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Data analysts are currently in high demand. Logical, as organizations process gigantic streams of valuable data every day. Processing data efficiently provides insight and can help with decisive decisions. The job is diverse because you can work in any sector. Are development and challenges important to you? Then you can consider a career as a data analyst. In this article, you will read about the basics, what distinguishes a data analyst and what career options are available to you.

What is a data analyst?

The job title says it all: you analyse data. Data consists of facts, statistics and - often numerical - information with different variables. This data comes from different business processes and applications. Examples of data sources are CRP/ERP systems, newsletters, survey 's, web tracking (such as Google Analytics) and app usage. This data is not directly usable.

Data Analyst, Data Engineer and Data Scientist - what's the difference?

As a Data Analyst, you turn data into useful information. You analyse the data and make connections between different sources. This information helps stakeholders - such as project groups and management - evaluate the current state of affairs and underpin decision-making.

Data Analyst, Data Engineer, and Data Scientist - what is the difference?

If you search online for Data Analyst, you will also frequently see the terms Data Engineer and Data Scientist. The job titles are similar, but the job content is different.

Data Engineer

To obtain data, it’s essential that systems and applications work. This is the responsibility of the Data Engineer. Maintaining and improving the infrastructure and cleaning up data are among some of the tasks the Engineer performs to achieve this goal.

Data Scientist

Data science is a deepening of data analysis. The Data Scientist converts information into predictions and models. Organizations make long-term decisions based on these predictions. The Scientist programs the created models into existing systems and applications. 

If you put the functions side by side, you can see that one cannot do without the other. The Engineer makes sure the systems work. This allows the Analyst and Scientist to continue their work. Among other things, the information, predictions, and models help improve systems and applications. And so, the circle is complete.

Education, training and courses

There is no traditional Data Analyst training. It’s usually a 3 to 5 years study at college or university. An education in Business or IT best matches the required competences of potential employers.

However, there are also training courses and courses at numerous providers. The duration of these options varies from five to nine months. Traineeships also come by. These are longer pathways (generally about two years) in which you put theory directly into practice.

Once you have the basic knowledge, it’s wise to specialize yourself. There are plenty of possibilities in which this can be done. Are you making an internal career switch? Discuss with your manager where the needs of the organization lie. Choose a traineeship or multiple training courses if you are new to IT. This will increase your chances of getting a job as a Data Analyst.

What career steps can you take?

The opportunities to develop within data analysis are extensive. For example, it’s possible to specialize as a Data Analyst with Business Intelligence experience. If not only data but also design appeals to you, explore the position of Data Analyst specializing in visualization. There are literally options for you as a Data Analyst in all industries.

Looking for opportunities in Data Sciences & Analytics? Get in touch with our team of recruitment experts, we can help you in taking your career to the next level!