How to Become a Data Analyst: Step by Step Guide

How to Become a Data Analyst: Step by Step Guide

Categories: Analytics & Data Management|Published On: September 19, 2023|7 min read|
About the Author

Kevin Boey

Kevin is the Head of Marketing & IT for Trainocate with over 17 years of working experience with Malaysia's largest EdTech provider specializing in Information Technology & Human Development Competency solutions.
Become a Data Analyst with CompTIA Data+

Why Become a Data Analyst?

Data analysts play a vital role in modern businesses, aiding organizations in making informed decisions and gaining a competitive edge. In today’s data-driven landscape, there’s a surging demand for skilled professionals capable of collecting, analyzing, and transforming raw data into valuable insights.

The 2023 CompTIA State of the Tech Workforce report reveals an exciting trend: employment in tech occupations is set to grow at roughly double the rate of overall employment across the economy. Notably, careers like data scientist and data analyst are projected to experience remarkable growth, surpassing the national employment rate by 266%.

If you have a passion for numbers, a keen attention to detail, and a strong analytical mindset, a rewarding career as a data analyst could be the ideal path for you.

Essential Skills for Data Analysts

In 2022, there were over 2.5 million job postings in the United States that highlighted the demand for candidates with data analyst skills, including data mining and data visualization. In fact, holding a reputable data analyst certification opens up many job opportunities beyond the traditional data analyst role.

While the precise skills required may vary depending on the specific job, most employers seek a blend of both fundamental and technical abilities.

Technical/Hard Skills Professional/Soft Skills
Understanding of data processes and principles, and ability to apply basic statistical analysis methods Communication skills (written and verbal)
Data analytics and visualization tools Storytelling and presentation skills(using bar graphs, pie charts, tables, etc.
Ability to mine, manipulate, analyze, interpret and visualize datasets Decision-making
Python, R and other programming languages Problem-solving
Data optimization Analytical mindset
Predictive modeling Creative thinking
Database management Attention to detail
Adherence to governance and quality standards throughout the entire data lifecycle Organization and time management


Other than the skills needed, there are also various analytics tools and technologies that are employed to streamline work processes, boost productivity, and improve collaboration more efficiently.

Data Management Data Analysis/Visualization
Structured Query Language (SQL) SAS
NoSQL Database Power BI
Amazon Web Services (AWS) Microsoft Excel
Hadoop Ecosystem Tableau
In-Memory Database Apache Spark
GitHub Pandas

Education and Certifications for Aspiring Data Analysts

Seeking certifications is a valuable step to showcase your skills and enhance your prospects of securing a data analyst position. Industry-recognized certifications are a testament to your expertise.

Here are some of the most popular data analytics certifications:

  1. CompTIA Data+
  2. CompTIA DataSys+
  3. Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate
  4. IBM Data Science Professional Certificate
  5. Amazon AWS Certified Data Analytics
  6. SAS Certified Big Data Professional
  7. Microsoft Certified: Power BI Data Analyst Associate
  8. Certified Analytics Professional (CAP)
  9. Microsoft Certified: Azure Enterprise Data Analyst Associate

If you’re currently pursuing a degree, check if your curriculum includes preparation for these certifications.

Fun Fact: CompTIA Data+ has been known as one of the best entry-level data analytics certification, but does it suits you? Check out our blog on how to become a data analyst with CompTIA Data+ to find out the answer!

Steps to Begin Your Journey as a Data Analyst

Step 1: Define Your Career Goals

Start by clarifying your career objectives in data analytics. Identify the specific areas within data analytics that interest you the most. This focus will guide your efforts in gaining the relevant skills and knowledge required for your chosen specialization. Having a clear vision of your career path can make you a more appealing candidate in the job market.

Step 2: Learn the Basics and Get Qualified

Create a clear plan for your professional development. Research and select suitable educational programs, certifications, and training courses that align with your goals. Beginning with the fundamentals is crucial. Develop a strong foundation in data, understand its role in organizations, and become proficient in using essential tools.

While many data analysts hold a bachelor’s degree in fields like statistics, computer science, mathematics, or data science, if you already have a degree, consider earning certifications, attending workshops, or pursuing a master’s degree to enhance your qualifications.

Step 3: Gain Practical Experience

Practical, hands-on experience is invaluable for securing a data analyst role. It helps you apply your skills, build a portfolio, and boost your confidence. Real data projects expose you to challenges you won’t find in textbooks. Familiarity with industry tools demonstrates your adaptability. Moreover, it can increase your earning potential.

Building a portfolio of projects showcases your abilities to potential employers and sets you apart from other candidates.

