If you’re looking for data analysts to hire, you’ve probably learned that the career field is wide as well as deep. Sometimes data analysis stands alone, sometimes it includes business analysis, cybersecurity analysis, or computer systems analysis. Two career data analysts could work for the same company and never have their job responsibilities overlap. From the outside, this makes finding qualified data analysts and hiring them a real challenge.
Here at CBT Nuggets, we’ve been accumulating data about the information technology job market for over a year and a half, using our interactive State of IT Jobs map. From which companies are posting what job offers, and where, to who holds what job descriptions according to professional networking sites, we’ve gained unique insight into where hundreds of thousands of IT professionals work all over the country.
While performing analysis of all that data, we arrived at a sense of not only where IT professionals can be found, but also what makes them competitive in each field. That’s what you’ll find here: a break-down of the job data we’ve found about data analysts and how you can leverage the information to find the analysts you and your organization need.
How to Spot a Great Data Analyst
As we mentioned above, there are many different types of data analyst. Some data analysts focus on manipulating the huge volumes of data that enormous organizations produce. Other analysts tend to be found in the sales process, responsible for analyzing a business’ data usage or systems needs. There are also analysts trained to pore through the data produced by network devices and systems to sniff out would-be intruders or weaknesses in network defenses.
If you’re a hiring manager looking for a data analyst, one thing that can help you winnow the field is to learn what different industry certifications test for and validate. Then, you can separate applicants in a number of ways experience, formal education, and certifications.
Depending on the flavor of data analyst you’re hiring, they could be closer to a programmer than an expert in a Tableau expert. Data analysts certainly need to know SQL and probably even need to dabble in building databases. Depending on the size of the team, they may need to know everything. For that reason, certifications — or even just certification training — can help you determine whether someone has the right set of skills for your position.
Where Not To Look for Data Analysts
Our data suggests that jobs that fall under the “data analyst” umbrella, computer analysts or systems analysts, is a highly competitive career field. If you and your organization are searching for data analysts, you should familiarize yourself with where the job market is fiercest and where it’s slowest.
In terms of volume alone, West Virginia, Alaska, New Mexico, Nevada and the northern great plains and mountain states have the smallest number of data analysts. These are also some of the least populous states in the nation, so it shouldn’t surprise that in raw numbers, they have the fewest.
But taken as a percentage of the entire workforce of the state, in West Virginia, Louisiana, North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming and Nevada, data analysts are very sparsely represented. In those states, the percentage of data analysts in the workforce is less than 40% of the national average.
For us, our data suggests that the states mentioned above would be unattractive places for a hiring manager to go looking for data analysts. Not only are there not many data analysts to start with, but they’re in such short supply that local companies are likely already in fierce competition for the few that are in the area.
Where You Should Look for Data Analysts
On the other hand, the greatest number of data analysts work in California, Texas, New York, Illinois and Florida. In opposition to the above examples, these states are also some of the most populous states in the country, so it’s unsurprising that this is where you’d find the most data analysts by volume. Our data suggest that if you were to cast a wide net in those states, the law of large numbers should mean there are more attractive candidates there than anywhere else in the country.
But there are also states where data analysts make up a higher than normal percentage of the workforce. It’s possible the job market is oversaturated with analysts in those states, and a hiring manager would have a competitive advantage. For instance, as a percentage of the entire workforce of the state, in Minnesota, Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, and Illinois, analysts represent roughly 150% more of the workforce than the national average.
As we looked over the data, four states jumped out at us. These were all states that had some of the highest numbers of data analysts, but as a percentage of the entire workforce, fell far below the national average. In Indiana, Texas, California, and especially Florida, despite having very high numbers of data analysts, compared to the entire state’s population, they’re underrepresented. This suggests that the competition for data analysts is unusually low in those states, and data analysts may be struggling to find upward mobility or job prospects, and a hiring manager may find a higher-than-average number of grateful candidates.
What is a Data Analyst Worth
California, New York, Washington, D.C., Virginia, and New Jersey are where data analysts get paid the most. Hiring managers looking to hire out of those places should be aware that approximately $106,000 is the annual mean wage for data analysts in those states, and offers will have to be competitive in that range.
Meanwhile, in the states with far fewer data analysts, the wage averages drop closer to $70,000. That’s in states like Montana, Wyoming, North and South Dakota, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Mississippi – all states where there aren’t very many data analysts to start with.
Where You Might Find Unexpected Patches of Data Analysts
If you’ve exhausted most of your other options, and the analysis we’ve given so far hasn’t turned up candidates you’re looking for, there remain a few places you can try looking.
In central Kentucky, away from Louisville and Lexington, data analysts make up an unusually high percentage of the workforce. Searches in Elizabethtown, Bowling Green, and Owensboro could turn up unexpected results. Similarly, southeastern Iowa cities like Davenport, Iowa City, Mt Pleasant, and Fort Madison have more data analysts working than most cities of their size.
Last, eastern Washington has more data analysts per capita than the national average. A hiring manager who can afford to extend their search to Spokane, Richland, Yakima, or Ellensburg would find an uncommonly dense gathering of data analysts that could boost the pool of eligible candidates.
If you’re a hiring manager on the hunt for data analysts for your organization, keep at it. There are data analysts all over the country looking for work. Many are certified and qualified, just waiting for an opportunity to move onward and upward. Hopefully you’ve now got a stronger sense of what to look for in a data analyst, and where to start your search. Use our State of IT Jobs map to localize your search or go beyond the cities we mentioned here