The Step By Step Guide to Becoming a Successful Financial Analyst

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Published
Oct 17, 2018

Oct 17, 2018 • by Rebecca Smith

Did you know the average salary for a financial analyst is $113,085? Experts estimate a 10-year job growth trend of 10.9 percent. Now is a great time to land a financial analyst role.

If you lack an educational background in finance, you might be thinking about it twice. Even though the financial industry is competitive, it shouldn't make you shy away from making your dreams come true. Don't know how to become a financial analyst?

We have you covered. We'll discuss the financial analyst qualifications and process you should follow to earn your financial analyst role. Read on to learn more.

What Is a Financial Analyst?

Before discussing how to become a financial analyst, we'll go over the basics of this role. After all, you don't want to waste time and money working toward earning a job you won't enjoy doing.

If you decide to pursue a financial analyst role, you will analyze data to help customers and companies take financial decisions. You will use this data to analyze potential risks and create financial projections. Your advice will influence your client's investment decisions.

Your day to day will change as you become an experienced analyst. During the first few years, you can expect to spend your time staying current on the latest financial news as well as collecting and inputting data on financial models. Also, a junior analyst may consider studying toward earning licenses, such as CFA and Series 7 among others.

After years of experience, you may become a senior analyst. In this role, you will offer financial advice to clients and businesses. Your insight will help them achieve their goals and make smarter business decisions.

How to Become a Financial Analyst?

The financial analyst role may seem unattainable. Yet, earning your financial analyst qualifications isn't as difficult as you may think. It will all come down to your commitment and passion for finance.

Becoming a successful analyst won't happen overnight. But if you develop and execute the right plan, you will accomplish it in no time. Here is your complete step by step guide to securing your dream job today:

1. Start with the Basics

Before deciding to pursue any of the financial analyst qualifications, you must understand what the role is all about. Does it require long hours?

What will be my day to day responsibilities? Understanding the basics about your possible career path is the first step toward success.

2. Consider What Education You Need for Your Career Path

The minimum educational requirements to become an analyst is having a Bachelor's Degree. Employers prefer candidates with a degree in business administration, economics, statistics, or even accounting. It may come as a surprise, but an accounting degree isn't only useful to become an accountant.

You may consider earning a Masters Degree in finance or business administration. Even though this degree isn't required, it can help you obtain your job faster.

3. Earn Your Degrees

After deciding your educational path, search for an institution that offers the right education for you. Does the degree require courses that help you in your career path?

These are some of the questions that may help you find the right educational institution for you. It's recommended that you take courses related to your planned career path. An example is taking courses to learn about Stock Market Analysis when you plan to work in investment banking.

4. Get a Job

If you were lucky enough to work as an intern at one of your preferred potential employers before graduating, they may offer you a position in the organization. Even if they don't offer you a job, your experience at that employer will help you secure one.

Getting a job might not be easy in today's competitive financial industry. If you aren't able to find a position right out of college, you may consider becoming an intern at a firm while you apply for a position.

Don't worry about training, employers provide in-house training to bring you up to speed.

5. Earn Any Required Licenses

Most analysts are required to earn licenses like the Series 7 for working on the selling side. Don't worry about earning these licenses before being hired.

The only way to obtain most of these licenses is through employer sponsorship. Most employers provide the training and courses to earn your licenses.

6. Consider Obtaining Any Additional Certifications or Degrees

Besides the licenses required for your analyst role, you may consider obtaining additional certifications, such as Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). These certifications may help you land management roles faster.

Also, you may consider earning a Masters Degree to develop your career. Some analysts choose to earn this degree after they earn experience in their financial analyst role.

7. Work Toward Career Growth

Rome wasn't built and neither will your career. After securing the right job, you should focus on what you want to achieve as an analyst. Is it becoming a Portfolio Manager?

Do you see yourself working in Risk Assessment? Maybe your ideal career path is toward becoming a Risk Manager. These are some of the questions that can help you plan your career path.

Your network connections will be essential to your successful career growth. You must use your roles to develop relationships with clients, potential employers, among other industry players. Having a great network will come in handy when you decide to take steps in your career.

Is Being a Financial Analyst Hard?

Working as an analyst may be challenging, but the rewards are endless. Are you looking for a career to help people achieve their dreams?

If the answer is yes, becoming a financial analyst is right for you. Before going for it, you should learn all about the financial analyst role. What will your employer expect from you?

Do you see yourself working for an accounting firm or a bank? Even though both employers may require the same degrees, their licensing and roles requirements may differ.

You should consider these requirements during your educational path. Your success will depend on your career path planning and hard work.

Want more tips on your career path toward success? Check out our blog for more insightful articles!