• Data analysts use data to help businesses maximize profits and overall success.
  • Data analysts are needed across all types of industries, and job growth is continuing to rise.
  • Top paying jobs offer six-figure salaries.

One of the best ways that businesses can be successful is through the power of data. This information can tell you key details about customers and other business insights to help make better decisions for the company. The professionals that help make these observations with data are data analysts. Whether they’re designing the software, interpreting data, or coming up with business plans based on the data, there are plenty of careers to choose from.

With the right education and experience, you can be hired as a data analyst to earn a six-figure salary. You can search online to find out which opportunities are out there for you.

Here are some top paying data analyst careers in the U.S.

Quantitative Analyst

A quantitative analyst is responsible for providing insight into complex financial systems. They use mathematical models to assess and manage financial risk, price securities, inform the timing of trades, and other necessary analysis. Those who want to break into the field will benefit from having a degree in physics, engineering, computer science, or applied math.1

According to Indeed, the average salary is $147,626 per year.2 Some places that employ quantitative analysts include:

  • Commercial and investment banks;
  • Wealth management firms;
  • Hedge funds;
  • Insurance companies, and;
  • Accountancy firms.

Data Analytics Consultant

Data analytics consultants interpret data and find new insights to help companies become more successful. Information is collected, cleaned, and analyzed before analysts are able to build new strategies that can propel a business towards achievement. Woz U says this job is more concerned about the results of data and less involved in the mechanics or process of data analysis.3

While Salary.com lists the average salary for an analytics consultant at $108,327, some professionals could earn as much as $160,000.4

Data Architect

Rather than designing homes and buildings, data architects are responsible for creating blueprints an organization uses for their data management system. Talent.com reports the average salary for this position in the U.S. is $142,910 per year.5

Coursera says a data architect can be responsible for:

  • Translating business requirements into databases, data warehouses, and data stems;
  • Evaluating current data architecture;
  • Keeping databases secure;
  • Ensuring data accuracy and accessibility, and;
  • Researching data acquisition opportunities.6

Operations Analyst

Those who are organized and pay close attention to detail could thrive as an operations analyst. These professionals are hired to analyze business operations and implement process improvements. They collect information from various departments, colleagues, and databases to help support business decision making.7

According to Pearson, the median salary of an operations analyst is $84,810, though you could earn more depending on the sector.8 This profession is needed across many industries, such as manufacturing, finance, and government.

Systems Analyst

The job of a systems analyst is to ensure computer systems and infrastructures are functioning properly and efficiently. If there is a problem, they are responsible for finding a solution and recommending a course of action. They also take into consideration the needs of various stakeholders and business processes when doing so.9

U.S. News reports that computer systems analysts make a median salary of $93,730. Some professionals can make as much as $120,000.10

Marketing Analyst

Another job that revolves around interpreting data is a marketing analyst. These professionals are tasked with finding new marketing insights and reviewing marketing campaign results. Part of the job is researching competitors, understanding current customers, and utilizing data to obtain new ones.11

According to Indeed, the average base salary for a marketing analyst is $62,201 per year.12 Most companies prefer that you have at least a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, data analytics, marketing, or other relevant fields.

Data Journalist

If you’re someone with a knack for storytelling and passion for numbers, consider becoming a data journalist. These reporters analyze, interpret data, and make sense of it to share with an audience. This data can be reported in written articles and with visual aids like charts or graphs.13

The pay of a data journalist can vary, but ZipRecruiter says the average annual salary is $107,754 per year. Top earners in this field could earn as much as $191,500.14

Business Intelligence Analyst

Companies require business intelligence analysts to use data to increase efficiency and maximize profits. They look for trends and other noteworthy insights to help decide the next move a business should make. Not only do they observe their own company’s data, but also from competitors to recommend the best growth strategies.15

According to Indeed, the average base salary for a business analyst is $85,696. You may also be entitled to a cash bonus of $6,000 per year.16

Other Data Analyst Career Paths

With data being essential for the success of many businesses, there is no shortage of job opportunities for data analysts. This skillset is in demand across all types of industries which means you can end up doing work in an industry you’re most interested in. This also opens the door to other data analyst careers you might not know exist.

Some other career paths to consider include:

  • Corporate strategy analyst;
  • Actuary;
  • Web analytics;
  • Fraud analytics;
  • Social media data analyst, and;
  • Machine learning analyst.17

Becoming a Data Analyst

The best way to prepare yourself for a data analyst career is through education. Coursera says most entry-level positions will require a bachelor degree.18 Though you may also be able to qualify for your jobs with other types of education such as a professional certificate, bootcamp, or self-study course.

The following technical skills are also important for data analysts to have:

  • Statistics;
  • R or Python programming;
  • Structured Query Language;
  • Data visualization, and;
  • Data cleaning and preparation.

Is Experience Required to Become a Data Analyst?

The short answer is no. While having some training is beneficial when looking for a career as a data analyst, ultimately the current job market is working in favor of those with relatively little training. Around 93% of workforces19 are not as productive as they could be due to lack of data skills.

Even more importantly is searching for companies who offer paid training. While much of what you need for the job can be learned while doing the day-to-day,  look at places like Springboard who offer to train you and provide you with a job guarantee20 once you have finished.

Practice Your Skills with Real Data

Another factor to consider when getting an education is tackling real life data projects. This will allow you to put your learning to the test and better prepare you for jobs. To find projects with valuable learning experience, look into programs that offer hands-on projects with real data sets.

Coursera also says that utilizing real data sets will help you to build a portfolio. Employers will look at this and better understand your ability to read data and offer valuable insights. Overall, a combination of education and actual data analyzing will better prepare you for the job hunt.

Search Online for Data Analyst Jobs

Data analysts are essential for companies across many industries. They use the power of data to help make businesses thrive and determine the next steps in decision making. If you’re someone who enjoys collecting or interpreting data, this might be the job sector for you.

Start a search online to learn more about jobs for data analysts. You can find out what type of education and other necessary experience is needed to apply to jobs you’re most interested in. There is also plenty of salary information available, so you can start applying to the highest paying data analyst jobs.