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How to Become a Data Consultant

Data consultants are in demand in various fields because their expertise in general data management can help companies better serve clients and improve productivity. This means that entering this field can easily lead to a lucrative career with growing opportunities in the coming years.

This article will cover everything you need to know about how to become a data consultant, including the job requirements, necessary skills, and average salary. It will also cover essential information about the field, such as the steps to take to become a data consultant, potential educational paths, and job outlook.

What Is a Data Consultant?

A data consultant, also known as a system consultant, is responsible for analyzing and documenting a company's data management processes. The role involves educating clients or companies on various aspects of data and modern technology.

Data consultants build a client’s analytical skills and data competency, helping them find strategies to increase the productivity of their business. To do this, they often have to build and maintain databases, data flows, and spreadsheets.

Data Consultant Job Description

Data consultants use their knowledge to ensure that their client's data is properly managed and secure in databases. They regularly analyze data and present their findings in data flows and spreadsheets to help a business increase productivity.

Data consultants often have to inspect operating processes and IT systems to ensure the business is operating at maximum capacity and is using ideal processes and functionality to meet the client’s needs. They also design research plans for data collection and analysis, participate in data interpretation, and develop plans based on the results of those analyses.

Data Consultant Salary and Job Outlook

According to PayScale, the average salary for an entry-level role as a data consultant is about $68,056. The annual average salary for the entire data consultant profession is about $84,103.

The Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS) does not have a separate listing for data consultants, but BLS predicts that the related field of management analysis will see 14 percent job growth from 2020 to 2030, which is faster than average.

Top Reasons to Become a Data Consultant in 2021

There are several reasons to become a data consultant in 2021. The career is in demand, and is predicted to grow even more so in the next 10 years. Their high salaries and flexible working options are also some reasons to become a data consultant.

  • Job outlook. The field is on the rise and there are bound to be many job opportunities available in the coming years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs at the intersection of data science and technical consulting are projected to increase by nearly 46 percent between 2020 and 2030.
  • Salary. PayScale estimates that the average salary of an entry-level data consultant is $68,056, which is higher than what many other professions earn. What is more, an experienced data consultant earns about $99,553 per year.
  • Flexibility. Data consultants don’t necessarily have to work in an office setting. They can choose to work with multiple companies at once, and only visit the clients when needed.
  • Job opportunities. Data consultants can work in several fields including financial organizations, retail businesses, computing organizations, and many more.

Data Consultant Job Requirements

The minimum educational requirement for a data consultant is a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science, IT Management, or any related field. They will also need to have strong communication skills, analytical skills, project management skills, as well as strong written and verbal soft skills.

  • Bachelor’s degree. A data consultant is expected to have a minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science, IT Management, or something similar.
  • Strong statistical and analytical skills. To become a successful data consultant, you must be able to analyze clients’ data efficiently. The only way to do that is with strong analytical and statistical skills.
  • Understanding of data analytics. It is highly recommended that you learn the fundamentals of data analytics, including key concepts such as big data and machine learning. If you didn’t get this training through your bachelor’s degree program, there are standalone data analytics courses you can take online.
  • Certification. Earning a certification in data consultancy will help to boost your chances of landing a good job in the field.

Types of Data Consultant Careers

There are various career opportunities for anyone looking to become a data consultant. Once you have gained the necessary skills, you can become a data architect, data scientist, senior software engineer, or data scientist. Read below to find out more about a few of these options.

Data Architect

Data architects are responsible for creating blueprints for data management systems. Their job is to identify the company's internal and external data sources and develop plans to integrate, centralize, and secure them. This allows employees to access critical information when they need it.

Senior Consultant

A senior consultant advises corporate executives and leaders on how to improve their overall business model, client or employee relations, and other business operations.

Data Scientist

Data scientists analyze, process, and model data before interpreting their findings to develop actionable plans for businesses and other organizations.

Data Consultant Meaning: What Does a Data Consultant Do?

