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How Do I Become a Product Analyst?

By Carol Francois
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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There are four steps required to become a product analyst: post-secondary training, related work experience, software skills, and completing the job interview process. A product analyst spends the majority of his day working with data analysis software. They are responsible for determining the potential sales and profitability of a product, monitoring its performance, defining strategies to improve performance, and creating reports for management.

People who have an analytical thought process, enjoy working independently, and are comfortable exploring multiple scenarios find the greatest satisfaction in this type of work. Product analysts are expected to have good presentation and communication skills, as well as the ability to interact with people across a wide range of levels. Attention to detail, discipline, and focus are all essential for anyone who wants to become a product analyst.

The first step required to become a product analyst is to complete a post-secondary education program. There is no specific training program to become a product analyst. Instead, candidates often have degrees or diplomas in accounting, business, marketing, or a related field. Additional courses in business communication, computer software and analysis tools may also be helpful.

Related work experience includes product manager, marketing, or product development team member. All of these jobs require working with both consumers and product developers. When applying for your first job, look for internship or junior analyst positions. Although the salary may be less, you have a better chance of qualifying for this type of role and can gain valuable experience.

Analytical software has improved dramatically in the last ten years. As a result, there are several software products designed specifically to analyze a product through the entire life cycle. This process is quite unique, as the time span for a product is totally dependent upon consumer demand.

The software helps the analyst to determine the ideal markets, price points, and inventory levels. In addition, results from consumer focus groups can be incorporated into the data model, calculating the impact of potential changes to the product. Over time, all products are re-branded or changed to keep pace with modern tastes. The product itself may remain static, but the packaging and advertising strategy are changed to keep sales at a premium level.

When applying for a job as a product analyst, be sure to proofread your resume and cover letter, double-checking for any grammar or spelling mistakes. During the job interview process, the interviewer usually has a standard list of questions and is looking for complete, concise responses. Keep in mind that everything you say will be written down and reviewed. Think about your answers, stay calm, and focus on the skills you bring and the jobs requirements.

What Does a Product Analyst Do?

Simply put, a project analyst's job is to make sure that users are enjoying products. They use feedback data to determine how to make products more user-friendly and more appealing overall by analyzing what's working and what needs improvement. They also analyze which countries, age groups, and other identifying information seems to factor into how much a person enjoys a product.

What Do Product Analysts Do?

Product analysts have a wide range of duties and responsibilities to fulfill that include implementing new products, improving current products, and more. To do this successfully, product analysts must first gather data. They do this in a number of ways.

Inter-departmental Collaboration

Product analysts must collaborate with many departments in a company to be sure that everybody is on the same page when it is time to launch a new product. This means working with marketing to determine when and how to enter new sectors, collaborating with the sales team to ensure they are offering competitive pricing options, talking to the finance department to ensure the budget covers the development and launch of new products, and even meeting with the development team to suggest improvements.

Interviewing and Market Research

To create a product that customers want, the product analyst for a company must first talk to current and potential customers. This can be done in a wide variety of ways. Interviewing people is the most common way to gather information. If you've ever received a survey in your email inbox, then you've been asked to participate in a product analyst's research. Other types of interviews include usability tests, interviewing individual people, and conducting focus groups. A focus group is when a group of current or potential customers come together to try a new product and discuss what they like or don't like about it.

Interviewing is a type of market research, but there are other types as well. Often, it includes data analysis software, which is used to research trends in the market. This means projecting the cost of creating and promoting a product as well as estimating the potential profit the product will bring in. They also create reports about current products' performances and whether there are places to make improvements.

Product Analytics

Finally, product analysts don't only provide information on current or upcoming products for the company they work for but also analyze the products that the competition is putting out, how their products are being received on the market, and whether a different business can put out something similar but upgraded for better sales.

What Skills Does a Product Analyst Need?

The right skills are imperative if you want to be a successful product analyst. The required skills can be separated into core skills and advanced skills. Core skills are the most basic skills that are usually provided on job listings. They include the ability to conduct market research, strong verbal and written communication skills, critical thinking skills, and the ability to analyze complex data.

Some companies also look for product analysts who have advanced skills that include product management experience, a strong foundation in statistics, and advanced Standard Query Langauge (SQL) abilities. Most job listings also require potential employees to be proficient in software that includes Microsoft Office Suite, Peoplesoft applications, and Oracle.

