How to Learn Data Analytics

Wondering how to learn data analytics? You might be surprised by the many options available. Here’s what you need to know about your choices.
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In addition to her work covering bootcamps, technology, and careers for BestColleges, Sharon Wilfong focuses on SaaS, marketing, media production, education, and lifestyle content. She's also an award-winning screenwriter, memoir writer, and poet. ...
Updated on October 13, 2023
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Data analytics helps companies gain insight into data trends and metrics. Businesses can use data to increase efficiency and performance from production and customer service to network security. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), computer and information research scientists made a median salary of $126,830 in 2020.

Entry-level jobs in data analytics, data science, and other mathematical science fields can earn anywhere from $80,000 to over $100,000 per year. Salaries depend on the industry, employer, location, and the job seeker's education and experience. A data analytics career offers opportunities in various sectors and plenty of room for growth.

You do not necessarily need a degree in computer science to start a data analytics career. There are several ways to learn data analytics, including online courses and coding bootcamps. Here, we cover how to learn data analytics, coding bootcamps, online courses, and data analytics careers.

Coding Bootcamps

Cost, time, and prior experience can help determine which path to learning data analytics students may take. A data analytics bootcamp is an intensive program that concentrates on building specific skills. For example, a coding bootcamp may focus on the programming languages professionals use in data science, such as Python, JavaScript, or SQL.

A bootcamp's curriculum, learning format, and time commitment may vary. Bootcamps can run full time or part time, or they may offer self-paced courses. Completion times vary widely and can take anywhere from 3-18 months. By comparison, earning a computer science degree takes 2-4 years.

Find the Right Bootcamp For You

Online Courses

Students who may be unable to afford or commit to a coding bootcamp can choose online data analytics courses instead. Some data analytics courses are free, while others, like those offered by Coursera, are available with a monthly membership. Depending on the course creator, online courses feature more flexibility with time commitments, learning formats, and payment options.

Students can ensure a quality education from online data analytics courses by taking courses developed by big tech companies. Google, Microsoft, Tableau, Amazon, and IBM all offer courses and certificates that enable learners to succeed on their platform.

Below, we list some course examples.

  • Foundations: Data, Data, Everywhere: Foundations is the first in this series of Coursera courses developed by Google, leading up to a Google Analytics certificate. Students discover data analytics, data cleaning, and data visualization using tools including spreadsheets, Tableau, SQL, and R programming. Students also build a vocabulary of terms and concepts and learn about best practices.
  • Discover Data Analysis: This free course is part of Microsoft's learning path to prepare for the Microsoft data analyst certification. Students examine the skills, tasks, and processes it takes to become a data analyst. Students also review the Power BI tools and services data analysts use to turn data into a compelling story.
  • Tableau Fundamentals: Anyone who works with data can take this beginner to intermediate-level course through Tableau. Students learn to use essential concepts and techniques in Tableau to move from simple to complex visualizations. There are no prerequisites, and learners can get started and build their skills with a monthly subscription.
  • Data Analytics Fundamentals | Data Analytics (BigData): This free, self-paced course provides an overview of data planning, analysis solutions, and the analytical processes involved. Students learn the five key factors specific to AWS services in collecting, processing, analyzing, and presenting data. Studies include an introduction to AWS services and solutions to build and enhance data analysis and value propositions.
  • Introduction to Data Analytics: This IBM course offered by Coursera introduces learners to data analysis concepts, such as learning how to identify data sources and gather data. Students learn how to clean, analyze, and share data using visualizations and dashboard tools. There are no prerequisites for this course, and students can apply it to many specializations and professional certificate programs.

Online Courses vs. Bootcamps

Online Courses
Pros Cons
  • Online courses can be free and often are inexpensive.
  • Online courses often have flexible formats for those with home or work commitments.
  • Courses have little to no student services, access to instructors, or peer interaction.
  • Employers may not take the education as seriously as a bootcamp or degree.
Coding Bootcamps
Pros Cons
  • Bootcamps are fast-paced, specific, and teach vital professional skills.
  • Bootcamps usually offer student career services, instructor help, and group projects.

Coding Bootcamps to Learn Data Analytics

Columbia University, New York City

  • Location: Remote
  • Program Cost: $13,995
  • Learning Format: Online
  • Time Commitment: Part Time

Accepts GI Bill®
Career Services
Evening & Weekend Options

Columbia's engineering school offers a part-time data analytics bootcamp that takes 24 weeks to complete. The bootcamp features live interactive online classes with an industry-driven curriculum. Students gain experience using professional tools and technologies, including fundamental statistics, intermediate Excel, SQL, Tableau, and Git/GitHub.

