I want to be a data analyst when I grow up… No one ever said | by Christian Wanser | Jul 2022

According to Google Trends, interest in data analytics has tripled since 2014.

Interested in data? Do you like it when articles include attractive charts and graphs? Have you ever created a spreadsheet to track something important in your life?

If any of these sound like you, you might have a budding data analyst in you! Keep reading to hear more telltale signs you should pursue a career in data.

You may have a budding data analyst in you!

Photo by Daniel Dan on Unsplash

Nobody wants to be a data analyst when they grow up. Okay, certainly a number of data professionals set their sights on analytics early on. Yet I saw very varied routes to data analysis.

I’d love to do an in-depth study of career transitions into analytics using LinkedIn data, but I’m comfortable saying that the majority of data analysts have not studied pure data analysis. And it’s good ! This is also one of the great assets of this field: a wealth of diverse backgrounds enriches the field of data.

The data analyst’s origin story is often about discovering or cultivating a love for data in their respective industry and transitioning into analytics.

In this article, I will talk about discovering my passion for data and moreover, that I could have a fulfilling career in the field. I’m sure many of my colleagues data enthusiasts can identify with my background. If you find similarities in your passions and are currently not “in the data”, consider changing careers! We need great minds and the field is exploding.

Interest in data analytics has skyrocketed, tripling since I chose my career path in 2014.

According to Google Trends data, when I was considering potential careers around 2014, interest in data analytics was a third of what it is today. So, I understand that it’s likely that a lot more people know about the field now than when I was deciding “what I was going to do for the rest of my life”. In high school, I chose engineering as my career path.

I can attribute my initial interest in engineering to my middle school algebra teacher, my high school chemistry teacher, and my physics teacher. Each of these teachers was passionate about their subject and ignited the spark of my love for engineering. They put me on the path to studying chemical engineering at university. Little did I know that I would further refine my interests while earning my engineering degree.

When I obtained my chemical engineering degree, I discovered programming. We’ve used MATLAB in my classes because it’s the choice of many engineers, and a few quantum mechanics classes have exposed me to Python. I was hooked.

I was hooked.

Whereas I had previously thought of programming as too abstract Where not concrete enough for me, I discovered the power of programming and the usefulness it had. I found data analysis and modeling to be super interesting for me and I volunteered for heavy analysis tasks in group projects at school.

If you’ve been intimidated by programming, don’t let that turn you away from data. While many data roles require programming knowledge, many roles do not. As an advocate for the usefulness of programming, I encourage anyone remotely interested in giving it a try!

While many data roles require programming knowledge, many roles do not.

This love I found for data should not have been surprising. I always had one passion for analysis, but I guess I had no knowledge of the term until college. Growing up, I created several side projects in Excel. I’ve always been very interested in personal finance and have built budgets, retirement fund projections, mortgage calculators, and more. Mind you, I was doing all of this at an age when most kids don’t think about this stuff.

If you ever found yourself “get angry” with spreadsheets or data visualizations, you might have what it takes to be a data analyst. Even better, if you’ve ever had fun scrolling through the DataIsBeautiful subreddit, you should consider data analytics! These are just a few indications that you might be a data enthusiast. Stay tuned for a future story from Medium: You could be a data analyst if…

I pushed my passion for data further by applying and being accepted into Georgia Tech Master of Science in Analytics Program after graduating in chemical engineering. I recently graduated from the graduate program while working as a data analyst. My passion for data analysis has only grown stronger following this course.

I highly recommend the program to anyone looking to pursue their interests in analytics. I wrote my thoughts on the program, including the surprisingly low tuition here.

I very much enjoyed my career as a data analyst. I look forward to many years of exciting projects and impacting businesses by providing insights backed by data.

Sean N. Ayres