What Degree Do I Need to Become a Data Analyst?


Getting an in-demand job as a data analyst often starts with getting the right skills and qualifications. For many, this might mean a degree. In this article, we’ll discuss whether you need a degree to become a data analyst, which data analytics degree to get, and how a higher-level degree could help you advance your career

Is a Degree Necessary for Data Analysis?

Most entry-level data analyst jobs require a bachelor’s degree, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. It’s possible to develop your data analysis skills—and potentially land a job—without a degree. But earning one gives you a structured way to build skills and network with professionals in the field. You could also find more job opportunities with a degree than without one.

Choosing the Right Degree

Selecting the appropriate degree program is crucial for preparing yourself for a career in data analysis. While a specialized “data analytics” degree is ideal, such programs may not be widely available. However, several alternative degree options can equip you with the essential skills for the role:

  • Data Science: Pursuing a bachelor’s degree in data science offers a comprehensive education in key areas such as computer science, statistics, and mathematics. Moreover, many programs allow for specialization in specific domains like economics, finance, business, or healthcare, catering to diverse career interests.
  • Computer Science: Degrees in computer science provide a solid foundation in analytical skills, making them well-suited for aspiring data analysts. Through these programs, you can expect to delve into topics such as artificial intelligence, algorithmic design, and programming languages relevant to data analysis.
  • Applied Mathematics or Statistics: Bachelor’s degrees in applied mathematics or statistics focus on the practical application of mathematical concepts in real-world scenarios, particularly in aiding data-driven decision-making processes. Coursework typically includes exposure to programming languages and statistical software tools essential for data analysis tasks.
  • Finance/Economics: For individuals interested in roles such as financial or business analysts, degrees in finance or economics with coursework in statistics and analysis are highly beneficial. Some programs even offer specialized tracks in business analytics, providing targeted training for relevant career paths.
  • Psychology: While not immediately obvious, psychology degrees can also be relevant to data analysis. Psychologists often utilize data to understand, predict, and explain human behavior. A Bachelor of Science in Psychology may include coursework in mathematics and statistical analysis, complementing analytical skills required in data analysis roles.
  • Management Information Systems (MIS): Degrees in MIS offer insights into the management and utilization of databases, which are essential aspects of data analysis. Coursework typically covers database design, data management principles, and business theory, with opportunities to specialize in areas such as data analytics or business intelligence.

Regardless of the chosen degree program, it is imperative to supplement academic studies with courses in statistics, calculus, linear algebra, and computer science, including practical training in relevant database and statistical software tools.

Is a Master’s Degree Worth It?

While a bachelor’s degree suffices for many entry-level data analysis positions, pursuing a master’s degree in data analytics or related fields can significantly enhance career prospects. Some companies actively seek candidates with advanced degrees, as evidenced by a study conducted by IBM. Higher-level degrees often translate to higher salaries, making them a worthwhile investment for career advancement in data analytics or transitioning into roles in data science.


Earning a degree, particularly in fields like data science, computer science, or applied mathematics, serves as a solid foundation for launching a successful career in data analysis. While a bachelor’s degree is typically the minimum requirement for entry-level roles, pursuing a master’s degree can unlock advanced opportunities and potentially higher earning potential. By carefully selecting a degree program aligned with your interests and career goals and supplementing academic coursework with practical skills development, you can position yourself for success in the dynamic field of data analysis.

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