Analyst Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: June 22, 2022

An Analyst, or Data Analyst, collects and interprets data to help a company take actionable steps to improve their performance and meet goals. Their duties include gathering company information and statistics, building charts and graphs to present results to executives and finding ways to improve a company’s efficiencies using gathered data.

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Analyst duties and responsibilities

The successful candidate will not only be responsible for the master data set of the company but generating reports and correcting any data issues and problems that may arise. Other duties and/or responsibilities that the candidate will undertake regularly include:

  • Gathering and analyzing data
  • Interpreting gathered data
  • Submitting reports to the relevant department heads and management
  • Finding patterns and trends in the analyzed data
  • Helping the management and other teams draw business goals and needs
  • Establishing new data gathering and analysis techniques within the organization
  • Formulating procedural manuals for all departments
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What does an Analyst do?

Analysts usually work in an office environment collecting and interpreting a company’s performance statistics and other relevant data. They take this information and rework it into charts, graphs and workflows to help leadership teams better understand the data. Analysts use current statistics to find areas of improvement regarding the company’s performance, efficiency or financial status. They’ll then provide their recommendations for new business strategies or operational processes and present these to executives. After implementing the plan, Analysts measure its progress to find more ways to improve it.

Analyst skills and qualifications

Analyst applicants should meet basic skill and qualification requirements to be able to perform the common job duties. Common skill requirements are:

  • At least four years’ experience as an Analyst in an established organization
  • 5+ years’ experience in data mining
  • Leadership skills with proven experience managing a small team
  • Strong analytical skills
  • Proficiency in mathematics with the skill to translate complex mathematical information into understandable reports
  • Strong oral and written communication skills
  • Report writing and presentation skills

Analyst salary expectations

An Analyst makes an average salary of $70.898 per year and a bonus of up to $4,000. Candidates with higher qualifications may attract a higher salary, bonus and benefits subject to the company’s terms and conditions.

Analyst education and training requirements

The person who applies for this position should have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a degree in mathematics from an accredited institution or its equivalent. An MSc in mathematics, computer science or machine learning is an added advantage. Other fields that are acceptable include economics, statistics and information management at either a bachelor’s or master’s level.

Some certifications that are desirable but not mandatory for applicants include Professional in Business Analysis (PBA), Agile Analysis Certification (AAC) and Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP). Relevant work and hands-on experience may be a substitute for any of the above certifications.

Analyst experience requirements

The successful candidate should have worked as an Analyst previously at an established business or organization. They should possess solid technical expertise in formulating database designs, data models, data mining skills and segmentation techniques. A solid grasp of reporting techniques, databases (SQL and no-SQL), programming experience and programming concepts is crucial for this role. Since this is a dynamic field, the applicant should be up to date with current data mining trends and tools. The best candidates will have experience of statistical tools such as Excel, SPSS and SAS.

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Frequently asked questions about Analysts


What are the different types of Analysts?

Analysts can work in different departments analyzing various sets of data. Some Analysts serve in a general role by collection and analyzing data throughout the entire company, while others may focus primarily on one subject matter or department. Software Analysts evaluate the scope of the company’s software project, determine the users’ needs and requirements of the programs, then report this information to the Software Developers. 

Business Analysts focus less on gathering and analyzing data and more on using pre-analyzed data to make business decision and implement valuable changes to the company’s operations. Usually, a separate Data Analyst employee will collect and analyze the data for the Business Analyst to interpret and build projects.


Which industries do Analysts typically work in?

Analysts can work in a variety of industries usually completing their general tasks of analyzing and interpreting data. Some Financial Analysts work in banks or insurance companies assessing stock and bond performance. They use this information to help businesses make smarter investment decisions. Other Analysts work in the government and public sector using data and case studies to determine strategies that improve government programs. Some Analysts may work independently, traveling to companies analyzing their data and advising them on how to enhance their performance or financial status.


What makes a good Analyst?

A strong Analyst should have an extensive knowledge of and a passion for numbers and statistics, since they regularly comb through data for hours at a time. They must use critical thinking abilities to find solutions to complex challenges presented by the data. 

Analysts should also have experience using various software programs to analyze data and build charts and graphs. They must also know how to use popular presentation tools to speak to leaders about new strategies to implement. Strong candidates also possess confidence and public speaking qualities to effectively present and convince executives to follow their plans. 


What's the difference between an Analyst and Data Scientist?

Though they both gather and interpret data, Analysts and Data Scientists hold some differences. Data Scientists use business’ current statistics to predict future problem or occurrences. Their role primarily involves addressing future issues and finding ways to either prevent these problems from occurring or putting measures in place to keep the issue from becoming too drastically damaging. Most Analysts compile company data and use it to solve and improve current challenges in the workplace, rather than focusing on future occurrences.

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