The definitive guide on how to hire a data analyst


In this era of burgeoning data, those businesses and organizations that harness the power inherent in big data have a clear-cut advantage over those that do not. This makes skilled data analysts among the most sought-after professionals globally and across all sectors. Whether it is by uncovering market trends, informing investment decisions, predicting customer behavior, assessing risk, or maximizing profit—data analysts benefit businesses by translating data into easily understood and actionable information. Data analytics is also revolutionizing healthcare, by helping to improve diagnostic techniques, augment disease surveillance, develop wearable technologies, and improve patient outcomes.

What does a data analyst do?

Data analysts combine skills in information technology, statistics, and their chosen field of application (e.g., business, finance, healthcare, or marketing) to answer questions and find solutions to problems. These experts discover patterns in data so as to identify trends and make predictions.

Depending on their experience and skills, the tasks data analysts perform can include the following:

  • Working in a multidisciplinary team to determine organizational goals (what are the key questions and problems they need to solve with data?)
  • Collecting and collating data from various sources
  • Mining and cleaning the data
  • Analyzing and interpreting results using statistical tools and techniques
  • Uncovering trends, correlations, and patterns
  • Data visualization with appropriate graphs and charts, etc.
  • Data modeling and predictive analytics
  • Reporting findings to management and key stakeholders
  • Data warehousing
  • Creating dashboards
  • Developing key performance indicators
  • Using various tools such as Excel, Hadoop, Google Analytics, Jupyter Notebook, SAS, XML, and Github
  • Programming (e.g., in R, Oracle, MATLAB, and Python)
  • Designing and maintaining relational and non-relational databases (e.g., Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle Database, DBaaS, MongoDB, Cassandra, and Redis)
  • Using business intelligence software and tools (e.g., Tableau, QlikView, MicroStrategy, SAS Business Intelligence, and Crystal Reports)
  • Using machine learning technologies such as neural networks and natural language processing (although some argue this is typically more of a Data Scientist role!)

Data analysts will often have a bachelor’s degree with an emphasis on analytical and statistical skills, e.g., mathematics, statistics, finance, information management, economics, or an allied discipline. However, a degree is not a strict requirement, with demonstrated skill being of uppermost consideration by many employers. Certain roles and responsibilities require in-service training or further studies such as a master’s degree in data analytics or big data management.

Why do you need a data analyst?

Data analysts work in the finance, technology, healthcare, and marketing sectors. For example, banks, investment firms, credit bureaus, insurance companies, tech companies, consultancies, and pharmaceutical companies all hire data analysts. There are also data analysts in manufacturing, retail, and government.

The job titles of data analyst experts vary and often reflect their chosen area of application. For example, their job titles include Senior Data Analyst, Commercial Analyst, Business Data Analyst, Data Governance Analyst, Senior Data Warehouse Analyst, Marketing Data Analyst, and Clinical Data Analyst.

You may need to work with a data analyst for analyzing large and complex data, statistical review of a research paper, analyzing genomic data or more. But how do you know what to look for and how can you choose the best candidate for the job? Here are some tips for hiring top data analysts on Kolabtree.

How much does it cost to hire a freelance data analyst?

According to Glassdoor, the national average salary for a Data Analyst is $62,453 in United States. However this is a lot more than a startup or SMB can afford. Some companies may need to work with analysts only for one-off projects and may not need full-time, in-house staff.

Most data analysts typically charge between USD 40 and USD 100 for simple analysis, cleaning and mining tasks. However, for more complex tasks involving predictive modeling, machine learning, algorithm design and neural networks, the hourly rate may be even above USD 150-200. Data from Kolabtree shows that companies can save more than 30% by working with a freelance data analyst. 

How do you write an effective job post to hire a freelance data analyst?

Writing a job post for a data analyst is easy if you know exactly what you expect as the outcome. For example, you may want insights, a research report, a statistical model or an algorithm. Here are five major things to keep in mind while creating a job post for a data analyst.

  • Subject matter expertise or skills required: e.g., DNA sequencing, or data analysis techniques for detecting fraud
  • What the project area is: e.g., reducing fraudulent transactions in an online marketplace
  • What the project entails: e.g., consulting regarding the best techniques to use
  • What the deliverables are: Be specific about what you need the outputs to be
  • Duration of the project: Provide an estimate of how many hours work you will need per week/by when you need the project to be completed
  • By when you need to hire: Having more leeway on this will give you more time to choose the best expert for your needs
  • Your budget: Per hour or fixed fee

On Kolabtree you can choose from different data science specialists available such as:

Health data analysts
Medical statisticians
Data visualization experts
DNA-sequencing data analysts
Data mining experts
Data processing experts
Clinical trial consultants 

Kolabtree also allows you to sign custom NDAs and contracts with freelancers before you start the project. Your job post could look like this:

Need a freelance data analyst to help with analyzing NGS genomic data and deriving insights. Budget is $5,000 but I am open to discussing and negotiating with freelancers. I need someone to get started asap and finish the project in 2 weeks. Will disclose further details once an NDA is signed.

That’s it, you’re good to go! Ready to hire a data analyst? Post your project on Kolabtree and get quotes from freelance data analysts for free.


Kolabtree helps businesses worldwide hire experts on demand. Our freelancers have helped companies publish research papers, develop products, analyze data, and more. It only takes a minute to tell us what you need done and get quotes from experts for free.


About Author

Ramya Sriram manages digital content and communications at Kolabtree (, the world's largest freelancing platform for scientists. She has over a decade of experience in publishing, advertising and digital content creation.

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