Step 4: Network with Industry Professionals

Connect with data professionals to stay informed about industry trends and emerging technologies. Networking can be done through LinkedIn, attending events, or joining online communities. Building relationships can lead to job referrals, collaboration opportunities, and valuable mentorship throughout your career. Learning from others’ experiences helps you make informed decisions.

Step 5: Begin Applying for Data Analyst Roles

Now that you have the knowledge and experience, it’s time to apply. Refine your resume, practice interview questions, and start your job search. Look for opportunities on job boards, even if you don’t meet all the requirements. Your skills, portfolio, and enthusiasm often matter more than meeting every job posting requirement.

How CompTIA Data+ Can Accelerate Your Data Analyst Career

CompTIA Data+ stands out as the sole entry-level, vendor-neutral, and hands-on analytics certification available. It’s specifically tailored for professionals entrusted with the responsibility of cultivating and advocating data-driven decision-making. The certification’s curriculum covers topics that confirm learners possess the knowledge, skills, and capabilities necessary to embark on a data-focused career.

CompTIA Data+ demonstrates to employers that you possess the essential data skills required to advance organizational objectives, including:

  • Translating business requirements into data-driven decisions
  • Contributing value to the organization
  • Enhancing profitability
  • Improving business operations
  • Stimulating innovation

Upon achieving this certification, you’ll have a proficient understanding of:

  • Fundamental data concepts and environments
  • Data mining
  • Data analysis
  • Data visualization
  • Data governance, quality, and controls

So what are you waiting for? — Get started today!

Get Started with CompTIA Data+

The first 10 to get Data+ certified will get a set of amazing CompTIA goodies!

Get Started with CompTIA Data+ Certification

Didn’t Find What You Needed?

No problem! We have more valuable insights to offer. Explore our blog about the top IT skills in 2023, where we delve into the essential skills shaping the future of the tech industry. From low code/no code development to cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and cloud computing, we’ve got it all covered. Take a look today!

If you’re just starting and prefer a beginner’s guide, we’ve got you covered there too. Check out our blog post on the “Top IT Certifications for Beginners.” This guide will help kickstart your journey into the world of IT certifications.

And for those specifically interested in CompTIA certifications, don’t miss our comprehensive guide on “Your Guide to Top CompTIA Certifications in 2023.”

Dive into these informative blogs and elevate your career in the IT industry. Happy learning!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1:What Does a Data Analyst Do?

A data analyst uses insights from various data sources to solve problems, answer questions, and recommend methods to enhance data systems and inform business decisions. Key responsibilities include:

  • Collecting, analyzing, and reporting data, often through visualizations
  • Developing and implementing data collection systems
  • Acquiring data from primary and secondary sources
  • Designing data models
  • Implementing new data analytics methods
  • Cleaning and validating data

Q2: Is It Difficult to Become a Data Analyst?

The challenge of becoming a data analyst depends on your existing skills and experience with data. If you’re starting with no prior experience, building a foundation in mathematics, programming, and analytical skills can be challenging. However, with dedication, hands-on training, and a passion for data, achieving your career goals as a data analyst is attainable.

Q3: Is Coding Necessary for a Data Analyst Role?

The need for coding depends on the job requirements and organizational tools. Typically, data analysts aren’t required to code, but proficiency in programming languages like Python, SQL, R, or Java can give you a competitive edge during your job search.

Q4: Can You Become a Data Analyst Without a Degree?

While possible, becoming a data analyst without a traditional four-year degree can be more challenging. Data analysis demands both theoretical knowledge and practical skills. To succeed without a degree, you should develop a robust skill set and gain relevant experience through self-learning, online courses, certificates, or bootcamps. Employers may consider relevant experience and certifications even if you lack a degree.

Q5: How Long Does It Take to Become a Data Analyst?

The duration to become a data analyst varies based on your starting point, learning pace, and time commitment. Here’s a rough estimate:

  • If you have a bachelor’s degree and related experience, it may take less time.
  • If you lack tech education, experience, or certifications, it could take several months to a few years to acquire the necessary skills and experience to secure a data analyst role.

Q6: How can I get IT certifications?

To obtain IT certifications, it is essential to seek out a trusted training provider that offers comprehensive courses and resources for exam preparation. At Trainocate Malaysia, an award-winning training provider, we offer a wide range of training programs, study materials, and expert-led courses to help you acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed in certification exams. Enrolling with a reputable training provider like us allows you to receive guidance, support, and hands-on learning experiences, significantly enhancing your chances of achieving IT certifications.

This blog is sourced from our learning partner, CompTIA. You can explore the original source here.

About the Author

Kevin Boey

Kevin is the Head of Marketing & IT for Trainocate with over 17 years of working experience with Malaysia's largest EdTech provider specializing in Information Technology & Human Development Competency solutions.