Graduates have a comprehensive portfolio demonstrating their data analytics and coding skills. Columbia also provides career services up to three months after graduating from the bootcamp. Graduates work with career advisors and coaches to gain job referrals from a list of over 260 employer partners.


  • Location: Remote
  • Program Cost: $10,140
  • Learning Format: Online
  • Time Commitment: Self-Paced

Accepts GI Bill®
Career Services
Evening & Weekend Options

Springboard's self-paced data analytics bootcamp is in partnership with Microsoft. The curriculum features career-focused coursework, case studies, videos, articles, and hands-on projects. Students learn about structured thinking, analyzing business problems, and connecting data using SQL. They also learn to visualize data with Python.

This coding bootcamp requires strong critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Participants also need two years of experience working with office, design, or programming tools. Additionally, students receive mentorship from industry experts and support from career coaches, including mock interviews and job-searching tips.


  • Location: Remote
  • Program Cost: $8,000
  • Learning Format: Online
  • Time Commitment: Full or Part Time

Accepts GI Bill®
Career Services
Evening & Weekend Options

Thinkful offers a choice of a four-month, full-time accelerated program or a six-month, flexible part-time option. Learners can also take a prep course to try a coding bootcamp before signing up. Students gain skills in statistical analysis, Tableau, advanced Excel, Python, and SQL.

Thinkful's coding bootcamp provides each student with a mentor. These mentors help students build a portfolio and get hired. The career services team offers career support and mock technical and behavioral interviews. Students can also attend workshops on networking, resume and cover letter writing, and interview preparation.

University of California, Berkeley

  • Location: Remote
  • Program Cost: $9,995
  • Learning Format: Online
  • Time Commitment: Part Time

Accepts GI Bill®
Career Services
Evening & Weekend Options

The UC Berkeley data analytics bootcamp is a 24-week bootcamp that blends self-paced content with interactive online classes. Expert instructors teach curriculum covering tools and technologies including SQL, Tableau, and intermediate Excel. Students also learn Python, JavaScript, and HTML5/CSS. There are also advanced topics in big data analytics and machine learning.

Learners do not need programming experience. However, Berkley recommends applicants hold a bachelor's degree or have two years of experience in statistics or a related field. Students also build a comprehensive portfolio and receive a certificate of completion from UC Berkeley Extension.

University of Texas at Austin

  • Location: Remote
  • Program Cost: $12,495
  • Learning Format: Online
  • Time Commitment: Self-Paced

Accepts GI Bill®
Career Services
Evening & Weekend Options

This coding bootcamp from UT Austin features live online, instructor-led classes, and an industry-driven curriculum. Learners study coding languages, including SQL, JavaScript, HTML5/CSS, and Python. They also gain skills using real-world datasets from industries including human resources, financial services, government, and healthcare.

Online students can collaborate with classmates and work independently to build a comprehensive portfolio of projects. They also receive the same quality of support services as learners on campus. Bootcamp students also have a dedicated career services team, career workshops, industry events, and access to job referrals.

Get the Qualities You Want in a Bootcamp

We use icons to make browsing bootcamps easy for you. Use this breakdown to quickly identify program qualities you are looking for.

Accepts GI Bill®

Accepts the GI Bill® as funding for tuition.

Also Available In Person

This online bootcamp also offers in-person options.

Career Services

Offers career services to help you land your dream job after graduation.

CIRR Member

This bootcamp is a current member of the Council on Integrity in Results Reporting. Learn more at

Evening & Weekend Options

Bootcamps are offered during convenient evening and weekend hours.

Job Guarantee

Employment is guaranteed as soon as you finish your bootcamp.

Money-Back Guarantee

Tuition is refunded if you don't land a job within a given time frame after graduation. Visit the bootcamp website for terms and conditions.

Start for Free

No deposit is required to get started. Begin your bootcamp for $0.


Bootcamp Ranking Guidelines

At BestColleges, we believe the best bootcamp is the one that fits your schedule, your learning needs, and your career aspirations. That's why we often present our recommendations in alphabetical order -- because the real best bootcamp is the bootcamp that's best for you.

Our Methodology

The Bootcamp Team at BestColleges has collected data for over 150 bootcamps to help you find the best bootcamp.