A data consultant develops strategies for identifying and utilizing data for a company’s needs. They are primarily responsible for collecting data through various means, maintaining and designing databases, coordinating with multiple data specialists, inspecting data for inconsistencies, and implementing corrective measures.

Identifies and Gathers Data

A data consultant is responsible for compiling the necessary data for a company to achieve its goals. They identify the best methods to find whatever data will most help a company improve its productivity.

Analyzes Data

A data consultant designs research plans for data gathering and analysis, and then interprets the data gathered to report and make strategic decisions aimed at improving a company’s business operations and productivity.

Designs, Updates, and Maintains Multiple Databases

Data consultants design databases based on a company’s needs, and then work to keep them constantly updated and properly maintained for the smooth running of the company.

Essential Data Consultant Skills

There are specialized skills that a data consultant is required to have to start a successful career in the field. These skills show employers that you are well-qualified and knowledgeable enough to handle a data consultancy role. Find out more about these skills below.

Data Analysis Tools

Understanding databases and data analysis tools like SAS and KNIME is a crucial technical skill for a good data consultant. They are expected to be proficient in writing programming queries and procedures, keep up with IT trends, and offer accurate insights.

Programming Languages

A data consultant should have hands-on experience with programming languages such as SQL, Python, R, and JavaScript, as these are useful in solving complex data problems.

Data Visualization Tools

A data analyst must be skilled in data visualization tools like Tableau. With these, a data consultant will be able to create reports and presentations that communicate ideas to clients effectively.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Data Consultant?

It takes about four years to complete a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or a related field. A bachelor’s degree is often considered the industry standard for entry-level data consultant careers.

However, there are alternatives available if you don’t want to earn a bachelor’s degree. You can learn the same relevant skills faster by enrolling in a coding bootcamp. Bootcamps take only a couple of months to complete and are cheaper than traditional education. There are also online programs and vocational schools, both of which take less time than a bachelor’s degree.

Can a Coding Bootcamp Help Me Become a Data Consultant?

A coding bootcamp can help you become a data consultant if you enroll in programs that provide the necessary skills, such as programs in data analytics, data science, or software engineering. These programs would equip you with the technical knowledge required to start your career in the field.

Bootcamps also offer career services to graduates to make it easier for them to land good jobs, regardless of their field. They coach you on job interviews, resumes and portfolios, your online presence, and more. These opportunities differ based on the bootcamp, but some even offer job assistance or a job guarantee to ensure you are hired after graduation.

Can I Become a Data Consultant from Home?

You can become a data consultant from home if you register for online programs in data consultancy or analytics, such as online bootcamps. These programs will equip you with the essential skills to succeed in this field, but you may have to take other programs or earn certifications to advance in your career as a data consultant.

How to Become a Data Consultant: A Step-by-Step Guide

This step-by-step guide will outline everything you need to do to start your career as a data consultant. While this is not the only path you can take, these steps are a great way to kickstart your career.

Step 1: Get Educated

You can start by earning a college degree in computer science or any IT-related field, or you can join a bootcamp to receive adequate training in all essential skills.

Step 2: Specialize

After getting a degree, you should choose which area of data consultancy you’d like to specialize in so you can identify how to best hone your skills before entering the field.

Step 3: Get Experience

Applying for tech apprenticeships and internships is a great way to gain relevant experience and hands-on training to advance your skills in a specific field. This will demonstrate to employers that you are job-ready.

Step 4: Earn Certifications

Certifications are a good way to prove that you are highly skilled and knowledgeable in your field. Earning important certifications will show employers that you are valuable and will help you advance in your career.

Step 5: Apply for Jobs

Once you have the necessary qualifications and key skills, you can begin to apply for entry-level roles and start a rewarding career as a data consultant.

Best Schools and Education for a Data Consultant Career

There are several paths to gain the right education for a data consultant career, and the best one will simply be the one that best fits your situation and career goals. Read below to find out more about education pathways to start your career.

