You finish your degree or certification, earn that title, and you let out a deep breath. You finally have a chance to take a small break, but you know what’s next: the job hunt. Finding a job can be an exhausting task, especially when you read posting after posting and become dizzy trying to determine which opportunity is the right one for you.
There’s no need to worry though: we’re here to help guide you along your career path to become a data analyst. Let’s start by emphasizing an essential aspect of job posts when filtering through opportunities: the job description, which provides a lot of information in a short amount of space, so let’s break it down together.
What is a Job Description?
Browsing through job listings, you’ll observe job descriptions for every position and job out there and they may just seem like a company’s simple requirements and needs. But they are much more than that. Job descriptions, or job specifications and profiles, have become extremely important for companies because they want to attract the most suitable professionals to fill their positions and become a part of their team quickly and efficiently. And they want them to stay on their team too!
Hiring managers put a lot of effort in perfecting job descriptions and strive to ensure that they lay out everything on the table. A job description includes the following sections:
Job title: when applying for jobs, you first need to know what the role is and the job title is where you will find it. Requiring few words, job titles are usually simple and straight to the point.
Job summary: in this section, potential applicants find out more about what the company represents as well as what the position calls for. All companies are different and have their own goals, characteristics, and unique teams that define their identity and with all that information, an applicant can ascertain much of how the work environment will be and the values the company represents. The job summary also provides basic details about the job in three or four sentences.
Responsibilities and duties: to further inform applicants of the job, companies include a list of specific tasks that they will carry out. This section outlines exactly what you will be doing and as such, makes it the one that can best help you understand what the position entails daily.
Qualifications and skills: after focusing on the job, hiring managers are putting the spotlight on what they expect their potential employees to have done in the past. This includes education such as degrees, certifications, or other proof of studies, past work experience, specific abilities and skills that the applicant should master, and both hard and soft skills. These qualifications are requirements that the company considers to be deal breakers; if you don’t have them, they may not give your application a chance.
Job preferences: although most qualifications and skills are deal breakers, job preferences are optional and extras that may put your application above others’. This section may list some other soft and hard skills that aren’t essential, but rather a plus.
Salary and benefits: we know your favorite part of your job is the salary and here this is where the company is showing what they can offer you. The company lists salary ranges, benefits, vacation days, remote working options, and other perks that sell the company to the applicants, answering the question: why should you choose this company?
Why is the job description so important?
Now that the sections of a job description have been explained, let’s dive into what makes them so important for both companies and their candidates.
Writing a faithful job description ensures that there is trust between the candidate and company from the onset. If the candidate is offered a position onto the team, the expectations are set from the outgo and matching the objectives found in the job description with the job itself ensures that a company builds a reliable and honest reputation in the job market too.
Time is money for companies and creating a quick and easy selection process is in their best interest. A straightforward job description sets the bar and the target for the appropriate candidates to apply for the job because no company wants to repeat the selection process and look for another candidate.
For companies, the job description becomes a set of expectations that can be used for job performance evaluation and holding candidates to the bar after joining the company. These expectations can also be leveraged if there are any misunderstandings or disagreements between employees and the company; thus, the job description can act as a legal document even.
When companies compare their own requirements to what their employees bring to the table, they can determine and organize any necessary training and professional development. Candidates can be almost perfect on paper, exceptional in an interview, deserve the position, and receive some polishing in some areas once they’re hired.
Data Analyst Job Descriptions
With the foundation for the job description laid down, we can zoom in on how data analyst job descriptions work specifically.
When looking for a data analytics job, there is more than just the basic data analyst position. Data analyst careers can lead to many other positions and job titles that include:
These jobs are all related to the position of data analyst, but they each have their own uniqueness that may or may not fit what you’re looking for. Keep an eye out and explore what qualifications and skills they require.
On the hunt for your first data analyst job, you may assume that the only companies that want you are related to the tech industry; however, the demand for data analysts is high across a wide range of companies. Tech companies are definitely in need of strong data analysts, but there’s no reason to limit your search since the possibilities are endless; after all, data analytics is a powerful tool from which all businesses can benefit.
Data analyst positions can vary in many ways and these brief job summaries show you what those little differences in positions are. Because they shine a light on those differences, the job summary can help you establish whether this job is the right fit for you.
Responsibilities and duties
Now that you have a basic idea of what the position will look like thanks to the job summary, the responsibilities and duties will show you the nitty gritty of what exactly you will be doing on a typical day at the office. Since this section elaborates more about your daily tasks, this section is really essential in imagining if this is the right job for you. You may find that a data analyst’s daily tasks include:
Data collection and integration: collect and organize data across various sources for teams to coordinate data pipelines and automate data collection.
Data reporting and visualization: develop and design a visualization that makes the data accessible for the company.
Exploratory data analysis: conduct in depth analyses of data to reveal insights, trends, and patterns.
Qualifications and skills
Mixing past experiences, education, and hard and soft skills, this section lays out what candidates must include on their resumes to be given a chance. Although companies trusted their data analysts to have a bachelor’s degree in data science or related fields in the past, the recent boom of other options such as tech bootcamps and certificate programs are more than sufficient for meeting their expectations along with experience in adjacent fields.
BUTTON: Tools You Must Learn as a Data Analyst
When zeroing in on the skills they list for the position, you may realize that you don’t have expertise in all of them and that’s okay. It’s sometimes worth applying for the job despite not having expertise in a program or one of the languages they mention because of the other parts of the job description that you feel suit your needs.
When talking about preferences, you may not put too much emphasis on their importance, after all: they are optional. Nevertheless, if you have skills that make you stand out like mastery over software such as Hadoop or Spark, machine learning techniques, cloud computing experience, or various coding languages, highlight their importance and place them at the beginning of your skill list after the required skills.
Salary and benefits
We know that you’re itching to be hired by a company and we welcome that excitement. But it’s essential that you carefully read and review this section in particular because you don’t want to take a job that underpays and/or has poor benefits just to land your first data analyst job. Don’t minimize yourself or your needs and wants! Since data analysts are in high demand right now, there will be a slew of job opportunities available to you and you can take advantage of the high number of offers to compare the salaries and benefits. In comparing them, you can better understand the norm.
Breaking into the world of data analytics may seem challenging; however, the Ironhack team is here to provide that support and assistance. You may be changing careers and wanting to start fresh in a new profession and that is what Ironhack does best: prepare curious students for a new career.
If becoming a data analyst is what you want, Ironhack’s Data Analytics Bootcamp will provide you with all the experience, knowledge, and support you need to land that dream job. What are you waiting for?