Explore the multifaceted career of a financial analyst and learn about the diverse employment opportunities within this field. Understand the necessary hard and soft skills, the different career paths, and the potential job titles in the financial analysis sector.

Key Insights

  • Financial Analysts play a crucial role in identifying investment opportunities and analyzing the potential outcomes of business decisions. Their tasks include studying market trends, examining financial statements, and creating financial models for future performance predictions.
  • Core skills for Financial Analysts encompass a strong understanding of core financial principles, software, and programs, time management and multitasking capabilities, a strong foundation in data analytics, and clear verbal and non-verbal communication skills.
  • Depending on the job nature and employer requirements, Financial Analysts carry out different duties. They may find employment in securities industry, large corporations, government bodies, or nonprofit organizations, where they review financial data, create revenue expense projections, provide investment or budgeting recommendations, among other responsibilities.
  • No specific degree requirement is necessary to become a Financial Analyst. People can start off with internships or entry-level positions and gradually advance in their career by gaining real-world experience, pursuing advanced degrees, or enrolling in specialized certificate programs.
  • Financial Analysts can hold various job titles such as Securities Analysts, Portfolio Managers, Real Estate Analysts, Military Financial Officers, Actuaries, Environmental Accountants, and Entertainment Accountants, each with its own unique job responsibilities and required skillset.
  • Noble Desktop offers classes in financial modeling and analysis, including Financial Modeling Bootcamp and Financial Analyst Training Program, equipping students with the essential skills and knowledge needed to become a competent Financial Analyst.

The field of financial analytics is broad and encompasses a range of professions and job titles. Some professionals choose to work for start-up organizations, nonprofits, or small companies; others work for multi-million dollar corporations. Depending on your industry of focus, the tasks you will perform as a Financial Analyst may vary significantly. This article will explore what Financial Analysts do, the skills they rely on to complete tasks, and the range of career paths they may explore. Because companies of all sizes see the value in hiring those with a background in finance, those with analytics and technical training can pursue many career options. 

What is a Financial Analyst?

Financial Analysts study financial data and perform various research tasks to spot investment opportunities and analyze possible outcomes for business decisions. These professionals play an integral role in helping to create more informed investment strategies for their organization or its clients. To do so, Financial Analysts routinely perform tasks for their employer like studying current events and developments in the market, examining financial statements, and creating financial models that can anticipate future performance. They also may study macroeconomic trends or hone in on particular industries or sectors. Financial Analysts rely on their background in math, accounting, research, reporting, communication, critical thinking, and data analytics to perform these tasks.

Because of how valued they are by organizations, Financial Analysts often find employment with large corporations like insurance companies, security firms, investment banks, venture capital firms, or government agencies. They play an integral role in supporting an organization’s budgeting initiatives, as well as writing financial status reports and recommendations. Their process often involves steps such as collecting data, organizing information, performing data analysis on these numbers, providing projections or forecasts, offering recommendations, creating Excel models, presenting their findings to organizational stakeholders, and writing reports or dashboards to convey suggestions. Depending on their professional focus, Financial Analysts do extensive research on their organization’s buy-side and sell-side financial data. They often focus on either credit markets or equity markets.

Read more about what a Financial Analyst does.

Financial Analyst Skills

Although the specific skills you’ll need for financial analysis will likely depend on your industry focus and the requirements of your employer, some skills are common across financial industries and professions. The following are some of the most commonly sought-after hard and soft skills Financial Analysts need:

Read more about what skills you need to become a Financial Analyst.

Financial Analyst Career Path

Although all Financial Analyst jobs are different, these professionals typically create financial plans, projections and forecasts, and analytical reports based on their data findings. However, the specific duties of a Financial Analyst can vary significantly, depending on the type of finance job, as well as the employer’s requirements.

