Data analyst: job description

Data analysts collect, organise and interpret statistical information to help colleagues and clients use it make decisions.

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What does a data analyst do? | Graduate salaries | Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Data analysts gather and scrutinise data using specialist tools to generate information that helps others make decisions. They will respond to questions about data and look for trends, patterns and anomalies within it.

Typical duties include:

  • using specialist tools to extract the data needed
  • responding to data-related queries and keeping track of these
  • analysing data to identify trends
  • setting up processes and systems to make working with data more efficient
  • researching new ways to make use of data
  • producing reports and charts communicating trends within data to non-specialists
  • presenting information generated from data to clients and managers.

Search for data analyst entry-level jobs and graduate programmes.

Graduate salaries

Salary survey sites suggest that the typical starting salary if you join a data analysis graduate scheme is c. £28,000. Indeed, this is on par with what the Government Statistical Service (part of the Civil Service Fast Stream) offers. Finance employers are likely to pay more.

Away from the big graduate employers offering graduate programmes, you may find the starting salaries for individual entry-level or trainee data analyst roles to be lower, perhaps around £23,000.

Experienced data analysts can expect to earn around £40,000 depending on the job location, according to salary surveys.

Typical employers of data analysts

  • Banks.
  • Specialist software development companies.
  • Consultancies.
  • Telecommunications companies.
  • Public sector organisations.
  • Social media and marketing agencies.
  • Colleges and universities.
  • Pharmaceutical companies.
  • Manufacturers.
  • Leisure and hospitality organisations.
  • Retailers.

Qualifications and training required

Both university graduates and school leavers can find work in data analysis. For graduates, the usual entry point is a degree in statistics, maths or a related subject involving maths, such as economics or data science. However, if you’ve gained data analysis skills in another way (for example, via training in statistics as part of a social sciences degree) these skills could strengthen your application.

To join the Government Statistical Service, you’ll need a degree that includes at least 25% statistical content, such as maths, economics or psychology.

Browse our CV templates to discover how to showcase your data analysis skills.

Key skills for a data analyst

  • A high level of mathematical ability.
  • The ability to analyse, model and interpret data.
  • Problem-solving skills.
  • A methodical and logical approach.
  • The ability to plan work and meet deadlines.
  • Accuracy and attention to detail.
  • Interpersonal skills.
  • Teamworking skills.
  • Written and verbal communication skills.
  • An understanding of the ethics of gathering and working with data.

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