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How to Become a Data Analyst-Statistician

Data Analysts and Statisticians are professionals who spend the majority of their time analysing data. So if maths and more specifically statistics have always been your passion, a career as a data analyst –statistician could be the right choice for you.

What do Data Analyst-Statistician do?

Data Analysts collect and analyse numerical data. They take extremely complex statistical numerical data and present it in a form that people who are not mathematicians can understand. This usually takes the form of graphs, charts, diagrams, tables and reports. Their primary activities are usually to follow trends, and create models to predict likely situations for the future. This can help businesses, especially financial businesses, to mitigate the amount of risks they take. Typical workplace activities could include:

  • Identifying trends and patterns to aid companies when making decisions
  • Analysing market research and trends in consumer feedback
  • Analysing opinion polls
  • Creating predictive models for the demand of services or goods
  • Checking quality control standards

What Sectors Would I Work in

  • Local and national government
  • Market research
  • Business, finance and insurance
  • NHS management
  • Crime analysis and forensics
  • Education

Salary

Data analysis can be a reasonably lucrative career path, with quite a generous entry level salary. As with most jobs the pay can vary a huge amount depending on whether or not you are working in the public or private sector. But as with any private sector job, you lose job security and a generous pension as well as various other benefits in return for a higher salary.

Entry Level

£20,000 and £27,000

Experienced

£40,000 to £53,000

Chief Statistician

£70,000

Skills Required:

  • Natural ability in maths and science subjects
  • To be a logical and methodical thinker
  • Great communication and teamwork skills
  • Excellent problem solving skills
  • A keen attention to detail
  • IT skills

Qualifications and Entry Requirements

  • A degree in statistics, mathematics, psychology, economics, medical science or any other math based subject.
  • Alternatively, you could take the Graduate Diploma in Statistics from the Royal Statistical Society.
  • Depending on your employer you may be required to pursue a postgraduate qualification such as a Master’s Degree or Doctorate.
  • Having a deep understanding of statistical software such as SPSS as well as Microsoft Excel is extremely beneficial when applying for Data Analysis jobs.

Professional Training

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The majority of your training will take place on the job where you will work under the supervision of a more experienced statistician or data analyst. You will be encouraged to continue your professional development throughout your career and work towards professional qualifications such as the Chartered Statistician (CStat) from the Royal Statistical Society. This can only be pursued once you have at least an honours degree in statistics and a minimum of five years’ experience. 

Career Prospects

The potential career prospects for data analyst- statisticians is extremely good with strong growth predicted. Although the largest single employer of statisticians in the UK is the Office of National Statistics (ONS), employing over 1000 statisticians, it is far from the only employer. In fact, the job market in the UK for Data Analysts and Statisticians is predicted to grow from 1509000 in 2014 to 1685000 by 2020.

Despite the good career prospects and relatively high pay this is not a career choice for everyone. In order to do this job you need to be extremely good at maths and more specifically statistics. It is also important that you enjoy working with numbers otherwise you will hate your job and quite possibly eventually switch to another career. 

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