in high demand. What is particularly interesting is that the report highlights the opportunity for job seekers and career changers who qualify for the job of a data analyst through online training or similar programs.

Job opportunities are available in almost all industries

Especially companies in the traditional IT sector, e-commerce segment, and telecommunications heavily rely on the work of data analysts. Therefore, a large number of positions can be found in these industries. Alternatively, a data analyst can also work for companies in the financial and insurance sectors.

In many industries, structured data analysis and interpretation are essential for business success. Nowadays, institutions and companies in the logistics, healthcare, and energy sectors are also increasingly looking for qualified data analysts.

Those who have a good understanding of databases, can use the common tools for comprehensive data analysis, and possess the necessary soft skills have excellent prospects for a well-paid job as a data analyst. Numerous positions for data analysts are available throughout the country.

What Specializations Are There For Data Analysts?

The chances of landing a highly paid job are even higher for a data analyst who specializes in specific areas within the job profile. Similar to the fields of financial and marketing analysis, as well as risk analysis, interested individuals can choose from a wide range of specialization options.

By achieving a high level of specialization, the job becomes even more future-proof, as specialists in data analysis are among the most sought-after professionals in this field. By utilizing data analysis specialists, companies can often gain a competitive advantage and establish a lead over their competitors.

There are also many areas in socially relevant industries that require specific specializations. For example, the healthcare sector demands specialized data analysts to analyze patient data and evaluate it based on the analysis results. The goal in this case is to obtain information about the best treatment options and the development of new healthcare products.

Specialized data analysts are particularly in demand in these areas:

  • Actuary: specializes in data processing and creating data-driven forecasts in the field of statistics. Many related jobs are found in the insurance, pension, and finance sectors.

  • Big Data Analyst: focuses on analyzing vast amounts of data using algorithms.

  • BI Analyst: sought after as an expert in business processes in almost every industry.

  • Financial Analyst: specializes in creating financial analyses and investment forecasts.

  • Customer Data Analyst: examines and evaluates a company’s customer data. There is a high demand for this role across various industries.

  • UX Data Analyst: focuses on analyzing data to understand the needs of users or potential and existing customers.

  • Clinical Data Analyst: specializes in evaluating medical software.

  • Marketing Analyst: specialization in market research and analysis is a good option in this field.

  • Risk Analyst: specialization in this area is particularly in demand in the banking sector and management consulting.

  • Weather Analyst: specializes in analyzing weather data for institutions or companies, such as energy providers
 

What Education Is Required To Become A Data Analyst?

A Data Analyst needs to have a strong knowledge in the disciplines of computer science, function theory, probability theory, statistics, and stochastic processes. Probability theory, function theory, and computer science are particularly important. Having a good understanding of mathematics is also advantageous. Depending on the desired specialization or focus, subjects such as business informatics, IT, controlling, and accounting are also considered important components of an education.

The following fields of study are important within the context of a bachelor’s degree:

  • Computer Science

  • Mathematics

  • Statistics

  • Data Science

  • Business Administration (with a focus on business informatics, controlling, or accounting)

Some universities even offer dedicated Data Analyst programs. However, an academic education is not always a mandatory requirement for every job offer. Depending on the industry, a completed vocational training in the IT sector may be sufficient. For example, a training in mathematical-technical software development is considered a good prerequisite. Furthermore, individuals from other fields can enhance their prospects by obtaining certifications from completed training programs or further education as a Data Analyst.

How Much Does A Data Analyst Earn?

A Data Analyst with a completed bachelor’s degree typically starts with an entry-level salary ranging from €35,000 to €42,000. Larger companies may offer starting salaries of up to €46,000. If the employee has a master’s degree, the average starting salary is approximately €4,000 higher per year.

Salary increases with professional experience. In smaller companies with less complex job portfolios, salaries typically range from €45,000 to about €65,000. If the employer is a large company with multiple business fields, salaries of up to nearly €100,000 per year are possible and realistic. The final salary of a Data Analyst depends not only on professional experience but also on the company size, location, and other company-specific factors.

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