Some Financial Analysts are employed in the securities industry, where their job involves analyzing securities, bonds, or stocks for organizations such as money management firms, banks, or brokerages. These professionals draw from a specialized skill set, such as their knowledge of tech stock or Canadian corporate bonds. Some Financial Analysts choose to work for large corporations in positions where they review the organization’s financial data to create revenue expense projections and financial plans, as well as provide recommendations to executives on investments or budgeting. Government bodies or nonprofit organizations employ other Financial Analysts.

Because there’s no degree requirement necessary to pursue a career in finance, you can still become a Financial Analyst without a degree. Although those who have a bachelor’s may be more likely to find employment in this field, internships and entry-level positions are currently available at many organizations.

Those who have just graduated with a bachelor’s degree in finance or a related field may be interested in exploring junior positions in which a Senior Analyst guides them. After gaining several years of real-world experience, they can then choose to continue in their current job, go to graduate school to pursue an advanced degree, or enroll in a certificate program with industry-specific training. Even though Junior Analysts may be able to advance in their assigned position, progressing to roles with more responsibility often entails further education, such as through an MBA or a master’s in finance. Most Senior Financial Analysts have pursued secondary education to better understand and serve their organization’s financial structure and needs. Senior Financial Analysts, too, can progress into more advanced positions. Those working in the securities industry can pursue careers such as Fund Managers or Portfolio Managers, which involves managing a team of Senior Analysts. They may also be qualified for roles as Chief Investment Officers or Chief Financial Officers, in which they handle an organization’s financial activity.

Another career path those with a background in finance may wish to consider is freelance financial analysis. Many freelance jobs are available in finance, such as Freelance Financial Writer, Financial Planner, Accountant, or Analyst. These third-party Analysts have the flexibility of being able to work from any location and to help with almost any financial project for an organization.

Read more about the typical Financial Analyst career path.

Financial Analyst Job Titles

Financial Analysts hold a range of job titles. Some are fairly well-known, whereas others are less common. The following sections will explore some popular Financial Analyst job titles, as well as some lesser-known occupations, as well as the skills needed to work in these professions.

Securities Analyst

Securities Analysts evaluate different companies and industries to provide research and valuation reports. They also offer to buy, hold, or sell recommendations to clients. This can involve following how one or more stocks, industries, sectors, or economies are performing. Securities Analysts also perform technical analysis of different market securities to provide institutional or retail investors with guidance on investing. These professionals use skills like fundamental analysis and technical analysis to offer these recommendations.

Portfolio Manager

A Portfolio Manager creates and implements investment processes and strategies designed to help clients meet their financial goals. This involves managing portfolios and deciding which investments to sell and when. When working at the mid-senior level, Portfolio Managers may manage a team of investment professionals or work on a substantial assets portfolio. Private wealth management firms also rely on Portfolio Managers to work with individual clients and support client-facing advisors. Those who hold more senior positions within their organization may report to the CIO.

Real Estate Analyst

Real Estate Analysts perform financial analysis pertaining to acquisitions, financing, leasing, or marketing properties. They provide real estate companies and firms with advice on current market trends and economic conditions. These professionals also evaluate the financial opportunities of purchasing real estate. This requires gathering financial data from various sources and combining it into a real estate portfolio, then presenting it in an easy-to-understand manner.

Military Finance Officer

Not only are financial professionals in demand in the private sector, but they serve an integral role in the U.S. military. Military Financial Officers work on a range of tasks, like budgeting, forecasting, and contract management. Although the pay isn’t as good as in other financial positions, Military Financial Officers receive great benefits and may also have help paying for their education.


Actuaries rely on their statistics and math skills to calculate the likelihood of certain events, such as property damage or car accidents, and the risk involved. This involves figuring out the cost of each event, so insurance policies can be designed to account for them. Actuaries are commonly employed by insurance companies but may also work for banks, the government, or investment firms. These professionals make approximately $100,000 a year.

