how does it take to become data analyst

How Long Does It Take to Become a Data Analyst?

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In this article, we cover how much time is needed to become a data analyst. The answer is complicated.

Data analytics is the science of analyzing raw data to get vital insights that help businesses achieve their goals (increase earnings, reduce error rates, increase customer retention, find patterns, predict growth, etc.)

We live in a world where data is everywhere. According to Statista, in 2020 the total amount of collected data reached a whopping 59 zettabytes.

Data analysts are in demand and companies heavily rely on them to help them make sense of their data. So, if you want to become a data analyst, now is a perfect time.

How long does it take to become a data analyst?

It can take anywhere between 6 months to 2 years to get an entry-level position (internship/junior) in data analytics. 

To become a senior in data analysis, it can take roughly 4 years, or even more.

But ultimately, how long it takes to become a Data Analyst really depends on you and on how much time you are willing to commit to learning.

What could shorten your learning curve

  • You have previous exposure to programming languages, research background, statistics background. 
  • You’re a structured, organized, and detailed-oriented individual.
  • Your level of determination and perseverance is high
  • You possess a good technical current skillset 
  • You commit at least 4 hours of daily practice 
  • You can respect a strict learning routine

Prepare for Entry-Level Jobs

Estimated time: 6 – 12 months

1. Learn the fundamentals

Once you have mastered the basics, you can start applying to internships or junior-level roles.

The basic skill set for a data analyst can be learned within a year.

Estimated time of learning the basics:

  • SQL: 1 month
  • R or Python: 3 – 5 months 
  • Excel: 2 – 4 weeks
  • Data Visualisation: 1 – 2 months
  • Statistics Knowledge: 1 month
  • Problem Solving Skills: 1 month
  • Presentation Skills: 2 – 4 weeks 

But, if you can spend a lot of time studying and practicing daily, then things can go faster.

2. Build a portfolio

After you learned the basics, you need to demonstrate your knowledge and start making your projects.

Take time to build your portfolio, go with something original, choose interesting data sets and show up what you’ve learned.

Estimated time of completion:

  • Portfolio (1-3 projects): 2 weeks – 8 weeks

Make sure to include a little bit of everything: demonstrate your problem-solving skills and show how you use Python/R and SQL to inspect, clean, analyze and visualize data. 

A well-thought portfolio shows dedication and puts you ahead of the competition when applying for jobs. 

3. Apply for jobs

After you’ve learned the technical skills and built a portfolio, you can start applying to jobs. Make a schedule and take 1 hour / daily to apply to jobs.

Estimated time of completion:

  • Resume creation: 1 day
  • Personalised cover letters: 30 minutes each 
  • Apply to jobs: 1 hour daily

Where to find jobs: LinkedIn, WeWorkRemotely, Remote.co, Flexjobs.com

Climbing the Ladder

Estimated time: 3 – 7 Years

Transition to senior/managerial roles

Once you have real experience, you can start your journey towards senior roles, taking more responsibility, and eventually becoming your team’s Lead, manager, or even director of the company itself.

To get to that point, you’ll need to always continue learning, keep yourself updated with the latest trends in data, take the lead in projects, master your business’ domain, and develop a strong problem-solving mentality.

Plus, you’ll need to be comfortable working without supervision, develop a network and constantly improve your communication skills.

Conclusion

If you’re determined and ready to put in the effort, time, and daily practice into learning data analysis, then you can get an entry-level data analyst position in less than a year. It all depends on you. 

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