The professional world is about more than just putting smiles on patrons’ faces and profits in pockets.
It’s also about data. Where there is work, there are records – numbers, customer profiles, and everything in between could end up on the hard drives and in the file cabinets of professional organizations.
Businesses need to manage data, but they also need to analyze it. Interpreting and understanding data can help an organization draw realistic conclusions and take the right steps going forward.
Since any company can stand to benefit from using their organization’s data to make decisions moving forward, being a data analyst can earn a person a lucrative salary. Just how much can you be expected to make if you land one of these positions?
Today, we’ll take a look at the average data analyst salary, and also talk about the pay scale for data analyst positions. We’ll also talk about the qualifications a person would need for this type of position, and the type of responsibilities they will be tasked with.
Data analysts are in high demand from businesses of all sizes – how much can these analysts expect to make?
What is the Average Salary of a Data Analyst?
There’s some debate about exactly what a position can pay on average – there’s location, cost of living, and many other factors that will influence what a business will pay their data analyst.
But according to PayScale, the average data analyst salary is $57,675. The same page also provides information about applicable bonuses, profit sharing, and commission opportunities for this position. The data is listed as follows:
The average range for bonuses of data analysts are listed as being between $975-$9,794. Bonus opportunities aren’t always available, but when they are, data analysts could earn hundreds if not thousands.
There’s nothing better than getting a share of the profits you helped to create – and data analysts may be able to earn between $704-$8,832. It’s a nice opportunity to get a little extra bonus in an already impressive-paying position.
Depending on the job structure, data analysts may be able to earn commission in some cases. PayScale lists the cap at $14,899, meaning analysts could feasibly earn about a quarter of their base salary worth of commission on top.
The range of pay for a data analyst ranges from $40,874-$82,552. If you’re getting paid by the hour, the range is between $14.35-$33.38, with an average of $20.24.
It’s a bit of a big disparity, but even the low end can allow a person to live a comfortable middle-class life – and there’s also room to move up, allowing a person to earn more over time and work their way up the pay ladder.
For reference, the average median household income in the United States was $56,516 in 2015. Combined with all applicable opportunities for bonuses, profit shares, and commission, the final pay range for a data analyst is $37,642-$83,371.
It’s a lot of data to take into account – but then again, data analysts should feel right at home in this type of environment.
And while the pay a job offers is often the biggest factor that determines whether a person will pursue it, the responsibilities matter as well.
Let’s examine the responsibilities and qualifications a person will have to undertake when it comes to pursuing a data analyst job.
Data Analyst Qualifications, Responsibilities, and Challenges
There’s no reason to doubt the merits of money for making a job more lucrative. But while money is extremely important for working, it isn’t the only thing that matters.
Money in relation to responsibilities and qualifications may be the more accurate metric for determining the worth of a position.
Unless someone is just a data wizard by nature and loves the idea of this position, they would likely only take it if the financial perks offered enough of a reward to make up for the work they’d have to do.
Let’s take a moment to examine the qualifications, responsibilities, and challenges a data analyst may face on the job – and this will provide a clearer picture about whether the demands of the job are worth it for the pay.
Qualifications: What Credentials Do You Need?
Data analysts will need to have a deep understanding of mathematics, including in disciplines like algebra, calculus, and various forms of statistics. They may also be required to understand high levels of programming, and be proficient with languages like SQL, Oracle, and Python.
Data analysts will need to understand discrete data analysis, probability, applied regression analysis, and many other similar concepts. They may also be required to have certain levels of experience either in data analyst positions or in related positions with similar responsibilities.
Responsibilities: A Day in the Life of a Data Analyst
A data analyst will have many different responsibilities in their position. They will be required to survey participants and accumulate data, which they will then be tasked with organizing and maintaining in secure company databases.
They may be asked to cross-examine this data in various ways, noting things like patterns and tendencies among the results. They may also be given certain questions initially, and asked to derive answers from the data. For example, a company may sell 100 products, and ask their data analyst to see what percentage of those products seem to be improving in sales, what percentage seem to be declining, and what percentage seems to stay the same.
Data and results may need to be presented in reports – and this is where the ability to interpret data comes in handy. For upper management, they may not be well-versed in complex data interpretation. Therefore knowing how to decipher data and break it down into simple terms is also important.
Challenges: How Hard is the Job?
The degree of difficulty that comes with a job can vary greatly depending on many factors. How easy or hard a job is can depend on the skills of the worker, the size of the company, and the work environment the analyst is tasked to produce results within.
Data analysts may be required to do everything from deciphering technical problems with data management systems to resolving customer complaints with the help of previously collected data.
Data analysts could also be in rapidly changing work environments.
As new problems develop, or new data comes in, they will be required to adapt to it quickly and interpret the results of ever-changing data pools. It’s a tough job, but having the right level of experience, training, and motivation can help.
Is a Data Analyst Salary Worth the Demands of the Job?
For some people, they love their work. They get to do what they’re passionate about and make a true difference in peoples’ lives. For others, they find their occupation grueling and dislike it.
But regardless of the personal opinion one has of a data analyst job, is it worth it for the money?
There is some subjectivity here – as different people place value on their time differently. If a job lands on the low end of the data analyst salary range but has a high level of responsibility, a person may dislike it.
On the opposite side, a position could be relatively easy, or at the very least fulfilling, and be very lucrative because the pay is good.
There are also other factors to consider like income mobility within a company, the work schedule, how easy management is to work with, commute time, and benefits – all these play a role in determining whether a job is truly worth it to a worker.
Data analysts carry a lot of responsibility, and the work environment can be very demanding.
But for those who understand the field and are motivated to excel, they may find the salary they’re capable of earning is easily worth their time.
Becoming a data analyst isn’t easy – there’s a lot of technical knowledge to be acquired and a lot of training to be done. But once a person understands their responsibilities and adapts to the demands of their new job, they can easily earn an impressive salary and enjoy opportunities to increase their earnings.
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