A remote data analyst in side profile, smiling at a laptop screen against a city backdrop

Can Data Analysts Work Remotely?

Emily Stevens

So, you’re either working as a data analyst or thinking about becoming one—and you’re keen to forge a remote career. Can the two go hand-in-hand?

In a word, yes. Data is one of the fastest growing professions, and data analysts are in high demand. At the same time, remote work is on the rise; it’s predicted that, by 2028, 73% of all teams will have remote workers. And, when you consider the day-to-day work of a data analyst, you’ll find that it’s particularly well-suited to the remote environment.

Still, if you’re thinking about becoming a remote data analyst, there are certain things you’ll need to consider. In this guide, we’ll give you a solid overview of the remote data job market, and share some tips on how to find a remote job.

We’ll explore the following:

  1. Can data analysts work remotely?
  2. What is the remote job market like for data analysts?
  3. How much do remote data analysts earn?
  4. Is it easy to become a remote data analyst?
  5. How to find a remote data analyst job
  6. Key takeaways

Can data analysts work remotely? Let’s take a look.

1. Is data analytics well-suited to working remotely?

First things first: What does a data analyst actually do, and how does this fit in with remote work?

Data analysts are responsible for turning raw data into meaningful insights. First, they’ll work with key stakeholders in the business to identify a problem or a question that needs answering. For example, why did sales dip so dramatically in November? From then on, they’ll spend most of their time extracting data (say, from a database), organizing it, analyzing it, and presenting their findings. To do this, they use tools such as Microsoft Excel and Tableau, as well as languages like SQL, Python, and R. You can learn more about the tools used by data analysts in this post.

On a day-to-day basis, much of the data analyst’s time is spent on the computer, and the actual analysis part of the job requires very little (or even no) collaboration. In a nutshell, here’s why data analytics is so well-suited to remote work:

  • Data analysts tend to work solo. There are some aspects of the role that require collaboration, but for the most part, you’ll be working independently. Once you’ve worked with key stakeholders to define the problem, it’s essentially just you and the data.
     
  • Data analytics is mostly computer-based. Whether you’re scraping data from the web, sifting through an internal database, running analyses, building algorithms, or creating visualizations—this is all done on the computer. Like many jobs in the tech world, all you really need is an internet connection and the right programs.
     
  • It’s 2020, and remote communication is a breeze. In terms of remote work, technology is well and truly on your side. For those occasions when you do need to liaise with stakeholders or present your findings, you’ll just set up a virtual meeting. In the age of high-quality video conferencing and screen sharing, anything is possible. 

2. What is the remote job market like for data analysts?

Before we consider the state of the remote job market, let’s review the data analytics market in general. In 2019, the global data analytics market was valued at $49 billion USD—more than double what it was worth in 2015. And, from 2020 to 2023, the market is projected to grow at a rate of 30% per year.

This rapid industry growth is reflected in the data analytics job market. In their Jobs of Tomorrow report, the World Economic Forum identifies seven high-growth emerging professions—and, out of the seven, data and AI shows the highest growth rate at 41% per year. It’s clear that data analysts are, and will continue to be, in high demand.

At the same time, the remote job market is booming. According to a report by Glassdoor, remote job listings increased by 61% in August 2020 compared to the same period last year. And, according to FlexJobs, data analysts are among the top professions currently showing strong remote job growth.

So: A burgeoning data job market coupled with a rise in remote work. Very promising for an aspiring remote data analyst! To give you an idea of what this looks like in terms of actual job listings, we’ve scoured some of the most popular job boards for remote data analyst roles. At the time of writing, we found:

These figures might seem low in comparison to non-remote data analyst positions; for example, a search for data analyst roles in the United States brings up over 28,000 results on LinkedIn alone. However, it’s important to bear in mind that not all positions with the potential to go remote are advertised as such—it may be something you can negotiate with the hiring manager. Especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more companies will be open to hiring remote analysts. We’ll share some tips on how to find a remote data analyst job in section five.

3. How much do remote data analysts earn?

How much you earn as a data analyst depends on several factors: Your location, how much experience you’ve got, and the industry you work in. On average, data analysts earn $75,000 USD per year (in the United States, based on data from indeed.com.)

But what about remote data analysts?

At the time of writing, there’s very little data regarding remote data analyst salaries specifically—and there’s much discussion about whether remote workers should earn less than their in-house counterparts. Mark Zuckerberg recently announced that, in the next ten years, half of Facebook’s employees will switch to remote work on a permanent basis, and that their salaries may be adjusted based on where they live. So, employees living in cheaper areas can effectively expect a pay cut. This is an approach that many companies take when hiring remote workers, so it’s something to bear in mind when negotiating your salary. However, this may shift as remote work becomes increasingly prevalent. In the wake of Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement, many people are arguing that remote workers should not be paid based on where they live, but on the value they bring to the company.