Environmental Accountant

More organizations than ever are interested in green careers pertaining to a company’s environmental impact and resource management. Environmental Accountants, also known as Green Accountants, advise clients on the potential environmental impact of various decisions and how this may affect the organization’s overall financial status. These professionals may be asked to gather information pertaining to pollution controls or material flows, then use their findings to create reports that can be shared with external stakeholders like regulators or investors. Environmental Accountants work at government agencies, nonprofits, or large corporations.

Entertainment Accountant

Accountants in the entertainment industry hold many titles, such as Production Accountants or Showbiz Accountants. These individuals typically provide a number of services for their employer, which may be an entertainment firm or television production company. Entertainment Accountants manage the finances needed to complete a TV or film project. This job is well-suited for those who have a passion for the entertainment industry and enjoy a job that changes constantly as one project is completed and another begins.

Why Become a Financial Analyst?

Financial Analysts play an integral role in guiding their company’s investment decisions. Sound investments are essential for ensuring economic stability and facilitating continued organizational growth. These professionals provide services and insights that impact a range of stakeholders, from large corporations interested in becoming more profitable to couples planning for retirement. There are many benefits to pursuing a career as a Financial Analyst. High pay rates are the first benefit. Financial Analysts typically receive competitive salaries for their efforts. In 2021, the median pay for Financial Analysts was $96,000. This field also has a nine percent growth rate expected over the next decade, which is above the national average for other professions.

Not only do Financial Analysts enjoy high pay for their contributions to their organizations, but they often have travel opportunities. Some organizations’ Financial Analysts travel the world, studying the culture, political condition, regulations, and languages in different countries to better understand the factors that impact investment decisions. Career opportunities are available in many industries, as well as locations for Financial Analysts. These professionals can explore positions in securities firms, insurance companies, banks, pension offices, financial risk management consulting firms, or in-house accounting teams, among others. Career advancement is also another benefit of working as a Financial Analyst. The more experience you gain within an organization, you likely will have options to progress from Junior Analyst to Associate Analyst or even Senior Analyst. 

Another reason a career as a Financial Analyst is a good option is that it offers stable industry growth. Those who enter college must be prepared to eventually search for careers in different market conditions than when they began their study. Although most fields are affected to some extent by market fluctuations, the finance sector typically experiences stable growth, even during periods of rapid economic change. In addition, new financial products are created every day, as well as new investment opportunities. This means new opportunities for Financial Analysts are always available.

Read more about whether Financial Analyst is a good career.

Learn the Skills to Become a Financial Analyst at Noble Desktop

Noble Desktop, an educational provider located in New York City, offers a range of classes devoted to financial modeling and analysis. Financial Modeling Bootcamp is a hands-on, 18-hour course that teaches students fundamental financial concepts, such as corporate valuation, accounting, and finance. Participants in this small class create their own discounted cash flow using Microsoft Excel. Over three days, expert instructors also help students develop a comprehensive financial model for an actual company. As a prerequisite to this bootcamp, students should have intermediate Excel proficiency.

Noble also has a Financial Analyst Training Program that provides expert instruction on timely corporate and financial concepts, such as making a full valuation model. Those enrolled in this intensive program receive instruction on fundamental Excel skills, such as using shortcuts and PivotTables. Advanced Excel techniques are also covered in this 30-hour program, like Goal Seek and cash flow projection tools. All learners also receive instruction on creating a three-statement financial model for a public restaurant company.

In addition to the Financial Modeling Bootcamp and Financial Analyst Training Program, Noble Desktop also has in-person and live online financial modeling training courses. The

Excel Bootcamp offers 18 hours of instruction on core business Excel skills like working with VLOOKUP, INDEX, MATCH, and What-If Analysis for Goal Seek. FinTech courses are also available, like Algorithmic Trading with Python, Python for Data Science Bootcamp, and FinTech Bootcamp. This course provides students with hands-on training from expert instructors in FinTech skills like working with Python and SQL for data analysis, creating machine learning models, and working with different data types like integers, floats, and strings. All students have the option of a free course retake for up to one year, as well as one-on-one mentoring.