You need experience and training credentials to get a data analyst job, but you also need a job to get experience and to pay for the classes. How can you work that? Well, we've complied our top tips to help you break into the data analyst field by sharing how you can develop skills that are in demand, building up your professional social media profile, and how volunteering can transform you from the unemployed to the happily working just to name a few.
Be Active and Not Passive
Let’s be real. The tech market is extremely competitive. The advent of electronically connected devices made it possible for everyone to extend their job searches across the state, the country, and even the globe. Consequently, hiring managers are flooded with applications whenever they post an opening. As a result, you need to be aggressive and showcase your interest in the field as well as your skills. To land a role, you must view finding a job like having one and spend time during the week to not only look for a job, but also improve your portfolio and resume. Try using free sites to scan your resume like Job Scan, which boosts your chances of receiving an interview.
Gain the Right Skills
Every tech job requires a set of well-defined skills. But how do you gain that experience if no one is willing to hire you without experience? Digital Creative Institute (DCI) created a 12-month training curriculum that helps entry-level data analysts, like you, gain the skills that are most in-demand. DCI offers modules in Data Analysis, Statistics and Modeling, Data Preparation, Cloud Technology, Fundaments of SQL, Data Storytelling, Workplace Leadership, Python and Coding, and Machine Learning in Python. With this foundation, you can become quite attractive to future employers and stand out from the thousands of applicants.
Build up Your Professional Social Media Profile
Social media has changed the job search process. Candidates must not only be aware of what their personal social profiles reveal about them but also be sure they have a professional profile they maintain. LinkedIn, which has more than 500 million users worldwide, is a great place to tout your talents. In fact, 87% of recruiters use the site when searching for candidates. Why? Each week more than 25 million professionals search for candidates on LinkedIn. It has become an international hiring hub. In fact, more than 20,000 data analyst jobs were listed on the site.
LinkedIn can also narrow that number down to entry-level jobs in your area and send you a weekly email with open positions. To enhance your profile, highlight the skills you have, like developing code in Python or SQL. Do not emphasize what you lack (little to no employment history) or what you want (no begging for a job).
Experience is a great teacher. Since you may lack this trait, you will need to find an experienced professional willing to show you the ropes. Mentoring is another service that DCI provides. Each apprentice will be a part of a cohort that provides them with the opportunity to build meaningful connections with industry expert instructors. Additionally, you will have a mentor and career coach that you meet with regularly. They provide individuals with practical rather than theoretical knowledge, so your chances of landing a full-time job improve.
Write a Data Program
Programming is an essential skill for data analysts. Many free editions of database programs, such as MongoDB and Cassandra, are available, and newbies can use such solutions to develop business applications. By taking that step, they gain practical experience working in languages, such as Java and Python. They can also present these applications in a portfolio to potential employers as evidence of their application development knowledge and skills.
Volunteer Your Services
On a similar note, you may be inexperienced, but you do not have to stay that way. Find someone, say an older relative or a friend, who needs computer assistance. Working with them hones your ability to communicate clearly about technology to non-techies. Also, nonprofits, religious organizations, and other community groups often need technical help, and you can provide it. VolunteerMatch and Catchafire are two sites that connect volunteers with organizations in need. You then add this volunteer experience to your resume and the technical skills you honed. When taking that step, make sure that you add keywords like Data Analysis and Programming, in the bullets, so your resume gets past the Applicant Tracking software a lot of companies use as the first step in the hiring process.
Contribute to an Open Source Project
Anyone can contribute to open source projects, such as MySQL. These groups need data analysts to find and fix bugs, write documentation, maintain mailing lists, publicize events, and lend a hand in many other ways. In return, you gain experience, make new contacts, and learn how products take shape and software is updated. This is just one more way you can make your resume stand out amongst the crowd.
Get Your Foot in the Door
Online job boards for contract work have become quite popular. They connect employers in need of short term or part-time help with job seekers. A few with technology focuses include Upwork.com, Indeed.com, Fiverr, and the Mashable Job Board. In some cases, they filter available listings and present candidates with only those opportunities suited to their skills. The bonus it that you can get paid to learn and improve your skills.
Getting a start as a data analyst can be challenging. To move from a candidate with a glaring lack of experience to a data analyst, you need to find mentors, gain skills in areas that are in demand, and build your experience. Taking these steps mentioned above raises your profile and can eventually land you a full-time role.