How I Became a Data Analyst
Updated: Jul 27
I've recently started my new role as a data analyst and in just three weeks, I've gotten quite a few questions about my journey to this position. Below I'll be going through my entire journey in detail to become a data analyst.
For those interested in advice on how to navigate this career path, I've written an Ultimate Guide on How to Become a Data Analyst. I also have a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) post where I answer common questions about resources I used and how I searched for jobs. And if you're interested in the resources that I used in my journey, check out my article on Data Analytics Resources.
Below is my general timeline from discovering data analytics to becoming a full-time data analyst. It was a little over 2 years. I'll go into why it took me so long.
You can view my timeline visually below.
Took the Google Data Analytics Course - March 2021
Like many, I struggled to find a career path that fit me. From aspiring to be a mathematician in high school to majoring in Secondary Education in college, my journey wasn't linear. In early 2021, I discovered the Google Data Analytics Course, a program which introduced me to data analytics.
If you want to read my review of the course check out my post Google Data Analytics Course Review.
Made the Career Transition - July 2021
After months of taking the course, I found a blend of mathematics, design, data visualization, and soft skills in data analytics that appealed to me. I decided to transition from my job as a paralegal to a data analyst. During this time, I consumed a lot of content, like the videos from Alex the Analyst on YouTube, and started networking with other data analysts. I also signed up for a few Udemy classes that went into specific skills in more detail.
Learn the Skills and Built a Portfolio - Oct 2021
The next year and a half I spent my time learning the skills and building a portfolio. I could've done this in a shorter period of time. But I decided to stay with my previous company until my boss retired (which ended up being in September of 2022).
Below is what I did in the meantime for the rest of 2021:
For 2022 I began focusing on learning new Python and SQL along with adding more projects to my portfolio. I completed the 2022 Complete Python Bootcamp From Zero to Hero in July 2022 and developed Restaurant Picker Project in August 2022. I dove into the SQL Bootcamp 2022: Go from Zero to Hero from August 2022 to October 2022.
The next few months I focused on creating quality projects. Below are all of the projects I did:
Below are my projects (links will take you to the dashboard):
Weightlifting Analysis - Sep 2022 - Jan 2023
Student Performance Dashboard - Jan 2023
LinkedIn Metrics Dashboard - Feb 2023
Deep Work Dashboard - Feb 2023
Vehicle Sales Dashboard - Mar 2023
AP Exam Dashboard - April 2023
Began Official Job Search - Nov 2022
I began my official job search in November of 2022 (I took October 2022 off). I also took the time to reassess my original plan, you can read about it in my article: My Journey Towards a Data Career (Update). I didn't have a career strategy. Though I didn't have much success with these but it was a learning experience.
Sought "Real World Experience" - Mar 2023
Feedback from hiring managers indicated that despite my strong portfolio, resume, and LinkedIn profile, I lacked hands-on experience. I decided I'd go out and find my own real world experience. I began volunteering with a local non-profit as a data analyst in March 2023. I worked closely with the program manager to help clean and analyze data, and create dashboards in Excel. I also started a part-time content marketing role in April 2023. I gathered social media data to drive the content marketing strategy.
Focusing on Interviewing and Resume - Apr 2023
During this time, I worked on improving my interview skills and revising my resume. I focused on conveying my story and background more effectively, using the STAR method to align my experiences and skills with the role requirements. Feedback from mock interviews with people in my network led to significant improvements. Like my presentation skills, elevator pitch, and speaking with confidence.
In my resume, I emphasized my transferable skills like attention to detail because of my paralegal role and problem solving ability with my education background. I highlighted achievements and impacts quantitatively and included my soft skills.
Started my Current Role - July 2023
I continued doing this for the next few months. I got into the final round for two roles. Then in late June I got my offer for my current role. The biggest thing I did differently with this interview was come in with confidence in my ability and emphasized my drive and grit (by volunteering and working part time). I started in early July at my current role as a data analyst at Golden Hearts Gaming.
Remember, this is my personal journey and everyone’s path will be unique. Your journey may be faster or take a little longer. I hope my story encourages you to forge your own path and overcome your own challenges.