- Types of analyst
- What do analysts do?
- Analyst career path
- Analyst salaries
- Qualifications & training
- Analyst skills
- Pros and cons of being an analyst
- Work-life balance of an analyst
- Typical employers hiring analysts
- Related jobs to analyst
- More information
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Types of analyst
An analyst is an important employee across many departments and sectors. Here are just some of the types of analyst jobs that are available to you depending on your skills and interests:
As an environmental analyst, it’s your job to determine an organisation’s impact on the environment. You look at the outputs of an organisation and write reports based on your observations. Your job may include determining whether the organisation is complying with environmental policies of the countries it operates in.
Your job as a finance analyst is looking through an organisation’s financial statements and recognising any patterns or discrepancies. You might work with auditors, discussing the finances and providing support to their work.
As a risk analyst, you look into the financial risk that a company may face, determine how likely it is to happen and suggest ways of mitigating the risk to the company.
Data analysts look at what’s called “big data”, which is enormous quantities of data outputted by a company. It’s your job to look at this big data in the context of current and historic events to find patterns and to understand the meaning behind the data.
As an economic analyst, you look at the historic data from how the economy is performing and make informed suggestions for how you expect it to look in the future.
What does an analyst do?
In any analyst job, regardless of the focus and sector, you’re responsible for looking at data. Here are the tasks that you might expect in most or all analyst jobs:
- Analysing large quantities of data on the specific topic that you’re interested in
- Working with your team to find patterns
- Presenting your findings to your team, the company you’re working for and external stakeholders
- You may write reports about the findings, identifying areas of particular interest
- Suggesting areas of improvement or making recommendations for what a company could do to deal with any issues that are present in the data
Analyst career path
You can reach great heights as an analyst. Here is the typical career path associated with all different types of analyst job, regardless of the industry:
You begin as a junior analyst. This job is mostly designed to help you transfer your academic knowledge to practical experience. You gain the skills that you need for your future career. Part of the job is working with more senior analysts. You may support them in their work and do your own projects on the side.
After gaining experience, you become a mid-level analyst. By this point, you have more experience and understanding of the field. You can perform your work to a high level without frequently requiring the help of a more senior member of the team.
Once you’ve progressed even further, you become a senior analyst. In this job, you have more complex projects to work on. For an environmental analyst, this might be working with more complex issues and for a data analyst, this might be finding more complex patterns and meanings in the data. As a senior analyst, you can request that junior members of the team provide assistance in your work, for example collecting contextual data. You present your team’s results to management staff.
If you want to move away from analytics and into a management role, you become an analytics manager. In this role, you’re responsible for assigning work to your team. You may work to find more effective methods of analysis if needed in the organisation. You make sure your team is working successfully and collaboratively.
Being in analytics could see you moving up within a company. Here are the salary levels that you might expect when working as an analyst:
- In an entry-level position, you work as a junior analyst. In this role, you earn an average of £27,000 per year. The average is £26,000 per year for energy and data analysts.
- Being an analyst is considered a mid-level position. Analysts earn £35,000 per year on average. This is £30,000 for data analysts and £37,000 for economic analysts.
- The salary range for analysts in general is between £23,000 and £60,000 per year
- As a senior analyst, you earn an average of £42,000 per year. This is an average of £45,000 per year for data and risk analysts.
Qualifications and training
Reaching high levels in an analytics career path means having the right education and experience to do the job well and get the attention of hiring managers. Here is what you need to succeed in the sector:
Most analyst jobs require an undergraduate degree. Having a master’s degree is often useful but isn’t typically a requirement for analyst jobs. The subject of your degree depends on the type of analyst job you want to have. Finance and risk analysts need a maths-focused degree. This could be maths or statistics. A degree in economics is also relevant because it gives you an understanding of the wider context of economic systems rather than a focused view of maths.
Being an environmental analyst requires a subject which unsurprisingly focuses on the environment. This could be environmental science, chemistry or bioscience. The degree should combine study of the environment with maths.
Data analysts also need a great understanding of maths. Relevant degrees span finance, statistics, computer science and economics.
An alternative to the traditional university path is completing an apprenticeship. This is when companies pay you to work for them and train you as an analyst at the same time. Some apprenticeships include attending university whilst working for the company, but with your tuition paid for alongside a salary for the professional work you do. Having an apprenticeship gives you a more specialised education entirely focused on the job you’ll go on to do after the apprenticeship is finished. If you’re interested in exploring apprenticeship opportunities, you can use this government apprenticeship search tool to see what’s available to you.
Securing a job in analytics requires you to prove to a hiring manager that you’re the best candidate for the role. Having some relevant work experience helps you learn the skills that you need to do the job and stand out in an application. Work experience that you could get includes an internship. You can secure an internship through two main methods. Firstly, you can look at the internships advertised by large companies in the industry you want to work in. These are often during the summer and are geared towards students in their second and third years of university or for graduates wanting experience. If you want to look for internships using this method, explore the internships available right now.
The second method is to do some creative networking. This means either going to events and meeting with people who are currently working in the industry or asking questions through social media platforms like LinkedIn. Once you’ve built up some rapport over a few weeks, you can skip application processes and ask them if there are any unpaid opportunities at the company they work for. If you want a more thorough understanding of how to do this, you can read this article on Bright advice for networking.
To succeed as an analyst, you need a combination of hard and soft skills which makes you stand out to any hiring manager.
- Maths. This is a fairly basic requirement. Having a high level of maths helps you perform your mathematical analysis. You gain this skill from your university course or during an apprenticeship.
- Specialised knowledge. Since analyst jobs are specialised into sectors - for example, finance, risk, environment and data - having a good understanding of the specific area that you want to work in makes you more qualified for the job you want.
- Data analysis. All analysis jobs focus around data analysis. Being able to sort through data to find meaning and patterns is critical for this job.
- Attention to detail. You should be able to notice patterns in large quantities of data which means being detail-focused and being able to explore many avenues in the data.
- Concentration. This job requires a great deal of concentration to stay focused on the data you’re looking at all day.
Learn about the top skills you need to work in financial services.
Pros and cons of being an analyst
You may have identified the ideal job for you in being an analyst. However, before committing to the career path, there are positive and negative points about the job that you should consider.
- You could earn a very high salary in top analyst jobs
- It’s very satisfying when you find a pattern or find meaning in the data
- There are often good pension schemes offered to analysts
- For jobs like environmental analyst, you have the option to work in many different industries. You could work with energy companies, global businesses or even in the government or the public sector
- As an environmental analyst, some of your work will be analysing the impact that a company is actually having which means working in the field
- You have extremely long working weeks in some analyst jobs
- In most analyst jobs, your day is spent staring at a screen full of numbers
- All analysis takes time which you might not have sufficient of to take your project to its limits
- Some jobs like finance analyst are highly stressful due to the importance which is put on the results of your work
- Analysis in general is very structured and leaves little room for creativity
- Most analyst jobs don’t have any form of travel
- If you’re doing any form of field work, like as an environmental analyst, this comes with travel and irregular working hours
Work-life balance of an analyst
As an analyst, the hours you work depend on the type of industry you’re in. As an investment banking analyst, you may work up to 80 hours a week. If you’re a data analyst, this might be between 40 and 60 hours depending on if you have any big deadlines.
As an analyst, most of your work is conducted in an office. You take data that you’re given by your team from different departments and analyse it, sometimes taking the time to discuss this with the colleagues it relates to.
Typical employers hiring analysts
Here are the types of company that you might be interested in exploring for jobs in analytics:
Related jobs to analyst
Want to know more? Explore this Bright advice from a business analyst at Betfair.