Market research and statistical data are important tools for companies today. This is because they help businesses make informed decisions. Research analysts are professionals employed to derive actionable data from market research. These experts have become indispensable in many organizations.
There are many reasons why you should explore how to become a research analyst. For instance, these professionals are paid well above the national average. The demand for professionals offering related services is also expected to increase over the next decade. Read on to find out how you can become a research analyst.
What Is a Research Analyst?
A research analyst is responsible for preparing market reports from data collection and analysis to allow stakeholders to make informed decisions. These reports are compiled from research, analysis, and interpretation of data involving markets, economies, customers, and finance.
The main role of a research analyst is to study previous and existing market conditions to derive actionable insights to be used in formulating strategies for the future. Most of these professionals work in management, finance, insurance, and wholesale trade companies.
Research Analyst Job Description
A research analyst’s job involves transforming raw data into actionable insights on behalf of a company or organization. They conduct research and examine historical data from various sources. They also validate data to ensure its accuracy.
Using mathematical and statistical models, these professionals analyze data to find patterns that might reveal business opportunities. After the analytical process, they compile their findings in reports and presentations to facilitate decision-making by stakeholders.
Research Analyst Salary and Job Outlook
The job outlook for research analysts is fairly promising. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that the job prospects for market research analysts will improve by 22 percent over the next decade as demand for related services increases. This means that you are likely to enjoy many employment opportunities in this role.
These opportunities also come with respectable salaries. According to BLS, the median salary for market research analysts is $65,810 per year. This figure is high considering the national average salary for all occupations is about $56,310.
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Top Reasons to Become a Research Analyst in 2021
There are plenty of reasons why you should consider pursuing a career as a research analyst. Apart from increased demand, pursuing a career in this field means you can enjoy reasonably high salaries, better than the national average. Here are more reasons why you should consider a career as a research analyst.
- A research career can be rewarding. There is a lot of job satisfaction that comes with using analytics to help businesses take advantage of market opportunities.
- Research analysis is a diverse field with numerous opportunities. Research is a broad field that cuts across several disciplines including arts, humanities, engineering, and life sciences. This means that you will have many employment opportunities.
- This field has many talented workers to help expand your network. These professionals have many opportunities to expand their professional networks and improve their overall career development.
- Little experience is required for entry-level positions. According to a recent survey on Glassdoor, about 48 percent of research analyst jobs require less than a year of job experience. It is possible to complete your training and land a full-time job with little to no work experience.
Research Analyst Job Requirements
A research analyst’s job requirements vary across different industries and organizations. However, you need strong math and statistical skills to work in related positions. Below are a few standard job requirements for research analysts.
- Bachelor’s or master’s degree in a related discipline. Most employers prefer hiring candidates with a Bachelor’s Degree in Statistics, Math, or a related discipline. Senior positions may require a master’s degree.
- Experience. Most entry-level positions do not require candidates to have experience. However, mid-level or senior positions may require a minimum of two to four years of experience in conducting research.
- Strong analytical and critical thinking skills. The ability to conduct financial analysis and build predictive models is essential. Additionally, critical thinking comes in handy when evaluating and interpreting data from various sources.
- Excellent presentation skills. These skills are important because an effective analyst is someone who can present their findings in a way that effectively communicates the message to stakeholders.
Types of Research Analyst Careers
The versatility of this field means that there are several types of research analyst careers. These professionals can work in many sectors, including healthcare, technology, marketing, finance, government, and management, among others. Consider the following research analyst job titles.
Market Research Analyst
Market research analyst jobs involve studying market conditions to determine potential sales of a product or service. These analysts conduct market research and gather information on past and present market conditions. This data is used to create marketing strategies for the future.
Financial analysts often work for banks or insurance companies. As an important cog in the investment industry, they draw insights from financial data and send their reports to investment firms. They examine bonds, stocks, securities, and other financial instruments to help businesses make informed decisions about spending money to make a profit.
The best way to be successful in this finance career is by passing the three-part Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exam from the CFA Institute.
Operations Research Analyst
To become an operations analyst, you need advanced skills in math and statistics. Like market research analysts, operations research analysts gather and interpret data to solve complex issues that arise in business operations. This helps businesses be better prepared for the future.
Research Analyst Meaning: What Does a Research Analyst Do?
A research analyst is principally responsible for research, data collection, interpretation, and making recommendations based on research findings. Their job duties vary, but it all boils down to processing raw data and generating actionable business insights. Below are a few typical duties of a research analyst.
Leads Data Research
These professionals must conduct research, which involves evaluating data from various sources. These might include internal databases, historical sources, and consumer reports. They also validate the accuracy of the data to provide meaningful and credible information.
Analyzes Raw Data
Research analysts use statistical and mathematical modeling to derive patterns that may reveal business opportunities. These experts must be able to analyze raw and processed data.
Presents and Interprets Data
Presenting data is often done through reports and presentations, which provide insights. The purpose of a typical report is to interpret data and explain it to stakeholders from a business perspective.
Essential Research Analyst Skills
Research analysts require several hard and soft skills to excel in their jobs. Although these skills might vary with the seniority of the job, these professionals work with numbers and raw data to provide actionable insights. Below are a few essential research analyst skills and competencies.
Mathematical and Statistical Skills
These skills are important as they help with the bulk of the work. As a research analyst, you need to be able to work with data using several statistical and mathematical models.
Research, Fact-Checking, and Validation Skills
These skills come in handy when validating data and its sources. If the information lacks accuracy and credibility, the results of the analysis will be meaningless.
