Research Analyst

The professional who develops investigative reports on other securities and assets for their companies or clients.

Author: Osman Ahmed
Osman Ahmed
Osman Ahmed
Investment Banking | Private Equity

Osman started his career as an investment banking analyst at Thomas Weisel Partners where he spent just over two years before moving into a growth equity investing role at Scale Venture Partners, focused on technology. He's currently a VP at KCK Group, the private equity arm of a middle eastern family office. Osman has a generalist industry focus on lower middle market growth equity and buyout transactions.

Osman holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of Southern California and a Master of Business Administration with concentrations in Finance, Entrepreneurship, and Economics from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Reviewed By: Patrick Curtis
Patrick Curtis
Patrick Curtis
Private Equity | Investment Banking

Prior to becoming our CEO & Founder at Wall Street Oasis, Patrick spent three years as a Private Equity Associate for Tailwind Capital in New York and two years as an Investment Banking Analyst at Rothschild.

Patrick has an MBA in Entrepreneurial Management from The Wharton School and a BA in Economics from Williams College.

Last Updated:March 18, 2024

What is a Research Analyst?

Research analysts develop investigative reports on other securities and assets for their companies or clients. They can also be known as securities, equity, investment, or rating analysts. They are responsible for researching, analyzing, and interpreting market data.

They also use data from operations, finance and accounting, economics, and customers. However, the analyst typically only deals with quantitative data.

There are primarily two types of equity analysts:

Both analysts have the same quantitative and analytical characteristics, but their responsibilities and day-to-day duties can differ slightly. 

To become a rating analyst, you need to earn a bachelor's degree in finance, marketing, statistics, business, or something related. Once you obtain a bachelors, you will usually move to an entry-level position for a consulting firm or an internal analyst group.

Someone who wants to be an equity analyst is going to need experience. Most people who want to reach that point will complete at least one internship while getting their bachelor's degree. Most of the internships given are met during their junior year of college.

There are many different analysts: research, financial, investment banking, and risk analysts. All of these positions are different and fulfill specific roles in their firms. For example, an investment banking analyst may work on M&A deals for their firm. 

Research analysts can make a wide range of different salaries based on their experience level. Also, in 2014, the ten-year job outlook was thirty percent. As a result, these analysts are typically one of the first entry-level positions filled at firms. 

The job demand for securities analysts is skyrocketing across the country. The level of growth is considerably higher than most other occupations across the U.S.

Key Takeaways

  • Research analysts, also known as securities, equity, investment, or rating analysts, are responsible for researching, analyzing, and interpreting market data. They primarily deal with quantitative data from various sources.
  • There are two main types of equity analysts - buy-side and sell-side analysts. They share quantitative and analytical skills but have different responsibilities and daily tasks.
  • To become a research analyst, a bachelor's degree in fields like finance, statistics, or business is typically required. Experience, often gained through internships, is valuable for aspiring equity analysts. Some may choose to pursue a master's degree for career advancement.
  • Research analysts need both technical and soft skills. Technical skills include research methods, statistics, database administration, and A/B testing. Soft skills like communication, client focus, logical reasoning, critical thinking, and attention to detail are also essential.
  • Salaries for research analysts can vary but generally range from $50,000 to $90,000, with higher pay for mid to senior-level positions. The job demand for research analysts is high, with a projected 19% growth between 2021 and 2031, driven by the increasing reliance on data in various industries, particularly in technology and finance.

What Does a Research Analyst Do?

These analysts are responsible for researching, analyzing, and interpreting market data. They also use data from operations, finance and accounting, economics, and customers. As a result, most analysts have quantitative characteristics and analytical personalities. 

These roles can be considered data crunching; the analyst gathers and analyzes working data to make their companies or customers save more money or become more efficient and profitable. Their job is to take in data and make it readable and understandable. 

Data is the bottom line factor in the role of these analysts. In 2019, the world created 41 zettabytes of data. The world could reach 175 zettabytes of data by 2025. 

Data research, analysis, and reporting are the foundation of companies now. For example, some of the highest-valued companies in the world are run off of data, such as Microsoft and google.

Analysts can evaluate and understand the data through statistical methods and software. Once they collect their data, they can analyze it through mathematical, statistical, and analytical models to find patterns and trends that may lead them to business opportunities. 

After they have analyzed the data and understand what it is telling them, they will combine all of the information into a report to make it understandable for management. This way, analysts can communicate with them to make future business decisions.

In most cases, the research analyst is an entry-level position; thus, they work as part of a team and differ from those presenting the information. So, when they are in meetings and conference calls, they do not say much, but the information they create does. 

Types of Research Analysts

There are primarily two types, there are buy-side and sell-side analysts, and their responsibilities slightly differ. The buy-side analyst usually works for a brokerage firm, and the sell-side research analyst usually works for an investment firm. 

When asset management (buy-side) hires rating analysts, they help the company make better business decisions by researching, analyzing, and communicating data to management. This data pertains typically to specific security they may invest in. 

Buy-side securities analysts usually work for large institutional investment firms such as hedge funds, mutual funds, or pension funds. Buy-side analysts are considered more professional, academic, and reputable when compared with sell-side research analysts. 

Being a buy-side analyst is all about being right and occasionally avoiding negatives. They also cover one sector, such as the industrial or technology sector. For sell-side analysts, it is common for funds to have multiple analysts for one industry. 

A sell-side analyst's job is to follow a few companies, most within the same sector. These analysts will provide reports on the companies, offer models that project the firm's financial results, and speak with customers or competitors. 

The sell-side analyst's job is to provide research and reports on companies, financial estimates, and price targets. Many analysts will combine their estimates and price targets into one, calling it a consensus estimate. Sell-side analysts provide their reports to investment institutions. 