How Much Does a Product Analyst Make?

In the United States, the average product analyst makes between $68,000 and $78,000 per year. That doesn't mean that you can't make more, though. The earnings for a product analyst greatly vary depending on which city the analyst works in and for which company. For example, a product analyst who lives and works in San Francisco may make an average of $121,000 per year. The job often also includes cash bonuses as well as insurance, paid vacation time, and more.

What Education Does a Product Analyst Need?

Technically, a product analyst does not need any formal education. However, most companies who are looking for a product analyst want the person they hire to have a bachelor's degree to begin working in the field. Most product analysts go to college to study finance, business, marketing, or a combination of the three. Economics and accounting are also common fields that product analysts have education in. Only about 15% of product analysts have a master's degree.

What Is a Product Analyst's Work Environment Like?

A product analyst typically works traditional business hours, although they may work overtime when facing deadlines for big product launches. Sometimes, product analysts have to travel to meet with clients. They can expect to work in comfortable office environments or conference rooms for most of their careers.

What Does an Product Analyst Do?

A product analyst is responsible for using market data to help companies create better marketing strategies for current and upcoming products. A product analyst must have a thorough understanding of the company's products and the value that they bring to customers. This helps them to determine the company's current and future needs.

Product analysts also often work with product reviews and ratings, as this helps them to see where the product can be improved and therefore provide more value to the customer. Metric analysis is also common because it allows the product analyst to improve products via small-, medium-, or large-scale projects.

Many product analysts work with other departments to better present a product. Other common tasks include inventory control, planning for new products, helping to create budgets, and more. Product analysts use special data analysis software to help determine the potential of a product for bringing in revenue and to monitor its performance once it is put on the market.

Product Analyst Salary

The average product analyst in the United States earns an annual salary of nearly $80,000. The large range of salaries for product analysts is $69,000 to $93,000. A lot of factors go into how much a product analyst is paid, including which company he or she works for, where that company is located, and more. In addition to an annual salary, many product analysts have benefits as well.

When deciding whether to take a job as a product analyst, consider whether the job provides medical benefits, options for saving for retirement, and paid time off. Other things you might consider are whether there is tuition reimbursement, childcare options, or maternity and paternity leave available. All of these factor into how robust your benefits package is and whether a job may be right for you.

Difference Between Product Analyst and Product Manager

Product analysts and product managers have very similar jobs, but there are a few key differences. As stated, a product analyst is responsible for analyzing market trends and analyzing a company's products to predict how profitable a product will be. Analysts collect data via market research polls and then recommend product changes, marketing plans, or other strategies. An analyst may also be involved in decisions involving the design, pricing, and marketing of a product.

A product manager works closely with the product analyst. While the analyst is responsible for determining whether a product is likely to be a marketing success, the product manager oversees the actual design creation, production of the product, and marketing plan. The product manager makes all final decisions about how a product is created and marketed. Product managers are all about strategic development and work closely with every department within a company. They even decide who the target audience is.

Duties of a Product Analyst

Product analysts fulfill a wide variety of duties that focus on things behind the scenes.

  • Competition – Product analysts monitor competing products and compare their own to determine the possibility of success.
  • Cost Projections – They create projected budgets for producing and distributing a product. They are also responsible for determining how to improve sales and create more profit.
  • Focus Groups – Product analysts gather people and create focus groups to interview the target audiences and determine how they feel about a product.
  • Market Research – In addition to focus groups, product analysts use market research software to help them compile data from the groups and determine market trends.
  • Product Performance – They keep track of a product's performance and suggest improvements when necessary.
  • Reports – Product analysts compile their findings into reports that they share with clients and shareholders.

Duties of a Product Manager

Product managers have duties that focus more on the consumers and how a product will make them happy.

  • Expectations – A product manager sets goals for profits and returns on investments.
  • Features – Product managers are responsible for prioritizing and developing product features that make the product more valuable and help it stand out from competitors.
  • Stakeholders – Product managers work closely with stakeholders by organizing pitches and communicating with them to gain support for the products.
  • Teams – They coordinate the various teams within a company to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that they are delegating tasks appropriately when creating a new product.
  • User Needs – Product managers are responsible for understanding what the target audience needs and ensuring the product fulfills those needs.

Vision – Product managers are the vision board of a new product, creating a cohesive idea that shows its value and place in the market. 

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