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What is a Data Analyst?

Reviewed by Marketing Expert and Coach
Juan Alberto Reyes
February 9, 2023

A data analyst is a professional who is responsible for gathering, aggregating, and drawing insights from complex data in order to inform business decisions. They use statistical techniques and software tools to clean, organize, and model data, and then use this information to identify trends, patterns and insights. Data analysts may also create visualizations and reports to communicate their findings to stakeholders. Data analysts work in a variety of industries, including finance, healthcare, retail, and technology.

"Data analytics" is the overarching category of analytics jobs within a company -- and for technology specifically, that includes three major groups of roles. These primary specializations are derived from the data sources and problems each analyst is working to solve. The main analytics specializations in tech are Product, Marketing, and Operations-- and they can each be wrapped under the general "data analyst" umbrella.

Examples of Analytics Specializations in Tech

  • Product Analysts - these analysts specialize in user experience data on a platform or website. Some sub-specializations of a product analyst could be a Payment Analyst or Service Analyst.
  • Marketing Analysts - these analysts focus on marketing channel performance. There are many different sub-specializations depending on the company size.
  • Operations Analysts - these analysts focus on operational efficiency and reporting for the business. A popular sub-specializations is a Business Analyst.

What does a Data Analyst do?

Data analysts spend a bulk of their day monitoring data, looking for any trends, and presenting insights and recommendations to team members.

A data analyst's day is broken primarily into three parts: 

1- trendline monitoring 
2- dashboard creation
2- exploring for improvements 

Trendline monitoring is the process of observing their data to make sure there are no abnormalities. Abnormalities are dependent on the type of analytics specialization, but an example could include observing something like a steep drop-off in conversion rates by a product analyst. Trendline monitoring is often done by watching applicable metrics within the specialization. View our individualized analytics job guides to learn more.

Dashboard creation is where the web analytics platform skills come in. It's a data analyst's job to create reports that are viewed by other team members to help them make decisions about the company and prioritization of activities. At a larger company, expect tens, if not hundreds, of individual dashboards.

Exploring for improvements is the meat of the data analyst's role. This often involves diving deep into a particular question and trying to find trends, such as “what’s the most popular channel used to access our site?” or “why does our social media marketing have such a high bounce rate?” From there, the data analyst is encouraged to craft up hypotheses that their respective team members will work to solve.

Do I need a degree to be a Data Analyst?

While this role seems more technical, data analysts can come from all backgrounds.

Job descriptions will often mention a requirement of something STEM related, but often psychology majors do well here because they’re able to understand the “why” behind user interactions. This is also a popular bootcamp role, which we don't love, but would be remiss not to mention. 

  • Data entry and receptionist professionals
  • STEM majors- anything math, science, or technology related
  • Liberal arts degrees with a writing twist (for reporting and data storytelling)
If you're new here to bridged, we're glad to meet you! We are huge fans of alternate forms of education, and recommend specific certifications to target skills. While this job works great with degrees, you have other options. Learn more here.

Our Favorite Data Analyst Certifications

View all Analytics Certifications Here

Career Path of a Data Analyst

Digital [department] Analyst
2-3 Years
*Or Associate
Senior [department] Analyst
3-5 Years
Analytics Manager
5-10 Years
Director of Analytics
4-6 Years

Entry Level Data Analyst Salary

We've aggregated thousands of salaries across glassdoor and linkedin, and data analysts can make anywhere between 75k - 98k, depending on their location and skillsets.

Top Skills of a Data Analyst

We've compiled thousands of job descriptions for data analysts to record the most common requirements to save you time. While preparing for interviews, keep in mind specific times you've demonstrated these skills.

Remember, data analytics is the high-level field for the different departments. So these bullets are slightly aggregated. Check out our more specific job guides if only interested in a single specialization.

  • Craft and tell compelling data stories from various data sources
  • Basic understanding of marketing channels and common product metrics
  • Develop hypotheses for testing prioritization across marketing and product-related channels
  • Gathering and utilizing data to create compelling visualizations and recommendations
  • Showcase findings through PowerPoint presentations
  • Experience with AB Testing and Optimizations
  • Familiarity with omnichannel marketing campaign KPIs and performance benchmarks
  • Assist with team's prioritization with data-driven methods

Top Tools of a Data Analyst

We've also compiled the most common tools listed in job description. If you're serious about becoming a data analyst, get familiar with these and be ready to talk about them.

Again, these are heavily focused on the technology sector of marketing and product analytics.

