How Do I Become a Database Analyst?

If you have excellent computer, programming and analytical skills, you might be wondering how to become a database analyst. Companies in a variety of industries from banking to healthcare use computer databases to store and keep track of important information, like company finances and client contact information. Database analysts are professionals in the field of information technology (IT) who manage and maintain these databases.

Database analysts often work in computer systems design service firms, including data-processing agencies and Internet service providers. They may also work within organizations and companies that use databases, including banks, insurance companies, retailers, medical facilities, educational institutions and government agencies.

Like database administrators, database analysts oversee the use of a company’s database and ensure that the database fits the company’s needs. Database analysts may be responsible for updating software and creating backup copies of information in case technical difficulties or computer errors or malfunctions prevent access to necessary data. Database analysts may also research new software and devise ways to streamline databases and more effectively organize and manage information. It may be a database analyst’s job to access important records and documents and train new employees to use the database.

Database analysts must have a thorough understanding of computers as well as highly-developed analytical skills. To cultivate this knowledge, candidates earn either an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree, usually in computer engineering, computer programming, management information systems or information technology. An associate’s degree may be enough to qualify candidates for entry-level positions, while a bachelor’s degree can improve career prospects and boost earning potential. An aspiring database analyst’s education is not complete without coursework in database management systems, the use of various software programs and in-depth knowledge of popular programming languages such as SQL. Database analysis requires a keen analytical mind and the logical, critical-thinking and problem-solving skills to maintain and improve a company’s process of keeping electronic records in databases.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts career opportunities for computer occupations as a whole in increase by 22 percent by the year 2020, which is a significantly higher rate of job growth than the 14 percent increase expected for all occupations. Database analysts may see even greater growth in job opportunities, as jobs in the closely related occupation of database administrator are expected to increase by 31 percent. Job search site lists the average annual salary for database administrators as $74,000, a wage that is much higher than the $33,840 median annual salary for all occupations.

Success as a database analyst takes an especially logical and detail-oriented individual. You must enjoy working with computers and have a real interest in organizing information in the most efficient way possible. If you enjoy computer programming, have a natural ability to analyze and organize information and can devise creative ways to solve problems using technology, knowing how to become a database analyst can be the start to securing a well-paying and important job in the thriving computer industry.

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