Data Consultant Bootcamps

There are several data analytics bootcamps that cover the skills to become a data consultant. These schools offer highly relevant courses that equip you with technical skills and provide career coaching. Some even offer a job guarantee.

These resources prepare you for the industry and ensure you have what you need to launch a fulfilling career. They also offer a variety of financing options to low-income students, as well as flexible learning options. Bootcamps last for three to nine months, depending on the bootcamp and the program.

Vocational School

A vocational school is an educational institution that trains people to work in a particular field. They provide the necessary education to ensure that the students have the knowledge to start a skilled craft, trade, or job. Most data consultants, however, enroll in college degree programs rather than vocational school.

Community College

A community college is a type of school that is open to all students who have a high school diploma. They offer traditional academic classes that can be used to complete a two-year degree and are cheaper than universities. You can also use these credits to transfer to a college or university to complete your four-year degree.

Data Consultant Degrees

To get an in-depth education in the field, you can choose to go to college to obtain a degree in an IT-related field like computer science, mathematics, economics, or statistics. Any of these degrees will be useful when you start your career as a data consultant.

The Most Important Data Consultant Certificates

There are several certifications available for data consultants. These certifications help you hone your skills and give you a competitive edge in the job market, as employers value them highly. Below are some of the most important data consultant certificates.

Associate Certified Analytics Professional (aCAP)

This certificate is for entry-level data analysts. It focuses on seven domains of the analytics process, including business problem framing, analytics problem framing, data, methodology selection, model building, deployment, and lifecycle management.

Certified Analytics Professional (CAP)

This general analytics credential for experienced analysts certifies end-to-end understanding of the analytics process. You will be tested on the same seven domains as aCAP candidates, but you need previous experience in the field to qualify. In addition to passing the CAP exam, you are expected to adhere to the CAP Code of Ethics.

Certification of Professional Achievement in Data Sciences

Graduate students in the Data Science Institute at Columbia University are eligible for this certificate. It drills down on foundational data science skills and consists of four courses: Algorithms for Data Science, Probability & Statistics, Machine Learning for Data Science, and Exploratory Data Analysis and Visualization.

How to Prepare for Your Data Consultant Job Interview

To land a good job, it is essential to ace your job interview. You will be expected to have certain data consultant skills, such as SQL programming, experience with Microsoft Excel, presentation skills, good verbal and written communication skills, and much more.

Below are some job interview practice questions.

Data Consultant Job Interview Practice Questions

  • What are the key requirements for becoming a data consultant?
  • What are the important responsibilities of a data consultant?
  • Name the best tools used for data analysis.
  • Name the different data validation methods used by data consultants.
  • How should you tackle multi-source problems?

Should I Become a Data Consultant in 2021?

You should become a data consultant in 2021 if you have an interest in data analysis, or think you would enjoy solving data issues for clients and helping to ensure business operations are running smoothly. It is also a great career to delve into as it has various job opportunities, a higher-than-average salary, and many opportunities for personal and career growth.


Can You Become a Data Consultant Without a Degree?
You can become a data consultant without a degree if you find other ways to gain the necessary skills, such as enrolling in coding bootcamps. You cannot start a career without any form of education, but you can choose an educational path that does not involve a four-year bachelor’s degree.
Is It Hard to Become a Data Consultant?
It is not hard to become a data consultant if you are willing to put in the necessary work. You should get an education or obtain a degree, apply for an internship or apprenticeship, and earn certifications. If you achieve all this, you can start a fulfilling career with ease.
Where Does a Data Consultant Work?
Data consultants work in a variety of fields where data must be inspected to guarantee the company is functioning at peak performance. They work in industries, retail businesses, financial organizations, and more.
What Qualifications Do I Need to Be a Data Consultant?
To become a data consultant, you will need a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science, Statistics, Mathematics, or any other IT-related field. You will also need to have good analytical skills, excellent communication skills, reporting skills, and good management skills.
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