Step-by-Step Plan for Becoming a Data Analyst


This plan will show you exactly how to become a data analyst candidate companies can’t ignore.

It’s based on recent job posts and discussions with hiring managers and data analysts to give you everything you need to land a job in digital marketing.

Like so many other careers today, a degree is important for getting an interview—but it's also the bare minimum. To be a data analyst companies want to hire, you need to have in-demand skills and demonstrate you can use them.

Financial Recommendation

Keep student loan debt below $70,510. This will ensure your student loan debt-to-starting salary ratio is below 1.25x.

Assuming a 6.8% interest rate and 10-year loan repayment, your maximum monthly payment would be $811 or 17% of a starting salary of $56,408.

How to use this plan

To help you build your skills, we’ve included best-in-class education sources and projects throughout the plan.

You can use other sources as well, but the most important thing is that you can apply what you've learned.

Complete steps on this plan to start receiving job opportunities. The more skills and experience you have, the more opportunities you'll receive.

👋  NOTE: StepLadder is currently in beta and the job placement feature is limited to Denver, CO.

However, this plan can still help you become an incredible candidate and you'll have an advantage when we launch in your city.

Career Plan

🎓 Education

If getting a STEM degree isn't an option but you still want to be a data analyst, don't despair.

Bootcamps provide a structured way to quickly build the skills you'll need for the job, and the best bootcamps successfully place graduates with some of the biggest tech companies in the world.

A few important notes on data analyst bootcamps:

  1. It won't be easy, so be ready to work hard. Data analysis is a technical field, and if you're starting without a background in STEM, you will have to push through a steep learning curve to be successful. Be ready to hustle both inside and outside the classroom.

  2. A bootcamp is just the beginning. It will help you get to a basic level of proficiency, but if you want to be successful in a data career, you'll need to keep building your skills to progress.

  3. Many data analyst bootcamps advertise themselves as "data science" bootcamps. This is a reflection of their marketing, not their curriculum. Data science requires skills and knowledge that simply can't be learned in only six months if you're starting from scratch.

A "data science" bootcamp will put you in a good position to get a job as a data analyst, not as a data scientist. In order to progress to data scientist, you'll need to get great experience, build additional skills, and may need to go back to school.

💵  Cost: $6,500 - $6,555

⏳  Time: 5-6 months

🗃 Hard Skills

Structured query language (SQL) is the programming language used to build and talk to databases.

Writing SQL queries is the #1 skill for any data analyst. It's the key that gives you access to the data you need to do every other part of your job.

💵  Cost: $0 - $175

⏳  Time: 10-22 hours

🔖  Projects to build your portfolio

Python is a programming language that's used to analyze and visualize data. It's a far more powerful and flexible tool than programs such as Excel or Tableau.

But Python isn't just for data analysis. It lets you do all kinds of other cool stuff too—like build apps, code games, and automate different tasks.

Hiring managers prefer data analysts with Python knowledge, so it will instantly put you ahead of the competition. Once you're got the job, Python will help you do it better and advance in your career faster.

💵  Cost: $20 - $95

⏳  Time: 6-27 hours

🔖  Projects to build your portfolio

Data visualization allows you to create the reports and dashboards to tell stories with your data. It's one of the most important things you can learn.

There are a variety of data visualization tools on the market, but we recommend getting started with Microsoft PowerBI.

Even if the company you end up working for uses a different analytics platform like Tableau or Google Data Studio, most of the principles are the same, so you'll be able to learn it quickly.

💵  Cost: $85 - $95

⏳  Time: 5-24 hours

Despite all your fancy new toys—like Python, SQL, and PowerBI—you'll still need use spreadsheets quite a bit as a data analyst. Make sure your knowledge of Excel is advanced and rock-solid.

💵  Cost: $150 - $150

⏳  Time: 18-28 hours

🔖  Projects to build your portfolio

The courses above include projects for you to practice what you're learning.

💼 Experience

Volunteering is a great way to gain experience while doing some good. Here are a few resources you can use to find opportunities.

If you're up for a challenge, gigwork platforms allow you to market yourself and gain experience while getting paid.

When you're just starting out, set your rates low and take any job you can.

Additional Resources

🤝 Networking

Rank: Unkown 🤔

Create an account to how you stack up as a candidate.

Complete steps on this plan to unlock job opportunities!