Starting off as a data analyst intern is one of the best ways to begin a career in the field of analytics and data science if you don't have any prior working experience. The benefits of a data analyst internship are countless, beginning with the opportunity to be mentored by professionals in the field and build up your analytics skillset, up to exploring the numerous networking opportunities that internships provide.
So, in this article, we'll discuss how to become a data analyst intern.
We’ll look at who the data analyst intern is, what do they do, and what skills and education you need to become one.
You can also check out the video on the topic below, download our free infographic, or scroll down to keep on reading.
Who Is the Data Analyst Intern?
Data analyst intern is an entry-level position that plays an auxiliary role in the analytics department of a company.
That means a data analyst intern supports both data analysts and data scientists in their projects; usually by performing various data mining or data quality tasks.
In other words, their ultimate goal is to take some run-of-the-mill operations off the hands of the more senior data analysts and data scientists.
However, don’t be quick to judge this internship as a boring service job. it’s a quid-pro-quo game. In turn, full-time data analysts and data scientists have less workload. And that makes them happy to spend time showing data analyst interns key practical aspects of their work.
That said, data analyst interns are usually assigned to a data analyst or a data scientist who provides them with advice and technical guidance throughout the internship.
Yet sometimes, a data analyst intern is part of a team and has pre-defined duties. At least that’s the case in team structures where there’s always an intern on a rolling basis.
What Does a Data Analyst Intern Do?
A data analyst intern is hired in an organization to basically audition for the data analyst role. Most often they're given tasks revolving around working with data and preprocessing it, monitoring data quality and consistency. Sometimes data analyst interns also work with data stewards to improve the quality, accessibility, and value of the company's data.
In the meantime, Big Brother is watching – throughout the internship, current data analysts monitor the ability of interns to work with data, turn it into information, then leverage the information and obtain insights that can be used to improve business decisions. A data analyst intern needs to show they are perfectly capable of deriving insights and communicating the results from their findings. Their goal during the internship should be to demonstrate that they are detailed-oriented professionals who can answer critical business questions by using available data sources.
Sounds cool, doesn’t it?
A data analyst career is a great option to explore, both on its own and as a gateway into a data scientist position.
And a data analyst internship can be the first step on the data scientist career path. Many companies across literally all industries offer internship positions as part of their recruitment strategy, especially large firms who like to select their talent carefully and can dedicate the necessary management resources to an internship program.
What Skills Do You Need to Apply for a Data Analyst Internship?
We researched many job postings to discover the desired tools and skills data analyst intern candidates must have. For the record, 25% of the job ads belong to companies with 10,000 or more employees.
So, here’s what the data says:
- 56% of the job ads mentioned Microsoft Excel skills
- 37% quoted Power BI as a preferred tool
- 31% mentioned Tableau as a preferred tool
- 31% required knowledge of SQL
- And 19% mentioned Python
But don’t think that being tech-savvy is the only thing that matters. At least 50% of the job postings make an emphasis on communication. So, you need to work on your soft skills as well. After all, one of the key prerequisites is to be able to share your findings with people from the business.
What Degree Do You Need to Become a Data Analyst Intern?
50% of data analyst internships require a Bachelor’s degree… and the rest didn’t… That means formal education is not that important as long as you’re well-versed in statistics, preprocessing with programming languages, ability to work with data and navigate databases, ability to extract information from data and turn it into insights, and willingness to go the extra mile and engage with data mining and data quality tasks.
Next Steps: Starting a Data Analyst Career
Overall, to be successful in this position, you need:
- some programming abilities
- to know how to work with data
- and to internalize different statistical and advanced statistical techniques
Ideally, you should be able to see how these methods can be applied in practice in a business environment. In fact, it will benefit you greatly if you have already learned these skills prior to your internship. This way, you'll make the best possible impression, which is super important because - as we mentioned earlier - this is your audition to a full-time data analyst role and a data scientist job.
Now you’re aware of the most important aspects of the data analyst intern position. And you know what skills to focus on in order to become one.
Nevertheless, if you feel like you still need additional career advice and a more detailed analysis of the career opportunities in data science, check out our course Starting a Career in Data Science: Project Portfolio, Resume, and Interview Process.