Data Analyst internships offer great opportunities for undergraduate students fascinated by data science. This way, they will be able to learn more about this interesting field and gather valuable experience related to every aspect of data science.

Data Analysts generally perform data analysis, research, and report-writing for various projects. They conduct financial and economic studies for a variety of companies, from utility providers, banks, and accountancy firms to practically all corporations.

Applicants for Data Analyst Internships may be enroled in university programs like Finance, Engineering, Economics, or any other related field of study. Data Analysts generally must have well-rounded analytical and communication skills, both oral and written, pay attention to detail, have good mathematical and problem-solving skills as well as optimal computer and interpersonal capabilities.

Now, what do data analysts do and in what way differs their work from that of business analysts or data scientists? We can often see that these terms are used interchangeably. Well, in general, we can say that a business analyst is the least technical of all, while a data analyst performs more technical tasks and a data scientist is the most technical position among the three. At bigger companies and corporations, data analysts and business analysts typically perform different roles while at smaller companies, these professional lines may become slightly blurred.

A business analyst generally focuses on the analysis of existing data, usually directly related to a specific business case or question. A business analyst generally examines data in order to identify historical trends and will present his findings and results to decision-makers. These professionals are, in general, not responsible for making predictions or building models in relation to the data. They mostly are using Excel and SQL, or visualization tools such as Tableau. For people looking for a career change, this professional track may also be a great option as long as you are tech-driven and math-oriented.

While data analysts are also analyzing existing data to deal with or answer business issues, they usually collaborate with data scientists on more strategic data-related projects that often include and require some predictive modeling. Besides Excel, SQL and visualization tools, a data analyst is usually also knowledgeable in scripting languages such as R or Python. You may also opt to get your degree through an accredited online program. Be aware, though, that to be successful at online learning, you must be able to study independently and be well-disciplined.

A data scientist needs to ask questions that will be answered by using data in order to improve the operations of a business and decide on which data to collect to be able to answer these questions. He will analyze data and build a model to answer these questions while prioritizing projects in order to maximize value. Data Analysts have a deep and broad understanding of the mathematical principles on which automated learning models are founded and possess the required programming skills for the implementation of these models and come up with insights and solutions using the data they collect.

What Companies Offer Data Analyst Internships?

Data analyst internships are usually offered by growth-stage startups that employ 50 to a few hundred and a few larger high-tech companies work with analytics teams at various departments, for example, sales operations, marketing, and HR, and hire interns to support these specific teams. There are also companies that are offering data or analytics services and/or products as their core business and companies that offer data-centric approaches and services to industries and businesses that not data-intensive by nature.

Data Analysts must possess excellent problem-solving and communication skills as well as a business-orientated attitude. They must be proficient in Excel and SQL is generally preferred or required. For more technical positions, data analysts need to command some programming knowledge, for example, R or Python, and experience with visualization tools such as Tableau may be very helpful as well.

The Interview Procedure

Interview processes vary from company to company but, in general, it starts with an interview over the phone with an analytics team manager or a data analyst. These interviews are usually behavioral but also may include a few more data-focused questions like “how would you answer this or that question using data.” They usually ask you about your coursework, your earlier work experience and/or side projects, and your interest in analytics in general, in the company specifically, and your interest in the particular function. In case you’re invited for an interview at the company’s headquarters, be sure to dress properly. If that may pose a problem, check out this article. 

These phone interviews may also include some hypothetical cases or situations where you will be asked to describe what approach or analysis you would use or what data you would use to answer a specific question. But keep in mind, you’ll get only one chance to make a first impression! So get familiar with some often-used analysis models such as linear regression, clustering, or logistic regression/classification, and try to understand what sort of problems these models apply to.

Generally, the next step will be several video or phone interviews with the company’s data analysts or managers that have a similar format as the initial phone interview. There are companies that will give some take-home assignments asked you, for example, to analyze sample data and to communicate results in order to test your programming and/or communication skills. Usually, this sort of assignment will take you only a few hours and may be relatively easy to complete if you use a tool like R, Excel, or Python.