Reporting analysts are professionals who mine and analyze data and help managers and executives to make informed business decisions. While these professionals might work in a wide array of industries and fields, it is common for reporting analysts to have strong backgrounds in information systems and data analysis models. To become a reporting analyst, you should get at least an undergraduate degree in a field such as information systems or computer science, as well as gain a strong understanding of complex mathematical principles related to statistics and probability. It also is important to engage in internship opportunities and to work for a number of years as an assistant to more established senior or lead consultants. A person who wants to become a reporting analyst also can benefit from becoming a member of related professional organizations and undergoing continual professional development.
People who work as reporting analysts might either work as full-time consultants for organizations or as contract analysts who are hired for limited periods of time to analyze data and provide practical solutions. It is common for reporting analysts to have certain areas of specialization. For instance, a reporting analyst who specializes in using data analysis to improve information systems might work for information technology firms, while a business intelligence analyst might help organizations to stay competitive in their respective markets.
An individual seeking work as a reporting analyst might be successful without a graduate degree, though it often is much easier to find a good job with high levels of education. This is especially true for people who are interested in more competitive job markets and in markets where professionals tend to have very high levels of training. For example, graduate degrees might be advisable for people who want work in urban areas with strong financial sectors, as well as for people who want to work as reporting analysts in fields where professionals use cutting edge information systems.
It's also important to get experience while studying towards your degree. Internships often give students their first opportunities to apply principles and practices they learn in the classroom to real situations, which can be a real advantage to anyone wishing to become a reporting analyst. Many employers after college consider internship experience to be equivalent to actual professional experience.
A person who wants to become a reporting analyst in a management or senior position should plan on getting some leadership training. One way to do this is to concentrate partly in management in college or to choose a double major in management and information systems. It also is possible, in many cases, to begin applying for project management and supervisor positions once you have practiced for a few years as an assistant or junior reporting analyst. Some employers provide management training to promising employees.