In this age of technology and information overload, organizations have more data at their fingertips than ever before. So how do they turn all this data into meaningful and actionable knowledge?

What is a Data Analyst?

“A data analyst is someone who tries to make sense of raw data that is being collected. Depending on the organization, data can range from customer transactions to political campaign polls or even crime investigations,” says Dr. Piotr Szczurek, an Assistant Professor at Lewis University and Director of the Master of Science in Data Science program. The data analyst then provides the information to the decision makers who will act upon it.

Learn Desired Skills with an Advanced Education

A bachelor’s degree will most likely be required to earn an entry-level job in data analysis, though many professionals go a step further and attend graduate school to open up more advanced career options and further hone their skills in a particular concentration.

Lewis University’s two year, online M.S. in Data Science program, prepares students for future careers as data scientists and data analysts. According to Dr. Szczurek, students entering the master’s program usually have a background in social science, computer science, business or engineering as undergraduates.

During the program, students will develop fundamental skills through courses such as data mining, statistics and data visualization. In addition, they can choose to specialize in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics or Computer Science, depending on their interests. “With these specific concentration courses, you really have a leg up on the competition,” says Dr. Szczurek.

Gaining Work Experience in Data Analysis

A data analyst salary is around $62,000 for beginners in the industry. However, attaining that dream job involves not only having the right educational background, but also some professional experience, which may be hard to come by for someone new to the field. Still, “there are a lot of things you can do on your own to gain experience and build up your resume in the process,” Dr. Szczurek says.

He recommends working on projects independently and becoming active in data science software-building communities like GitHub. Dr. Szczurek also encourages aspiring data analysts to enter competitions such as those offered on Kaggle, which serve as a resume booster and a testament to one’s competence in the field.

The data science industry is in high demand and continues to grow. “Advances in technology have created an enormous increase in the amount of data that’s available these days, which necessitates more analysis and more analysts who can make sense of such data to help drive decision-making for organizations,” stated Dr. Szczurek.

To learn more about how a Master’s in Data Science can help you advance your career as a data analyst, request more information or call 866-967-7046 to speak with a Graduate Admission Counselor today.