I want to be an environmental data analyst… what will my salary be?

Job: Environmental data analyst

The role: The role of an environmental data analyst is no different from the role of a data analyst in other industries. While most analysts follow market trends in financial data, however, environmental data analysts are responsible for following trends related to the natural world.

“It’s all about data analytics,” said Kevin Nilsen, President and CEO of Environmental Careers Organization (ECO) Canada, a not-for-profit environmental human resources organization. “Analyze emissions, for example, track weather data, climate data, water quality data, conduct wildlife surveys; they create and maintain databases of information, and provide it to others for decision-making. “

Mr. Nilsen adds that environmental data analysts can have a range of employers, including departments like Environment Canada, research institutions and Indigenous organizations as well as a number of industries, particularly in the environmental sector. natural resources. Many also work for environmental consulting firms and nonprofit organizations.

The information gathered by environmental data analysts can be used to measure a private company’s environmental footprint, compile environmental impact reports for industrial and government projects, or to educate the public on the impacts of climate change.

Depending on their employer and area of ​​expertise, an environmental data analyst may be tasked with collecting primary data, conducting field research, compiling and analyzing existing research, researching government documents, create reports, identify and analyze trends and ultimately present information to stakeholders.

Salary: Mr. Nilsen says that while the work is rewarding, it is “not a gold mine”. Salaries typically start at around $ 27,000 per year and increase to around $ 35,000 per year for people in junior positions. More experienced environmental data analysts can expect to earn around $ 51,000 per year, while those in executive positions in industry earn an average of $ 67,000 per year. Depending on the employer and level of experience, however, salaries can reach $ 85,000 or more in some cases.

Education: Although there are no licensing or training requirements, environmental data analysts typically have an undergraduate degree or above in a technical field such as computer science and software engineering or in an environmental field such as environmental sciences or natural resource management.

Employment prospects: Job prospects for the entire environmental studies industry are increasing in Canada, says Nilsen, but it remains to be seen how much of that growth is occurring in environmental data analyst roles.

“The industry as a whole is expected to grow 24% by 2024 and this role is highlighted as one that is growing, we just don’t know the exact number for that,” he said.

Mr Nilsen adds that although many employers are based in large cities, much of the fieldwork takes place in rural areas and employment opportunities are well spread across the country.

ChallengesP: People passionate about environmental causes often find the work very rewarding and meaningful, but Nilsen points out that at the end of the day, it’s always a data analyst job, which some will find mundane.

“It takes a special kind of person who can see the value of it, because the value may not be inherent when you track all of this data in a big database,” he said. “The wrong person will be bored and not see the value; the right person will really see how mundane work leads to important decisions.”

Why they do it: While the work appeals to those interested in data storage, collection and management systems. it’s especially gratifying for those who want to help inform decisions about environmental policy, says Nilsen.

“Someone who isn’t interested in the environment might just think of it as data and numbers,” he said, “but that would make a lot of sense to them knowing that it actually helps make the better world, to educate people about the decisions they need to make to be aware of their organization’s footprint. ”

Mr. Nilsen adds that the position can also provide a valuable foundation for those seeking careers in environmental science or data analyst industries.

Misconceptions: Mr Nilsen says that, like many positions that follow the changing environment, there is a perception that its employees are activists rather than researchers performing scientific processes.

“It is a very defined sector with educational programs, it is strongly based on science and engineering, and the idea that environmental workers are environmentalists is not always correct,” he said. -he declares.

Sean N. Ayres