At BestColleges, we believe the best bootcamp is the one that fits your schedule, your learning needs, and your career aspirations. That's why we often present our recommendations in alphabetical order -- because the real best bootcamp is the bootcamp that's best for you.

At this time, our recommendation round-ups feature only immersive bootcamps designed to prepare students for job placement upon graduation.

To be included on our lists, bootcamps must meet the following criteria:

  • Must offer at least one bootcamp in the United States.
  • Must offer at least one bootcamp that is a minimum of 4 weeks long.
  • Must require at least 15 hours of work per week if the bootcamp is part time.
  • Must encourage at least 10 hours of work per week if the bootcamp is self-paced.

Pricing disclosure: The prices listed were collected from product websites in 2022. However, given the dynamic, fast-paced nature of the tech space, prices are subject to change throughout the year. To get the most up-to-date information about pricing, contact providers directly.

Methodology for Recommending Cheap Bootcamps:

  • The bootcamp must meet all of the general criteria listed above.
  • The bootcamp must cost less than $8,000 if it is offered full time, and less than $5,000 if it is offered part time. These numbers were chosen based on data collected by BestColleges in 2020 that determined the average cost of a coding bootcamp is $13,580.

Data Analytics Jobs

There are several job roles with similar skill sets to those of a data analyst. Read below to discover variations of data analytics jobs and their median annual salaries.

Information Security Analysts

Information security analysts monitor company networks for security breaches and investigate if one occurs. They maintain firewalls, check for vulnerabilities in network systems, and prepare reports documenting attempted attacks and security breaches. The BLS projects a 33% increase in jobs between 2020 and 2030, with around 16,300 openings each year on average.

Median Annual Salary

Operations Research Analysts

Operations research analysts help identify and solve business, healthcare, and other industries' issues. They collect information from computer databases, customer feedback, and other sources, using analysis, simulations, and predictive modeling to study data. The BLS projects a 25% growth in these jobs between 2020 and 2030, with about 10,200 openings on average each year.

Median Annual Salary

Market Research Analyst

Market research analysts monitor and gather data, and forecast marketing and sales trends. They interpret data using charts, graphs, infographics, and other visual aids to present their research results. The BLS projects jobs for these professionals to grow 22% between 2020 and 2030, with an average of about 96,000 openings each year.

Median Annual Salary

What Are the Benefits of a Data Analytics Certification?

Certification in data analytics prepares students with skills in coding and digital technologies. It can also boost their resumes. Data analytics bootcamps typically include practical projects that give students material for their portfolios. The programs also provide career services and introduce graduates to industry contacts.

Additionally, a certification can expand a professional's skills and knowledge resulting in more career options and higher salaries. According to Payscale, SQL and statistical analysis skills may lead to higher pay for data analytics jobs.

Frequently Asked Questions About Learning Data Analytics

Is data analytics easy to learn?

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Learning new skills takes time and commitment. Data analytics involves learning coding languages and working with data to answer questions. You may find it easier to learn data analytics if you already have experience with digital tools or computer programming.

Additionally, some bootcamps require previous education. Learners who are new to data analysis can start with a foundational program covering the basics. You can build a portfolio as you learn about data types, visualization, structures, and methods.

Where can I learn data analytics for free?

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Learners can find free data analytics courses through big tech companies, including Microsoft and Amazon Web Services. For example, Microsoft offers free courses and a learning path to prepare graduates for the Microsoft data analyst certification. Similarly, AWS offers free self-paced courses that cover topics including data collecting, processing, analyzing, and presenting data.

Coursera and LinkedIn also offer free introductory courses. However, learners must pay a monthly subscription fee for any substantial certificate courses. Coding bootcamps also often provide free prep courses so that students can go over the basics. Learners can also access a free apprenticeship program in data analytics through COOP. In this 200-hour program, learners sharpen technical skills, build connections through networking, and apply for jobs.

What is the best way to learn data analytics?

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Start by taking data analysis foundation courses and brush up on your Excel skills. It's also important to have an understanding of statistics and linear algebra. As you learn to apply theories to real-world data, opt for courses that include hands-on projects and assignments.

The best way to learn data analytics for free is to practice. Build a portfolio as you learn. Pick a topic and dig into the data. Then create projects that demonstrate your skills, such as a customer database or digital tools to visualize big data.

Feature Image: Shannon Fagan / Stone / Getty Images