The Path Toward Becoming a Market Research Analyst
Unlike astronauts and veterinarians, no kid tells everyone that he wants to be a “market research analyst” when he grows up. But a certain type of kid–calculator in pocket; constantly questioning everything he sees–is a natural fit for the growing and ever-changing profession.
Market research analysts don’t always follow the same career path, which offers a degree of personalization depending on each job seeker. Some may love the hard number aspect of market research, and follow a math-heavy career path. Others might be more interested in the psychology aspect, and seek to first understand the consumer before analyzing the data.
A number of avenues to the same career means market research analysis may be one of the most accessible, custom career choices. Hard to explain, easy to love: Here’s how most analysts get there.
Who Makes a Good Market Research Analyst?
Because the field is so customizable, there’s not really one perfect set of characteristics that make up a talented, intuitive, and precise market research analyst. In fact, it could be said that to be good at this job, you need two core traits: Analytical thinking and insatiable curiosity. When paired, these two characteristics come together to create an analyst who is not only dedicated to the results, but also dedicated to the method.
The educational requirements for a market research analyst vary. The only non-negotiable is a Bachelor’s degree in marketing, economics, market research, or related discipline. The major, however, is up to you. Most people hear the word “analyst” and automatically think math, statistics, and computer science, but some of the best market research analysts actually majored in a social science, such as psychology. Doing so gives their already-strong math skills a decidedly human boost, offering an incredible edge for deciphering consumer behavior.
Master’s degrees aren’t necessary unless you plan on pursuing market research to an executive capacity. Analysts can obtain their Professional Researcher Certification (PRC) by meeting specific criteria, as well as taking and passing the PRC exam. Here is a list of the best colleges for market research careers.
Salary and Job Outlook
It might not be as easily definable as “doctor,” or “teacher,” but market analysts score big benefits for thinking outside the typical career choices. As of 2013, the median income for an analyst was over $60K, with the top tier of professionals bringing in $114K per year. Salary depends heavily on a number of factors, including education, experience, and geographical location.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that market research analysts enjoy high opportunities for upward mobility and 41.2 percent 10-year job growth.
It might not be every kid’s initial dream, but market research caters to a number of personality types and strengths. Whether you’re totally type-A or you’re more interested in the emotional side of things, market research analysis might turn your childlike wonder of who people are and what they want into a dream career.