Gathering Quantitative Data

  • Google Analytics
  • Adobe Analytics
  • Amplitude
  • Heap
  • Mixpanel

Gathering Qualitative Data

  • Hotjar
  • Userbrain
  • Fullstory

Aggregating Data

  • Excel/Google Sheets
  • Tableau
  • Lookr
  • PowerBI
  • Mode

Task Management

  • Jira
  • Confluence
  • Notion
  • Trello

Key Traits & Competencies of a Successful Data Analyst


Quantitative research methods can be learned through classes. Gathering data and presenting it is incredibly important for analysts.


While this one sounds scary, some concepts like statistics and percentages are crucial to say "X% of users dealt with this problem."

This helps with analyzing trend data.


This goes hand in hand with quantitative research. You have to pull the data from somewhere! We'll cover this in tools.


Data analysts have to be able to craft a story with their data. They have to tell the when/what/where/how about the users on their site.


Presentation and data visualization skills are imperative for analysts to communicate results of their data dives.


Data analysts need to find joy in sifting through structured and unstructured data sources. identifying user friction points is a massive part of being a product analyst.

As a Data Analyst, you'll work most with: 

Paid Media Analysts
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Marketing Coordinators
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Project Managers
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Paid Search Analysts
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Do data analysts need to know code?

Analytics is often associated with coding, including SQL or Python to access huge swaths of data stored in warehouses. However, this is incredibly company dependent, and often marketing analysts are not required to code.

Most popular web analytics tools -- Google & Adobe Analytics, Amplitude, Heap and others do not require programming to access data and have an intuitive user interfaces. If a company is requiring "coding" or "programming," it may be worthwhile to ask about the reason in an interview. If they have lots of data only accessible by warehouse, this may be more of a data scientist role!

One of the main distinctions between analytics and data science is the ability to code-- and data scientists are paid better for it. Don't be fooled into doing data science for lower pay!

Role Differentiators

Difference between Product Analysts and Marketing Analysts

While both roles often work with the same platforms to gather and aggregate data, these two titles are very different in regard to what they focus on. In larger companies, these roles often live in entirely different departments as the names suggest, Product and Marketing.

Marketing Analysts focus on the best ways to attract users and potential customers to the site. They specialize in breaking down different customer acquisition channels like SEO (search engine marketing, meaning organic google or bing), paid search (google or bing sponsored ads), or paid media and tracking traffic levels and performance. Learn about the different types of marketing traffic here.

Once a user is on the site, often from the optimization efforts of the marketing analyst, the user is passed along to the . Product analysts focus strictly on a website or application, and how customers interact with it. The primarily role of a product analyst is increasing site metrics like order conversion or product views.

To recap: a marketing analyst is responsible for analyzing and improving the ways at which a customer accesses the product, while a product analyst is in charge of making sure that customer completes the product's desired actions once acquired.
View the Breakdown of Popular Analyst Job Types

How to Get Data Analytics Experience

Learning on the job is one of the fastest ways to get familiar with new topics, and showing is much better than telling. Use a website creator to write about something you're passionate about, and use Youtube videos or our recommended classes to learn how to implement free Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager. Then monitor your data! Think about what paths you'd expect users to take while engaging with your content and write about why.

Congrats! You've written your first data story. This is great content for a mini "portfolio" to talk about on interviews. Expert mode: find a local business to trade work for-- maybe you throw up GA & GTM, they give you a meal, and you can give them a few insights to improve their user experience. Win, Win, Win.

Some popular data analytics questions: 

  • How are users finding the site for the first time?
  • Are users buying on their first visit, or do they have multiple touchpoints?
  • What's the most common path to conversion for users?


Data analytics is the practice of using data to inform decisions about marketing strategies and content performance. A digital marketing analyst finds, gathers, and organizes data about marketing channels to help teammates and colleagues make decisions about the all faucets of the marketing business.

Here at Bridged we are huge fans of stacking micro-certifications to achieve desired career results. We're building a product to make your career planning fun and affordable, and we'd love to talk to YOU! Was this article helpful? Did you land an interview for a marketing analytics role?

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How to Get a Job as a Digital Marketing Analyst

We love a stepped process for quick and specific results. The 3 tiered process is best.

We recommend starting out by documenting things about you, how you like to work, and how these things might tie into your next job. For example, a person with motion sickness should not become a trucker. Same deal here.

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    do your research.
    Check out our list of relevant core competencies and skills. Research other jobs in the field to see if any of those appeal to you more.

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    identify skills.
    If those sound good, look at our job descriptions. Identify and check off what skills you already have, and start thinking about ways to target the ones you don't.

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    take classes.
    we recommend classes and certifications to get familiar with specific, relevant job requirements. Learn from your home with no more fluff or expensive bootcamps.

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