Data analyst

Science, mathematics and statistics

Career outlook for data analyst

Average UK salary


Currently employed in Scotland


"LMI for All" supplies our salary and employment status information. "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would collect numerical information to identify trends and patterns. You’d create models to predict what might happen in the future.

You’d explain your findings using graphs, charts, diagrams, tables and infographics.

Your work could be used in a number of areas, including:

  • Local and national government
  • Market research (public sector or government)
  • Business, finance and insurance
  • NHS management
  • Crime analysis and forensics
  • Education

In the private sector, you would:

  • Look for trends and patterns to help companies make business decisions
  • Analyse market research and trends in consumer feedback
  • Analyse opinion polls
  • Predict demand for services or goods
  • Check quality control standards in areas such as drug and food testing

In the public sector you could work for government agencies, research councils and universities.

If you work for the government you could collect, analyse and publish information on:

  • Population trends
  • The economy
  • The labour market
  • Transport
  • Crime

The information you produce would be used to advise government ministers and inform the press and the wider population.

Working conditions


You would generally work around 37 to 40 hours a week, and occasionally longer to meet project deadlines.


Your work would normally be office-based.


Your work might involve travelling to other locations to collect data.

UK employment status





Self employed


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Here are some of the skills needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.

  • Working with technology
  • Problem solving
  • Working with numbers
  • Observation
  • Researching
  • Attention to detail
  • Filtering
  • Sorting
  • Analysing
  • Understanding

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.


You would usually require a degree (SCQF level 9/10) in a subject such as statistics, mathematics or a related subject involving maths, such as economics or informatics.

Most undergraduate courses ask for at least four Higher (SCQF level 6) passes with a B although this varies slightly depending on the university and could be as high as AABB (first sitting) for some courses. You can also gain advanced entry to second year with Advanced Highers (SCQF level 7) or a relevant Higher National Certificate (SCFQ level 7) or Higher National Diploma (SCQF level 8).

Some employers also ask that you have postgraduate qualifications such as a Master of Science (MSc) (SCQF level 11) or a doctoral degree (SCQF level 12) in a relevant subject. 

Some universities offer an Integrated Masters (SCQF level 11) combining a degree and masters course over five years. Entry is the same as for a degree.

The Government Statistical Service (GSS) also takes on trainee statistics graduates through the Civil Service fast stream programme.

Although you'll usually still require a degree or postgraduate qualification to enter this role, you can gain relevant skills and qualifications through related apprenticeships such as Digital Applications Specialist (SCQF Level 6) or the Technical Apprenticeship in Data Analytics (SCQF Level 8).

These apprenticeships may allow accelerated entry to the second or third year of some degree courses or, combined with enough related experience and the higher level apprenticeship qualifications, you may be able to apply to some post-graduate courses directly. 

Useful subjects

  • Maths (required by most courses)
  • Science subjects
  • English

Helpful to have

An understanding of economic and business practices is useful.