Business Administration

Navigating the Market Research Analyst Career Path?

Navigating the Market Research Analyst Career Path?
By obtaining and analyzing data on consumers and competitors, market research analysts work to study consistently changing market conditions. Image from Unsplash
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Noodle Staff February 13, 2018

There are many professional and personal reasons for pursuing a position as a Market Research Analyst. You may want to think about whether you possess the right skills for this position, and the right interpersonal characteristics.

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Are you someone with a strong interest in consumer behavior, and what makes people tick? Perhaps you possess good listening skills, and conducting focus groups – getting information from people – would be intuitive for you. Maybe you are highly organized, and have good time management skills. Market research analysts have to be good at details. Or perhaps you are a right brain and left brain kind of person. Market research analysts have to be familiar with, and good at, both qualitative and quantitative research methods.

If this sounds like you, then becoming a market research analyst may offer you many rewards.

Market research analysts study market conditions and examine potential sales associated with a product or service. These essential professionals help companies understand the demands of their consumers, who will buy a product and how an item should be priced.

With this in mind, here’s everything you need to know about the path to becoming a market research analyst.

How to Become a Market Research Analyst

If you’re interested in becoming a market research analyst, the first step is to obtain at least a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, such as statistics or marketing. While this is the base level required by most positions, some positions require at least a master’s degree, in a field like marketing, statistics, or business analytics. People also obtain degrees in fields like mathematics, economics, computer science, communications, or psychology.


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What Does a Market Research Analyst Do?

Market research analysts serve a critical purpose in the modern workforce. By obtaining and analyzing data on consumers and competitors, market research analysts work to study consistently changing market conditions. In doing this, they examine the potential sales of a service or a product. Market research analysts are used across most industries. Most work full-time and under strict deadlines, so the skill of time management is essential.

The daily duties of a market research analyst may include the following:

  • Monitor and forecast sales and marketing trends.
  • Measure the effectiveness of marketing strategies and programs.
  • Collect data about consumers, market conditions and competitors.
  • Use statistical software to analyze data.
  • Convert complex data into tables, graphs, and reports.
  • Prepare reports and present the compiled results to management and clients.

Market research analysts serve a simple product for companies: they analyze data and make it easier for companies to understand.

What are the Skills You Need to be a Market Research Analyst?

The skills needed to be a market research analyst are many – in addition to being organized and comfortable with multi-tasking, good market research analysts also need to understand how to work in dynamic, fast-paced environments. Additional skills needed include analyzing data, writing reports, collecting data, surveying data and similar skills.

Here are some of the essential skills for market research analysts:

  • Analytical skills. Market research analysts must be able to process and understand large amounts of data at any given time.
  • Critical-thinking skills. Market research analysts must be able to assess available information and determine which marketing strategies or outlooks would work best for a company.
  • The ability to analyze details. Market research analysts must be able to interpret and analyze details and process precise data analysis.
  • Solid communication skills. Market research analysts need to possess strong communication skills as they gather information, interpret data and present results.
  • Computer programming skills. While each job description varies slightly, a general rule of thumb is that you’ll want to be familiar with Excel, R, SAS, and SPSS statistical software. You may also want to learn programming languages like SQL.

Market Research Analyst Education Requirements?

If you’re thinking of becoming a market research analyst, there are a few educational things you need to get under your belt. Here are a few

  • Certification. While certification is voluntary, analysts that pursue certification have an additional level of professional competence that may be attractive to some employers. Certification can be obtained through the Marketing Research Association and similar bodies. If candidates wish to become certified, they must go through an exam, become a member of a professional organization and have at least three years of experience in the field.
  • Bachelor’s degree. People who want to become a market research analyst must obtain a bachelor’s degree first and foremost. Candidates may also undergo a master’s degree program or pursue non-traditional pathways including boot camps and online courses. Luckily for interested individuals, many popular universities offer bachelor’s degree programs, including Syracuse University, U.C. Berkeley, George Washington University and others.
  • Master’s degree. The best-paying market research analyst positions require a master’s degree. Luckily, MBA programs with an Analytics Focus are available from many different universities in the U.S., both online and in-person.

Who Typically Hires Market Research Analysts?

Market research analysts are needed across all market verticals. They’re commonly hired by technology companies, for example, or by companies that work with a large amount of data and need a professional to help them interpret it.

Popular employers of market research analysts include universities, state organizations and privately held companies. These companies are widespread and feature across the country.

Market Research Analyst Salaries – What can you Expect to Earn?

Currently, the market rate for a market research analyst salary is about $62,560 annually or about $30.08 hourly.

The job outlook for the market research analyst is projected to grow about 23 percent between 2016 and 2026. This is much faster than the average for all other occupations. The growth of this job position is driven by the increasing importance of data and market research in all industries.

While the average salary in major cities varies, the lower 25th percentile of the population earns about $45,550 annually, while the upper 75th percentile earns about $88,260.

Deciding to Become a Market Research Analyst

Deciding to become a market research analyst is a wise decision. Luckily, it’s also a very attainable one. By obtaining a degree, pursuing certification and working an internship, it’s easy to find a job that pays well in virtually any industry you’re interested in working in for the next several years.

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About the Editor

Tom Meltzer spent over 20 years writing and teaching for The Princeton Review, where he was lead author of the company's popular guide to colleges, before joining Noodle.

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