what is an analyst?

As an analyst, you gather and interpret data. You identify trends to decide what steps a business needs to take to maximise profits. Analysts typically evaluate different topics to provide feedback to their clients or employer. You can work for public and private companies, investment banks, insurance companies and financial institutions.

Analysts in businesses examine and study systems, processes and operations and oversee technology integration. These professionals also look at how organisations generate revenue. They help make decisions by gathering and interpreting data, allowing companies to predict future events accurately. Therefore, your job requires you to stay on top of market or industry trends and new regulations.

As an analyst, you need to be confident using spreadsheets and working with numbers to guarantee accuracy. Communicating your ideas precisely to your peers, clients, and superiors is essential to save time and improve efficiency. Attention to detail is crucial because a minor error or miscalculation can strongly impact anything, from stock prices to corporate strategies.

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average analyst salary

The average salary of an analyst is $90,000 - $144,000 per year. The role attracts a remuneration package of $80,000 annually at entry-level positions. With experience, your earnings can rise to $144,000 per year due to the value you bring to the company. The remuneration package for analysts usually fluctuates depending on the specialisation. 

how to increase your analyst salary

You can boost your salary prospects as an analyst by improving your qualifications and skills. When you have postgraduate qualifications and certifications, you are likely to earn more. The professional skills you bring also help to enhance your remunerations. Most employers are willing to pay higher salaries for hands-on experience and knowledge of the latest analytical tools. 

Your area of specialisation affects your salary prospects. For instance, working in business or financial analysis guarantees higher remuneration than working as a data analyst. The location also influences the remuneration package of analysts. If you work in metro areas or large cities, the demand for analysts and the cost of living raise your salary prospects.

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types of analysts

Some types of analysts include:

  • business analyst: as a business analyst, your focus is on generating reports and key performance indicator metrics. You report directly to directors and managers. Business analysts also meet with clients to discover problems and develop solutions.
  • research analyst: as a research analyst, you create investigative reports on assets or securities for a client or for in-house use. Research analysts have a high level of accuracy and the ability to recognise trends and patterns.
  • financial analyst: as a finance analyst, you review monetary and economic analyses for internal or external clients. You offer insight and guidance to individuals or organisations making investment decisions.
  • marketing analyst: marketing analysts monitor and improve marketing efforts using different tools. They often work for PR firms and communications groups.
  • support analyst: as a support analyst, you work in customer service operations and often oversee the development of refund policies, support help centres and deliver product feedback.

working as an analyst

Working as an analyst involves gathering and evaluating data and interpreting the results into helpful information companies can use to make decisions. Let's explore the duties of an analyst.

Two men working together in an office
Two men working together in an office

analyst education and skills

You need the following qualification to be an analyst:

  • bachelor's degree: acquiring a bachelor's degree is the first step into the analyst role. You can pursue any bachelor's degree in a relevant field. Most employers prefer employees with a degree in business analytics, information technology or financial information systems. You can pursue business administration if you wish to specialise in a business analyst role. You should also consider completing a master's in information systems, business analytics or data analytics.
  • work experience: you need extensive experience in the field to land a job as an analyst. Consider interning as you study to improve your skills and gain some work experience. If you want to be a business analyst, entry-level roles in data analysis will familiarise you with the relevant technical requirements.

analyst skills and competencies

Some qualities of an analyst include:

  • creative thinking skills: as an analyst, you need to develop great ideas and strategies. Creative thinking helps you choose one approach to many problems and generate innovative ideas. It is useful when updating existing concepts since you can develop inspiring ideas.
  • analytical skills and inclusive skills such as: mathematics, knowledge of Tableau, financial modelling, python programming
  • knowledge of Microsoft Excel, Powerpoint & Power Business Intelligence.  These are non-negotiables for most companies as a lot of them use Microsoft.
  • communication skills: as an analyst, you must interact with clients when making presentations. You need communication skills to relate to your audience and ensure you communicate in terms that all stakeholders can understand. Written communications skills are useful in report writing and preparing visual presentations.
  • problem-solving skills: you need exceptional problem-solving techniques to deal with complex issues. Your problem-solving skills will help you identify problems faster and determine possible solutions before they escalate or cause losses to the business.
  • technical skills: you need to be comfortable using statistical methods and tools. You should be familiar with IT forecasting tools and ways to use them for data analysis.
  • decision-making skills: as an analyst, you are in charge of determining the analytical tools and statistical methods to use in the analysis. Decision-making skills will help you make critical decisions fast and select effective analytical tools.

FAQs about working as an analyst

Here are the most asked questions about working as an analyst:

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