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How to become a Data Analyst with no experience

A Data Analyst is a professional who gathers, arranges, and analyses data, which is then usually presented to the relevant departments within a business to create actionable strategies.

At Admiral, Data Analysts are central to driving the success of our organisation and are amongst the most-loved tech jobs in the company.

Is it hard to become a Data Analyst with no experience?

There are different things you can do to become a Data Analyst without prior experience.

But first, let’s clarify what we mean when we say “no experience”:

Perhaps you’re a recent graduate looking to become a Data Analyst and you don’t yet have any work experience. Maybe you’re considering changing careers and wondering if a job as a Data Analyst might be a good fit for the skills you already have.

If the latter sounds like you, we can assure you that coming to data analysis with a non-traditional background can be incredibly valuable. 

‘Why?’, you might ask:

To succeed as a Data Analyst, it’s helpful to have an understanding of people and business contexts from other areas of life. This multi-faceted approach is one of the greatest benefits of pursuing a job in the IT sector.

Here’s some guidance to get you on the right track to becoming a Data Analyst:

How to become a Data Analyst

Develop the right skills

You might be wondering what qualifications you need to become a Data Analyst:

While there are data analyst certifications that you can look at pursuing, many employers care just as much about seeing that you've got a solid base of skills you can grow from.

Virtually all entry-level Data Analyst jobs will require you to know three tools:

SQL, Excel, and visualisation tools such as Tableau, Looker, Microstrategy, and PowerBI.

Fluency in Excel will be something that many Data Analyst employers look for. You’ll want to know how to clean, analyse, and present data at an intermediate level; be able to create visualisations, use formulas, and know shortcuts.

SQL is another tool that should definitely be in your data analysis toolkit—especially considering how likely a SQL problem will be to come up in your technical interview. You should be able to use the software at an intermediate level.

As for Visualisation Tools, there are lots around! Many data analysis positions will often require you to use the tools to connect data, add multiple sources, and create visualisations using filters.

You might be asking yourself if a Data Analyst requires coding skills beyond SQL, too.

At Admiral, we encourage those who are interested in learning a coding language to get started in SQL or Python, but will support you with in-house training from our Data & AI Academy.

Build a portfolio

Though you don’t necessarily need to have relevant work experience to become a Data Analyst, you certainly need to have something that can show employers you have the skills needed to carry out the job well. 

Having a stellar portfolio will set you apart from other applicants and demonstrate your skills to potential employers.

Aim to have 3-5 sample projects in your portfolio—and make sure to list or link to them on your resume.

When you’re deciding which projects to undertake for your portfolio, choose problems that:

  1. Tell a story
  2. Demonstrate a combination of your skills.


Show that you can integrate Excel, SQL, and Tableau to solve real-life problems; employers are less likely to connect with a project that simply utilises a random data set without a meaningful backstory.

Write a relevant resume

Forget listing your work experience chronologically—put your most relevant work experience and skills at the very top. Make sure to include your portfolio projects and link to your portfolio website if you have one.

If you don’t have relevant work experience, an employer who sees you’ve built up all the essential skills and that you know how to apply them effectively may be willing to give you a shot.

It’s important to prepare for all aspects of your data analyst interview; this usually consists of both a technical problem interview as well as a traditional face-to-face interview.

Find out more about building a Data Analyst career with us

Now that you have a roadmap to becoming a Data Analyst, why not discover the jobs that are out there waiting for you?

Admiral employs a wealth of Data Analysts in a variety of roles—from Data Delivery & IT Integration to Data Science & Analytics. Our Data Analysts are an essential part of our organisation and there are endless opportunities for career progression with us.

Explore our selection of data jobs to see what a career at Admiral could look like for you. Can't find the perfect match for your skills right now? Not to worry. Sign up for job alerts or revisit us once you've sharpened your skills. We're always on the lookout for passionate data whizzes like you, so there's always an opportunity waiting for you here.

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