How to Become a Research Analyst?
With the increasing popularity of Data Science, jobs like Data Analyst are also becoming more and more popular. One such related job is the Research Analyst. This may sound like a fancy name, but what exactly is a Research Analyst? And how is this role related to data? More importantly, how do you become a Research Analyst once you have decided that’s what you want to do? These are all questions that aspiring students like you may have.
So let’s tackle the basic question first. What is Research Analyst? This role sounds a bit like the Data Analyst but what does it mean? Does the Research Analyst analyze data? Or maybe research the data to obtain important information?! Yes, in short, that’s exactly what they do! A Research Analyst in a company manages and researches the company data related to market trends, finance, accounting, operations, economics, customer feedback, etc. to find out the data insights so that the company can become more successful and improve its business. In order to successfully do this, a Research Analyst also interprets the data into simpler form and presents it as visualization or a report to decision-makers in the company that are not from a technical background.
What are the Different Types of Research Analyst?
Research Analyst is a broad type of job role that has many specific requirements in different industries. Don’t think that you can only become a Research Analyst in an IT related company. Data research has now become important in all types of companies and you may get options in financial companies, banks, pharmaceutical companies, government offices, marketing agencies, etc. For example, if you are working at a financial company such as JPMorgan or Goldman Sachs as a Financial Analyst, your job description might be to undertake economic analyses and create models based on the market conditions. On the other hand, suppose you decide to work in PepsiCo as a Market Research Analyst, you would be studying their consumer market and products to find out what the market demands and what are the customer needs.
Broadly speaking, the job doesn’t really change! You have to analyze and data is your bread and butter! But the type of data you analyze and the specific requirements of your job as a Research Analyst depend on the industry you are working in and also the department in the particular company.
Steps to Become a Research Analyst
Like many other things in life, there are no clear-cut steps in becoming a Research Analyst. Many people in this job can be from widely different backgrounds like computer science, finance, business, or even psychology! In other words, there’s no one way to becoming a Research Analyst, and whatever you are doing currently you always have an option to reach this job. All you need is the unique skill set required for it and you will be able to get your first job and build a career. That being said, many Research Analysts have at least a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree is even more useful.
So let’s see the most straightforward steps you can follow to become a Data Analyst:
1. Get a University Education
Getting a university education is the easiest way to show prospective employers that you understand this field. You can complete a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in any of the fields compatible with becoming a research Analyst such as Data Science, Finance, Computer Science, Business, etc. This degree will help you in obtaining the skills needed for data analysis. Some of these skills include Statistical Analysis (distributions, linear regression, probability theory, maximum likelihood estimators, etc.), programming with Python or R, data wrangling, data visualization, machine learning, accounting, and financial analysis, etc. This is a broad skill set and you should find a degree depending on what you want to do as a research analyst.
2. Work on Projects
Just completing a degree is not enough in this competitive market to land a good job. You need to showcase your skills and the best way to do that is to work on independent projects. And it doesn’t hurt that they are fun to do as well! There is nothing more interesting than analyzing a data set to find the correlations between the data and obtain unique insights. You can perform research and analyst on a variety of different datasets that are available for free from sites such as Kaggle, Google Cloud Public Datasets, Data.gov, Global Health Observatory, etc.
3. Obtain an Internship
Going directly from university education to your dream job is very tough (Unless you are insanely talented and very lucky!) That’s where an internship comes in as it can provide you valid industry experience as a student and prepare you for jobs after you graduate. Some good ways of applying for internships is from your university job listings and internship opportunities. You can also cultivate a LinkedIn profile to create a professional network and gain more connections. In the beginning, you don’t have any job experience but your good grades and excellent projects can carve a pathway to that dream internship and then a job!
4. Get your First Job as a Research Analyst
This is the last and most important step! Your journey is complete once you bag a job as a Research Analyst and then you can only go up from there! A good internship experience, interesting projects, and knowledge about your subject all contribute to getting a good job in the industry. It’s also important to remember that your resume is the first thing the hiring manager will see so it’s very important that you make it impressive. Hiring managers also check out your LinkedIn profile as it serves as a digital resume so you should keep it up to date.
5. What About after Getting a Job as a Research Analyst?!
I said that the previous step is the last but it’s not! Your journey to becoming a Research Analyst might be complete once you get a job but that’s just the beginning and you need to improve with time. Getting a job as a Research Analyst means dealing with data that is ever-changing so you need to be fluid as well. You should be a constant learner in this career path and keep an eye on the new tech advancements, changes in your company’s performance, different economic conditions in the markets, and so on. Becoming an excellent Research Analyst is not contingent on just learning the tools or programming languages as they may change with time but having a curious mindset that is focused on exploring the data and finding new patterns that may not be obvious in the beginning.
Becoming a Research Analyst is an excellent opportunity as this career is booming. In the United States alone, it’s expected to grow 20% from 2018 to 2028 and create innumerable new job openings. So you can explore the different methods of becoming a Research Analyst and move further in your career no matter if you are a student or a working professional currently. Broadly it just involves learning all the associated skills and then showcasing these skills on multiple platforms like Github, LinkedIn, etc. Also, don’t forget the importance of an excellent resume that you can use for applying to jobs on various platforms like LinkedIn, Indeed, Analytics Jobs, etc. Here’s to hoping that you become a Research Analyst and land your dream job in a long and successful career!