How to Become a Product Analyst: Skills, Requirements, and Career Guide
Product analysis is a critical aspect of product development and success in today's business landscape. If you have a passion for analyzing data, identifying user needs, and finding innovative solutions, becoming a product analyst may be the perfect career choice for you.
In this comprehensive career guide, we will explore the skills and requirements necessary to launch a successful career in product analysis, including the latest tools, methodologies, and techniques used by product analysts. We'll also provide valuable insights into career advancement opportunities and how to position yourself for success in this exciting and rapidly evolving field. Whether you're just starting your career or looking to take your product analysis skills to the next level, this guide will provide valuable insights into this in-demand field.
What is a Product Analyst?
Product analysts use data to inform decisions about digital products and their features. They gather and visualize data, then use their critical thinking skills to put together and tell “data stories,” for team members and leadership.
Data stories work to answer particular questions around product performance, and often uncover several insights and recommendations for improvements. These insights are all backed by data, and incredibly valuable to their employers to help determine prioritization of resources and success of new programs.
To gather data, product analysts use tools like Google Analytics, Heap or Amplitude. These platforms allow for highly customizable dashboard creation, and allows analysts to actively monitor and analyze stats like website traffic, order conversion rates or products viewed.
Another extremely important role of a product analyst is identifying key performance indicators (commonly referred to as KPIs, or sometimes OKRs) to measure the success of changes being made on the website or application. Product analysts track things such as a redesign to a popular page on a website, and how that affected product views and orders.
A very common theme of this role is the importance of A/B testing, which is where the statistics job requirement often comes into play. Product analysts are in charge of keeping track of the metrics used to measure website changes in a controlled environment, and reporting on results to their teams.
Product analytics is a great entry-level field into a technical role (which are often remote!), and often leads to becoming a product manager or user experience manager. If you’re technically savvy or inclined towards numbers, read on!
Responsibilities of a Product Analyst
What does a Product Analyst do?
Product analysts spend a bulk of their day monitoring data, looking for any friction a user may have on their product, and presenting insights and recommendations to team members.
A product analyst's day is broken primarily into two parts:
1- trendline monitoring
2- exploring for fixes
Trendline monitoring is watching product metrics to make sure there are no bugs or abnormalities with user behavior. This is often done by monitoring some basic metrics (learn more about metrics here). Often a product analyst will keep tabs on things like how many users add to cart that week, or general people who view a page. If this drastically changes, it’s the analyst’s job to alert the team.
Exploring for fixes is the meat of the product analyst role. This often involves diving deep into a particular question and trying to find trends, such as “what’s the most popular path taken before ordering on our site?” or “why do our users make it to a certain page then leave?” From there, the product analyst is encouraged to craft up hypotheses that the product manager can work with UX designers and engineers to solve.
Product Analyst Team Members
If you're unsure that product analytics is right for you because of the math, or whatever issue, check out the roles of a UX Designer, UX Researcher, Project Manager, or even a Product Manager, and maybe even get a little freaky and look at a frontend engineer.
Do I need a degree to become a Product Analyst?
While this role seems more technical, product 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.
Some great experiences for aspiring analysts:
- STEM majors- anything math, science, or technology related
- Academia - Psychology or Sociology Degrees
- Data entry or receptionist roles
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.
Do Product Analysts need to know how to 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 product 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 product 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!
Our Favorite Product Analyst Certifications
Data Analytics with Google
Google sponsors a data analytics certificate program through Coursera. This is one of the more coveted certificates in the industry for Google Analytics.
Data Visualization with Tableau
UC Davis teaches a class in Tableau to manipulate and visualize data. It's included with a Coursera subscription ($49/month) and has a rating of 4.5 stars with almost 6 thousand reviews.
Analytics for Decision Making
This is a newer beginner-level class that has a great overview of types of analytics, and when to use each method to maximize effectiveness.
Salary and Career Potential
What is a Product Analyst's salary?
We've aggregated thousands of salaries across glassdoor and linkedin, and product analysts can make anywhere between 75k - 98k, depending on their location and skillsets.
Career Path of a Product Analyst
- Product Analyst, or Associate Product Analyst: Spend about 2-4 years at each level here.
- Senior Product Analyst: Spend about 3-5 years here.
- Analytics Manager (or Product Manager): Spend about 5-10 years here.
- Director of Analytics: This one is tricky, but most folks spend roughly 4-6 years here.
Job Requirements and Skills
Popular Job Description of a Product Analyst
We've used AI to aggregate the top job descriptions used by hiring managers looking for product analysts. When putting your resume together, try to mimic these listings. To learn more about this process, check out our partner Jobscan for a comprehensive resume review.
- Conduct quantitative and qualitative user research and analysis to identify customer needs, trends, and opportunities
- Analyze user behavior data and product metrics to identify areas for improvement and optimize product performance
- Develop and deliver reports, dashboards, and visualizations to communicate insights and trends to stakeholders
- Collaborate with product managers and designers to define product requirements and specifications based on research findings
- Work with engineering teams to implement data tracking and reporting tools to improve data quality and accessibility
- Continuously monitor and evaluate product performance, and provide recommendations for improvement
Top Technical Skills of a Product Analyst
We've compiled thousands of job descriptions for product 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.
