How to Become an Investment Analyst

Investment analyst at computer during work
Investment analyst at computer during work

Do you enjoy performing analytical work and interacting with others? If so, you may want to consider a career as an investment analyst.

Investment analysts guide financial decision-making for institutions and individuals. They work in numerous settings and have an excellent career outlook, including substantial earning and advancement potential.

Continue reading to learn what to expect from working as an investment analyst and the qualifications for becoming one.

What Does an Investment Analyst Do?

Investment analysts perform research tasks to develop investment strategies and help companies and clients make informed investment decisions. Sometimes, an investment analyst is called a financial analyst.

The responsibilities of an investment analyst fall into three general categories:

  • Data Collection: Investment analysts assess a variety of data, including information about investment programs, financial security performance, economic and business trends, current events, and financial statements.
  • Analysis, Modeling, and Valuation: After data collection, investment analysts use analysis, modeling, and valuation techniques to predict future investment performance and identify profitable options.
  • Communication: Investment analysts translate their insights and recommendations into research reports and present them to decision-makers, including portfolio managers, investment managers, and C-suite executives.

Investment analysts work in numerous settings. From investment banks and insurance companies to hedge funds and government agencies, various organizations need people who can produce actionable investment insights.

What is the Career Path for an Investment Analyst?

Investment analysts have many opportunities for career advancement. Typically, an investment analyst becomes a senior analyst and then an investment manager.

Senior investment analysts have leadership responsibilities. They have more contact with managers, executives, and clients and supervise entry-level investment analysts.

The career path for a senior analyst can involve becoming a portfolio or fund manager. These roles are responsible for managing investment portfolios. Investment banking positions are also options.

What is the Job Outlook for Investment Analysts?

Investment analysts have bright employment prospects and high earning potential.

Between 2022 and 2032, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 8% employment growth for investment analysts. That figure is almost three times higher than the average for all jobs.

Technological improvements are one reason for the high demand. According to the BLS, new technologies have enabled investment analysts to develop higher-quality analyses, helping businesses manage their finances, investment strategies, and offerings.

Investment analyst salaries can be lucrative but depend on the industry and location. The average investment analyst salary is $108,790. The highest average salary is in the information services industry, where investment analysts earn an average of $148,040.

The five top-paying states are primarily on the coasts and pay an average salary of:

  • New York: $140,880
  • Wyoming: $129,420
  • New Jersey: $127,090
  • Alaska: $117,030
  • California: $116,480

What Are the Qualifications for Becoming an Investment Analyst?

Investment analysts need to develop a distinct skillset and have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. Some employers prefer graduate-level education and industry certifications.

Investment Analyst Skills

Investment analysts must have both technical and interpersonal skills. They not only collect and analyze data but also communicate their findings to influence decision-making.

According to the BLS, essential qualifications include:

  • Mathematical Skills: Using mathematics and statistical techniques to estimate the value of financial securities, such as linear regression.
  • Analytical Skills: Evaluating information to draw accurate, relevant conclusions.
  • Technology Skills: Using software and tools for analysis and forecasting, including R, SAS, S-Plus, and Python.
  • Relational Skills: Explaining insights and recommendations clearly and developing trusted partnerships with company leaders and clients.

Investment Analyst Education

Most entry-level investment analyst jobs require a bachelor’s degree with a major in a quantitative focus, including economics, finance, mathematics, or statistics.

The BLS suggests earning a master’s degree to improve advancement opportunities. That’s because many senior analyst positions and investment management roles require graduate-level education.

There are multiple master’s degrees that will prepare you to enter and advance in investment analysis, including:

  • Master’s in applied statistics
  • Master’s in business administration (MBA)
  • Master’s in finance

Graduate education can prepare both entry-level and experienced investment analysts for career growth.

Investment Analyst Certifications

Industry credentials aren’t necessary for becoming an investment analyst. However, employers may prefer candidates who have specific licenses and certifications or are open to obtaining them. Many employers will cover the cost.

Credentials relevant to the investment analyst role include:

Why Become an Investment Analyst through a Master’s in Applied Statistics Program?

A master’s in applied statistics is a highly specialized graduate degree. If you have a strong background in mathematics, you can earn a master’s in applied statistics to become an investment analyst.

Applied statistics is analyzing data to help define and determine business needs. A master’s in applied statistics program will equip you with knowledge of sophisticated procedures for financial analysis and the theories that support it.

Candidates learn the skills to:

  • Collect, prepare, and analyze data for the most pertinent results.
  • Interpret, visualize, and communicate findings in a compelling way.
  • Present outcomes to leadership.

Unlike MBA and master’s in finance programs, several master’s in applied statistics programs don’t require professional experience or GRE/GMAT scores for admission. So candidates can start and finish their degree sooner.

Read a complete guide to earning a master’s in applied statistics.

The Benefits of Earning Your Master’s in Applied Statistics with Michigan Technological University

A graduate degree from Michigan Tech will set you apart in a competitive job market. The Master’s in Applied Statistics online program will prepare you with specialized quantitative and leadership skills to meet the growing demand for investment analysts.

MTU’s Master’s in Applied Statistics online program builds proficiency in advanced statistical methods. Students use industry-standard programming and technology and real datasets to solve relevant challenges. They also develop the skills to communicate their insights with confidence and clarity.

Additional benefits of the program are:

  • 100% online coursework, providing flexibility to busy professionals.
  • An accelerated format that allows students to graduate in as few as five semesters and start their investment analyst careers sooner.
  • The opportunity to earn a second qualification after completing three courses, the online Graduate Certificate in Applied Statistics.

Request more information about the Master’s in Applied Statistics online program, and start your journey to becoming an investment analyst today.