Communication, Presentation, and Writing Skills
Communication skills are essential when presenting and interpreting the findings from data collection and analysis.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Research Analyst?
It will take you about four to seven years to become a research analyst. Most related positions require candidates to have a bachelor’s degree. However, some positions might require more advanced education, such as a master’s degree, which takes two to three years to complete.
Can a Coding Bootcamp Help Me Become a Research Analyst?
Yes, a coding bootcamp can help you become a research analyst. Many top coding bootcamps offer data analytics programs and other related courses in addition to programming courses. Many professionals who seek an alternative to a university education enroll in a coding bootcamp that offers programs in data analytics.
Such coding bootcamps are worth it, considering the reasonably lower cost of education and time needed to complete these programs. Besides, most of these schools offer career placement services, which help in building job experience. For such reasons, consider enrolling in one of the best data analytics bootcamps.
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Can I Become a Research Analyst from Home?
Yes, you can study to become a research analyst from home, either by taking the best data analytics courses online, enrolling in an online bootcamp, or finding an online degree program. As long as the program you find is available in your area and well-reviewed, you can learn research analysis a few hours at a time, in between other tasks.
How to Become a Research Analyst: A Step-by-Step Guide
There are several paths to becoming a successful research analyst. The best one is by completing a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a related field. Work experience may also be necessary for higher-level positions. In addition, you can earn relevant certifications such as the Certified Research Analyst (CRA) to increase your marketability.
Consider the following steps to become a research analyst.
Step 1: Earn a Degree in a Relevant Field
You should consider earning a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree in Marketing, Math, Statistics, Business Administration, Data Science, or Market Research. Most research analyst positions require candidates to have a degree in one of these fields.
Step 2: Increase Work Experience
Employers prefer hiring professionals with job experience. For this reason, consider internship programs or entry-level research analyst roles to prepare you for mid-level or senior job opportunities.
Step 3: Advance Your Education Through Certifications
Passing certification exams enables you to join an elite group of professionals who have demonstrated excellent research skills. This significantly increases your marketability, meaning you’ll be able to land research analyst positions that offer higher than average market salaries.
Best Schools and Education for a Research Analyst Career
Several education paths and schools can set you on a path to becoming a research analyst. The best education program for these professionals is a bachelor’s degree. However, there are other options available. We have listed these education paths below.
Research Analyst Bootcamps
Coding bootcamps offer programming-related courses designed to help you launch your tech career. Many of these schools also offer programs in statistics, data analytics, and other related fields for aspiring research analysts. Such bootcamps include Thinkful, Le Wagon, General Assembly, Ironhack, and Coding Dojo.
Vocational schools offer training programs designed to equip students with skills to work in a specific trade. Unfortunately, there are few schools offering research analysis programs because this is a technical field typically associated with academic institutions of higher education.
A community college is an educational institution that confers associate degrees. An associate degree will enable you to join a four-year program at a university. However, you can also use this degree to pursue entry-level opportunities. Many of the best community colleges in the United States offer data analytics programs.
Research Analyst Degrees
The best way to become a research analyst is by earning a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree in Business Administration, Math, Statistics, or a related field. Employers typically prefer candidates with undergraduate degrees from universities, whether that be a prestigious private university like Harvard or a respected state college like Penn State.
The Most Important Research Analyst Certifications
Certifications are a great way to pick up new skills while proving your proficiency. Certifications look amazing on a research analyst resume, enabling you to impress your future employer and land jobs with better salaries. Below are important research analyst certifications you should consider.
Certified Research Analyst (CRA)
This certification is ideal especially for new research analysts looking to launch their careers because it is designed for those with no experience. It covers everything you need to know about market research and the tools used. This certificate costs about $530.
Certified Research Expert (CRE)
This certification includes online training for professionals looking to distinguish themselves as market research specialists. However, you need to have a year’s worth of experience before enrolling in this program. It costs about $600.
How to Prepare for Your Research Analyst Job Interview
Technical interviews can be tricky, especially without proper preparation. However, going through interview questions is a great way to get ready for your interview.
Below are some sample questions that you should review when preparing for your research analyst job interview.
Research Analyst Job Interview Practice Questions
- How would you begin a newly assigned research project?
- There are five people in a given room. Each chooses a random number from one to ten. What is the probability that three or more people have the exact same number?
- How do you ensure a research analysis project is delivered on time?
- Describe the most challenging project that you’ve worked on.
Should I Become a Research Analyst in 2021?
Yes, you should consider a career as a research analyst, especially if you have strong math, statistics, and analytical skills. The job outlook for these professionals is promising, with the job demand set to increase over the next decade. You will have a wide range of employment opportunities and a higher-than-average annual salary to look forward to.
Research Analyst FAQ
Can You Become a Research Analyst Without a Degree?
It is hard to become a research analyst without a relevant job degree since most related positions require students to have a degree in finance, statistics, or a different relevant field. However, there are data analytics programs offered at top coding bootcamps that can help you launch your career as a research analyst.
Is It Hard to Become a Research Analyst?
Research analysts often apply concepts and models from math and statistics, which can be fairly challenging. You need to study and practice a lot, and the courses are often rigorous and fast-paced.
Is a Research Analyst and a Data Analyst the Same?
These two professions are similar, but they have slight differences. It all depends on the job description and the sector or organization. While both of these analysts mine data and seek to interpret it, research analysts use more external sources and spend more time validating the credibility of the information.
Who Can Be a Research Analyst?
Anyone with a knack for math, statistics, and analysis can pursue a career in research analysis. However, earning an advanced degree and certification increases your chances of becoming a successful research analyst.
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