So: When it comes to your salary as a remote data analyst, you can use your location as a benchmark—but make sure you also factor in the expertise you’re bringing to the table. There’s no reason you should earn significantly less than in-house analysts if you’re working the same hours and contributing just as much value. If you’re struggling with where to pitch your salary expectations, our data analyst salary guide will help you.

4. Is it easy to become a remote data analyst?

As we’ve seen, the demand for data analysts is high and the remote job market is growing. At the same time, it’s a profession that can easily be carried out independently away from the office. With that in mind, it should be fairly easy to become a remote data analyst, right?

Unfortunately, there is no simple “yes” or “no” answer to this question. It all depends on your level of experience and where you’re currently at in your career. If you’ve already got some experience working as a data analyst, you’ll find it easier to apply for remote positions. Employers will see that you’ve already been exposed to the role and how it works within a business—and will be more confident in your ability to do the job without hands-on guidance. As an entry-level analyst without that previous experience, you haven’t yet built up a solid track record. From an employer’s perspective, it’s not clear whether you are able to work independently, and you’re more likely to need face-to-face support.

However, that’s not to say that it isn’t possible. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on the world of work, and companies have had to adapt how they operate and embrace more non-traditional ways of working. For many companies, hiring remote workers will become the new norm—and that will include entry-level data analysts. It’s true that you’ll need to work harder to convince employers that you’re ready for a remote position, but you’ll find that, in the current climate, more and more companies are open to the idea.

5. How to find a remote data analyst job

When it comes to finding a remote data analyst job, there are a few things you can do to boost your chances of success:

  • Look in the right places
  • Get your portfolio up to scratch
  • Know how to pitch yourself as a remote worker

Let’s elaborate on those.

Where to look for remote data analyst jobs

While there are a number of job boards dedicated to remote jobs, it’s still worth browsing general job sites, too. In the current climate, many companies will be offering remote opportunities without advertising them as such, so it’s important to cover all bases. We’re also seeing an increasing number of virtual job fairs taking place, so keep an eye out for those. CareerFoundry Career Specialist Danielle Sander recommends focusing on companies based in your timezone, and in those areas where you are legally authorized to work. Here are some of our favorite websites for remote data analyst jobs:

Polish up your data analytics portfolio

Whether you’re searching for in-house or remote jobs, it’s absolutely crucial that you have a professional data analytics portfolio. Through your portfolio, you’ll showcase your skills and expertise, demonstrating what you’re capable of and that you’re passionate about your profession. We show you how to build a professional data analytics portfolio in this guide.

Market yourself as a remote worker

Last but not least, be ready to convince employers that you’ve got what it takes to work remotely as a data analyst. Employers will want to see that you can effectively manage your time without any supervision, and that you understand the importance of communication. Think back to your previous experience; is there a time when you’ve had to collaborate with people who aren’t in the same location? Have you worked on any freelance projects that required you to stick to deadlines whilst working independently? At the same time, show that you’ve thought about the challenges associated with remote work and how you plan to overcome them. With a well-thought-out pitch and a stellar portfolio, there’s nothing to stop you landing your dream remote job!

6. Key takeaways

As the data market grows and remote work continues to rise, data analysts will increasingly find opportunities for flexible, location-independent work. While it may prove more difficult for entry-level analysts to find a remote position, it’s certainly possible. Remember: Polish up your portfolio, cover all bases when searching for jobs, and be prepared to convince employers that you’re cut out for remote work.

Whether you choose to work in-house or pursue a remote position, it’s an exciting time to become a data analyst. You can try your hand at data analytics with this free introductory short course, and you can learn more about the data analytics industry in the following articles:

What You Should Do Now

  1. Get a hands-on introduction to data analytics with a free, 5-day data analytics short course.
  2. Take a deeper dive into the world of data analytics with our Intro to Data Analytics Course.
  3. Talk to a program advisor to discuss career change and find out if data analytics is right for you.
  4. Learn about our graduates, see their portfolio projects, and find out where they’re at now.

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Emily Stevens

Emily Stevens

Managing Editor at CareerFoundry

Originally from England, Emily moved to Berlin after studying French and German at university. She has spent the last five years working in tech startups, immersed in the world of UX and design thinking. In addition to writing for the CareerFoundry blog, Emily has been a regular contributor to several industry-leading design publications, including the InVision blog, UX Planet, and Adobe XD Ideas.