- Strong analytical skills with experience in statistical analysis and data visualization tools
- Knowledge of SQL and experience with data analysis tools such as Excel, Tableau, or Power BI
- Knowledge of product analytics tools like Google Analytics, Amplitude, Adobe Analytics, or Mixpanel.
- Use of data to inform prioritization of team and company actions
- Experience with AB Testing + statistical programming
- User survey and interview design
- Design compelling data visualizations to showcase findings
Top Functional Skills of a Product Analyst
We recommend getting familiar with different types of customer questions if you plan to pursue a career in product analytics. If finding these answers seems interesting to you, read on!
- Knowledge of qualitative and quantitative research methods
- Develop hypotheses for testing prioritization
- Craft and tell compelling data stories
- Gathering and utilizing data to create strategic product decisions
- Excellent communication skills, with the ability to collaborate with cross-functional teams and product managers.
- Strong analytical, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills
- Familiarity with product management principles and the product development lifecycle
- A passion for innovation and a desire to solve complex problems with data-driven insights
Top Tools of a Product Analyst
We've also compiled the most common tools listed in job description. If you're serious about becoming a product analyst, get familiar with these and be ready to talk about them.
For Gathering Quantitative Data
- Google Analytics
- Adobe Analytics
For Gathering Qualitative Data
For Aggregating Data
- Excel/Google Sheets
For Task Management
Key Traits of a Successful Product Analyst
Analytics Platforms - This goes hand in hand with quantitative research. You have to pull the data from somewhere!
Qualitative & Quantitative Research - To be effective in quantitative research, product analysts need to be proficient in using analytics platforms such as Google Analytics, Mixpanel, or Amplitude. They should be able to extract insights from data and use them to inform product decisions.
Basic Mathematics & Statistics - While this might sound intimidating, a solid foundation in basic math and statistics is crucial for a product analyst. Being able to work with percentages, understand trends, and use statistics to support their insights are all key skills.
Curiosity - Product analysts need to have a natural curiosity and a passion for data. They should be able to find joy in sifting through structured and unstructured data sources to identify friction points and trends that can inform product decisions.
Analytics Platforms - To be effective in quantitative research, product managers need to be proficient in using analytics platforms such as Google Analytics, Mixpanel, or Amplitude. They need to be able to extract insights from data, and use those insights to inform product decisions.
Data Storytelling - Product analysts need to be able to craft a story with their data. They should be able to tell the when/what/where/how about the users on their site, and present the information in a way that makes it easy for others to understand.
Data Visualization - The ability to present and visualize data is key for product analysts. They should be able to use charts, graphs, and other visualizations to communicate results of their analyses to stakeholders and other teams.
Get Product Analytics Experience
Get Product Analytics Experience
Key takeaways: a product analyst uses web tools to find, gather, and organize data to help teammates and colleagues make decisions about the business. Product analysts focus strictly on a website or application, and how customers interact with it, which makes them different from marketing or operations analysts.
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 product analytics questions:
- How are users interacting with the site?
- What page are users leaving the site?
- What's the most common path to conversion for users?
My Experience with Product Analytics
I actually started my entire career in product analytics, and I can't recommend it enough as a fantastic entry point for tech folks and aspiring product managers alike. AB testing (and experience optimization) is one of the most valuable skills someone in tech can have, and I was lucky to begin my career at an agency that specialized in it. My colleagues in analytics came from a range of backgrounds, including both journalism and psychology, which gave them unique abilities to craft compelling stories and analyze user behavior. I can't emphasize enough how much I love this field!
While analytics may seem intimidating to some, it's actually a great fit for anyone with strong critical thinking skills. And, as I've learned, transition roles can often be a valuable stepping stone to your dream job. So, if you're looking to break into the world of product management, or just tech in general, don't overlook the exciting and rewarding opportunities that analytics can offer.
Difference between Product Analyst and Marketing Analyst
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.
Difference between Product Analyst and Data Analyst
"Data analyst" is a very broad category of jobs, which includes product, marketing, business and operations. Product is a specialization within data analytics. So while all product analysts are data analysts, NOT all data analysts are product analysts.
To recap: a product analyst is a specialization within data analytics. Learn about the different types of data analysts here.
Get Started with a Bridged Recommendation
Review: Data Visualization with Tableau Specialization By UC Davis
Being a product analyst is a great entry-level way to get experience with several product verticals without the weight of being a product manager. It's also a great way to break into a tech career in product because it's lesser-known, so the roles get less applicants.
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 product analytics role?Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out our sources!
Glassdoor Team. “Salary: Product Analyst (February, 2023) | Glassdoor.” Glassdoor, Glassdoor, 1 Feb. 2023, https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/product-analyst-salary-SRCH_KO0,15.htm