How To Become a Data Analyst Without a Degree (With FAQs)

With data analysts in such high demand, it’s a great time to consider pivoting into this exciting and growing field. The field is expected to grow 25% by 2030, far outpacing growth in other sectors.

If you’re thinking about becoming a data analyst, you may be wondering if you need a college degree to make this transition. Don’t fret if you don’t have one. In this article, we’ll cover the skill sets you’ll need to become a data analyst without a college degree.

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How to become a data analyst without a degree

Here are the steps for how to start a data analysis career without a college degree:

1. Develop a plan

The first step toward starting a data analyst career is to develop a career plan. Having a plan with clearly defined goals can help you define each step of your career journey and assess your progress as you pursue a job in data analytics. When making your plan, consider your career timeline. Account for how much time you plan to spend gaining skills to apply to the industry and what your financial goals are over the course of your career. The more specific and defined your goals are, the easier it may be to track your progress.

2. Gain technical skills

Data analysts need good technical skills to perform their roles effectively. Often, data analysts know multiple coding languages and can apply them to build programs that perform specialized functions. Some common coding languages that data analysts use include:

Learning one or more coding languages can help you apply your programming abilities to create analytical systems. It also helps you work well with others in the field. When you know the same programming languages as other professionals, it can improve your communication and collaboration abilities. Other technical skills that data analysts need include the ability to apply statistical models and other mathematical processes, knowledge of data visualization techniques and skills for cleaning and preparing data for analysis.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with indeed.

3. Earn practical work experience

In addition to learning technical skills, also look for opportunities to apply them in real-world scenarios. Gaining practical work experience is essential to building your professional network and developing your skills. Especially if youre working to become a data analyst without a formal degree, having the experience to demonstrate your knowledge and abilities is important for expanding your career options. To gain field experience, consider finding a professional mentor you can work for as an apprentice. Other options include performing volunteer work, shadowing experienced data analysts or taking entry-level positions in fields related to data analysis.

4. Create a portfolio

As you pursue opportunities to learn technical skills and gain field experience, consider starting a portfolio that demonstrates your work. A portfolio can show a potential client or hiring manager that you have the right skills to meet their needs. Submitting a portfolio along with your other job search materials allows you to showcase your best work. As part of your portfolio, choose exhibits that highlight your skills, such as:

Additionally, consider including materials from any group projects on which youve worked. These materials show you can work as part of a team.

You might create either a digital or physical portfolio, depending on the industry in which you plan to work. While many employers prefer digital portfolios, having a physical one to show at in-person job interviews can be a good idea. If possible, be flexible with your portfolio. Consider changing what pieces you showcase to suit different kinds of employers.

5. Consider earning certifications

Finally, even if you prefer not to pursue a formal degree program in data analysis, consider enrolling in a certification program to expand your credentials. Certifications show that you have a high level of mastery in particular areas of data analytics. For example, some software manufacturers offer certificates that demonstrate your competency in particular programs. You may also earn certificates in certain programming languages. Certifications can reflect positively on your application during the job search process, or they may attract clients if you work freelance.

Certification programs require less time and money to complete, making them an excellent option for those looking to expand their credentials with minimal investment. Unlike degree programs, which can take many years of study to finish, many certificate programs take six months or fewer to complete. These programs can also offer a higher level of specialization in the topics that matter most to you and your industry than a general degree in data analytics or a related field.

What is a data analyst?

A data analyst has an important job that involves collecting, analyzing and interpreting data on behalf of a business or client. Their work involves devising systems that allow them to collect key data points. After gathering this data, they process and interpret it so they can apply it to solving problems for their clients. Data analysts often use computer programming skills to build customized programs that analyze specific types of data sets. They may either work in-house for a company or as independent contractors. Some of their typical responsibilities include:

FAQs about data analysts

Here are the answers to some common questions about this career:

Where do data analysts work?

Data analysts work in diverse industries, including health care, finance, marketing, engineering and technology. Almost every industry relies on data to understand its key markets and opportunities for expansion. Since data analysts can work in so many different fields, they enjoy considerable flexibility when determining where they wish to work. In addition to these diverse industry opportunities, data analysts also have many options for their work setting preferences. While some data analysts work as in-house employees, others work remotely or by contract. Data analysts might work in office environments, travel to meet with clients or work from home.

What skills do data analysts need?

Data analysts need a combination of soft and technical skills to excel in their careers. Some skills they need include:

How much do data analysts make?

FAQ

Can you become a data analyst without a degree?

You don’t need a full-blown degree to become a data analyst, but you do need a structured and formal approach to learning the necessary skills. The best (and most flexible) way to do so is through a project-based course.

How do I become a data analyst without a technical degree?

Get Certified. Getting relevant certifications in data analytics is one of the best methods of proving your abilities, particularly if you don’t have a degree. Many companies—such as Cloudera, SAS, and Microsoft—offer certifications on the tools data analysts use.

Can you be a data analyst without math degree?

Maybe you’ve thought about data science as a career, but you’re worried about the math needed for data science because you think you’re not a numbers person. First of all, can you actually break into data science without a background in math or STEM? The answer is yes!

Can I become data analyst without it background?

Fortunately, almost anyone can become a data analyst if s/he can put his/her mind into learning a few concepts, tools, methodologies, and, more importantly, sticking with it until gaining skills, confidence, and experience in the field.

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