How to Become a Research Analyst

How to Become a Research Analyst

How to Become a Research Analyst
Prashant Thapa

A Research Analyst's primary role involves investigating, assessing, and interpreting data about markets, operations, finance, economics, and customer behavior within their respective industry. 

While their expertise is applicable across various sectors, Research Analysts are most commonly found in the financial services industry, including insurance companies, banks, finance firms, and government agencies. They are also frequently employed by healthcare providers, pharmaceutical companies, marketing agencies, and manufacturing companies.

Research Analysts often specialize in specific areas such as market research, operations, economics, finance, or equity analysis, although other specializations exist. They can pursue full-time positions onsite or remotely, with the specific responsibilities varying depending on their industry. 

Nevertheless, typical tasks performed by most Research Analysts include analyzing data results, conducting variance analyses, identifying and assessing trends, offering recommendations for enhancements, predicting future trends, pinpointing process improvements and reporting system inefficiencies, utilizing Excel for data organization and analysis, and creating visual data representations for presentations.

What Skills Should Research Analysts Have?

Above all, Research Analysts must excel in researching and analyzing data, which they must adeptly convey to their superiors. Effective written and verbal communication skills are paramount. They should possess proficiency in data modeling and visualization, with a mastery of Microsoft Office applications, including Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint. A Research Analyst's role entails synthesizing vast information into easily digestible insights for their managers.

Given the diversity of industries and specializations, Research Analysts are required to invest time in becoming industry experts. Demonstrating appropriate industry etiquette is particularly critical for securing and maintaining employment, especially in sectors like finance and pharmaceuticals. Curiosity is a fundamental trait for Research Analysts. They should exhibit strong organizational skills and meticulous attention to detail in handling spreadsheets or composing emails.

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Research Analyst Salaries

The average annual salary for a Research Analyst in the United States, as reported on, is $61,985. Salary levels for Research Analysts can differ significantly across various regions within the United States. Below, you can find specific Research Analyst salary figures for certain U.S. regions compared to the national average.


Average Income


U.S. Average



New York City



Washington, D.C.



Los Angeles, CA



Chicago, IL



Orange County, CA



Alexandria, VA



U.S. Average



Fairfax, VA



Dallas, TX



Houston, TX



Miami, FL



Typical Qualifications to Become a Research Analyst

Many Research Analyst roles typically require a two-year or four-year degree in mathematics or finance. Additionally, individuals can enhance their qualifications by pursuing professional certifications such as the Financial Modeling and Valuation Analyst (FMVA) certification or the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification to gain a competitive advantage. For those who lack relevant experience or have studied in an unrelated field, pursuing an MBA is often the most effective pathway to enter this field.

Tips to Become a Research Analyst

Research Analysts may encounter a competitive job market, but they can kickstart their job search by leveraging LinkedIn. Here's a step-by-step approach:

  • Utilize LinkedIn: Use LinkedIn's job search function to identify open positions that align with your specialization.
  • Tap into Your Network: Check if you have any connections, whether they're first, second, or third-level contacts, at the companies of interest.
  • Connect and Engage: Reach out to individuals at these companies and fellow Research Analysts on the platform. Establish connections with a personalized message expressing your interest.
  • Pose Relevant Questions: Engage in meaningful conversations by asking questions such as:
    • Inquire about their daily job responsibilities.
    • Seek their impressions of the company's work environment and culture.
    • Request insights into their overall job satisfaction.
    • Inquire about their knowledge of the company's interview process.
  • Build Authentic Connections: Prioritize building genuine relationships rather than just seeking information. Developing authentic connections can enhance the visibility of your application and provide you with valuable insider insights to better prepare for interviews.

What Job Titles Would a Research Analyst Hold?

Job titles within the Research Analyst field typically include "Research Analyst," sometimes accompanied by specific industry or specialization indicators. Research Analysts often find higher salary ranges in the financial and marketing sectors.

Potential job titles for Research Analysts include:

  • Research Analyst
  • Market Research Analyst
  • Operations Research Analyst
  • Economic Research Analyst
  • Financial Analyst
  • Equity Research Analyst

Related Careers

Research Analysts looking to transition into more financially rewarding careers may consider pursuing roles as Investment Analysts or Financial Analysts. Investment Analysts assess financial and investment data, while Research Analysts focus on researching, analyzing, and interpreting data. Transitioning into a Financial Analyst role is often more accessible than becoming an Investment Analyst, as Financial Analysts engage with CEOs, CFOs, and other executives.

Additionally, Research Analysts can explore opportunities in Investment Banking, where professionals provide advice and support for mergers, acquisitions, and investments in capital markets. This transition can be facilitated by first becoming an Investment Analyst.

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While entering the competitive field of Private Equity Associates may be challenging, Research Analysts can aspire to this career path. Private Equity Associates are involved in end-to-end project management, analyzing data, identifying potential investment prospects for their firm, and securing capital from external investors.

Usually, these roles require bachelor's degrees in finance, mathematics, statistics, economics, or accounting. Earning certifications such as the Financial Modeling and Valuation Analyst (FMVA) or Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) can significantly improve your prospects for success.

It's important to note that among finance roles, Financial Analysts typically earn the lowest salaries, while Research Analysts and Investment Analysts offer comparable opportunities for career advancement. Private Equity Associates occupy the top tier of the financial hierarchy, enjoy six-figure salaries, and have recently seen substantial increases in compensation rates.

Job Title

Average Salary


Private Equity Associate



Investment Analyst



Financial Analyst



Investment Banker



Research Analyst




Q1: What is a Research Analyst?

A Research Analyst gathers, analyzes, and interprets data to provide insights, make recommendations, and support decision-making in various fields, such as finance, market research, or academia.

Q2: What are the educational requirements to become a Research Analyst?

A bachelor's degree in a relevant field, such as finance, economics, statistics, or a related discipline, is the minimum requirement. However, many Research Analysts hold master's degrees or even PhD for advanced roles.

Q3: What skills are essential for a Research Analyst?

Key skills for a Research Analyst include strong analytical abilities, attention to detail, proficiency in data analysis tools (e.g., Excel, statistical software), critical thinking, and effective communication skills to convey findings.

Q4: Do I need any certifications to become a Research Analyst?

While only sometimes required, certifications like the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) or Financial Risk Manager (FRM) can enhance your qualifications and job prospects, especially in finance-related roles.

Q5: How do I gain practical experience as a Research Analyst?

Internships, co-op programs, or entry-level positions in research-related roles can provide valuable hands-on experience. Networking with professionals in the field and participating in research projects can also help.

Q6: What industries employ Research Analysts?

Research Analysts can work in various industries, including finance, healthcare, marketing, government, technology, and academia. The specific industry often determines the focus of their research.

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