The analysts will report their research results and what they can conclude. Most of the results they will find are in large clumps of data that most people cannot read. When transitioning it into a presentation, they will add a buy, sell, or hold recommendation. 

Buy-side and sell-side do a lot of the same work; however, the sell-side will sell the research and reports made. That said, the sell side could see a decrease in demand since the buy and sell sides do the same work. 

Research Analyst Qualifications

Most analysts will need a minimum of a bachelor's degree even to be considered for a job. Most employers like their analysts to have a bachelor's degree in statistics, mathematics, or a related discipline. Most entry-level positions do not require a master's degree.

Here is a list of acceptable degrees:

  • Mathematics 
  • Statistics 
  • Business administration 
  • Finance 
  • Data Analytics

Most entry-level analyst positions do not need much experience, but some mid to senior-level positions may require a minimum of two to four years of experience. In addition, many students complete internships throughout college, which helps them land their first job. 

Once they have completed their bachelor's and worked for a few years to gain experience, they may consider returning to school to complete a master's degree in statistics or mathematics. This will help an analyst get better positions within their companies. 

Other degrees that show future employers that you understand the field are data science, data analytics, and computer science. Many analysts work with computers for most of their days, so understanding how computers work, and applications work may be helpful.

There are a few reasons employers are okay with if an analyst does not have prior experience. First, employers can teach the analyst how they want their jobs completed. Also, although analysts may not have much experience, they still might have valuable skills.

What Skills/Personality Do You Need?

There are primarily two groups of skills you need to become a securities analyst. Technical skills are those that can be required for a specific job. Soft skills are those that travel from job to job. 

For physicians, a few technical skills would be prescribing medication correctly or diagnosing conditions. However, a car mechanic would not need these. Instead, both professions could use soft skills like communication and leadership.

These are the technical skills needed to become a research analyst, and you should consider gaining a few before applying for internships and jobs. These skills are:

  • Research methods
  • Statistics, statistical modeling
  • Database Administration
  • Knowledge of A/B testing

A/B testing is a way of comparing two different methods to figure out which one performs better. For example, an analyst may consider A/B testing two other securities to determine which may perform better over time. 

Some soft skills needed to become an equity analyst are:

  • Communication skills
  • General computer skills
  • Customer or client focus

These skills are required for an entry-level position. Although surprising, client focus is a superior skill that impacts the success of analyst jobs.

For instance, analysts will need to use their communication and client-focus skills to win a client over or express their opinion on a certain asset. In addition, the analyst must be able to communicate the information they find in their research to clients and managers. 

The analyst will need more skills that can also be considered logical reasoning, critical thinking, attention to detail, presentation, and organizational skills. These skills are must-haves if one wishes to become an equity analyst.

For example, an analyst will work with lots of data from different places. If they cannot organize the data into something readable and clean, they will not be able to conclude anything from the information.

There are many skills and moving parts as an analyst; this is why the field can be so competitive. 

Financial Analyst vs. Research Analyst 

There are many slight differences between a financial analyst and a securities analyst. Still, the main difference is that research analysts cover a much broader use of research, examination, and interpretation. The data collection can be considered more of an investigative act. 

Financial analysts will likely give trading or investing advice from the data they collect, examine, and report to their managers. A crucial role of financial analysts is to analyze investment portfolio performance and look for new flaws or opportunities. 

These analysts rely on fundamental analysis to determine a company's value; they will analyze its:

  • Profitability
  • Revenue
  • Earnings
  • Sales

current outstanding debt.

This detailed analysis can be used to find an investment opportunity for their firm. 

Securities analysts can be considered more data crunchers. They will spot:

  • Market trends
  • Flows
  • Abnormalities
  • Flaws to find investment opportunities

As a result, their outlook can be broader than financial analysts. Although, some research positions are closely related to financial analysis. These are investment research analysts, they can be considered higher securities analysts, and they make more than the average securities analyst. 

The two jobs regarding education are similar. Although both analysts need a good background in finance and economics, financial analysts certainly need it more than securities analysts. Both also need a good education in mathematics. 

Regarding pay, financial and equity analysts have little difference in their salaries; the average for both careers is about $80,000. Senior-level positions are usually paid more. However, entry-level positions for both jobs are between $50,000 and $70,000. 

Generally, there are a few main differences between financial and equity analysts. A financial analyst inspects financial data and helps companies make decisions. An equity analyst will gather and interpret data and make future financial projections. 

Salary, Job Demand, and Job Outlook

Salaries for equity analysts can be pretty stout; for an entry-level position straight out of college, analysts can expect to make $50,000 to $70,000 a year. Although that does not sound like a great paycheck, remember you have little to no experience, and it takes time. 

Mid to senior-level analysts can expect to make salaries between $65,000 and $90,000 yearly. However, salaries also depend on the companies you work for and your location. For example, an equity analyst for JP Morgan will likely make more than an analyst at a local college.

Most places need these analysts: they provide crucial information for corporations, hospitals, colleges, universities, and, most importantly, large financial institutions. This is important for college students who desire to be equity analysts in the economic field. 

Research analysts understand how to collect, interpret, and report data, including unstructured and big data. This is extremely important for companies as more and more companies rely on technology, making the demand for security analysts very high. 

The job outlook for these analysts is outstanding: These positions are expected to grow by 19% between 2021 and 2031. This growth rate is much higher than most of their occupations. Technology and finance companies are relying on equity analysts more and more.

Analysts are needed in large financial institutions, small businesses, local banks, and corporations. Moreover, they are highly beneficial to those that use them.


Research analysts are people who research, develop data, investigate the data, and report it to their managers. The data they are looking for can be anything from news, financials, or press releases of companies or markets. These analysts work for large financial institutions. 

Some of the responsibilities of analysts are to be data crunchers. The analyst will research, analyze, and interpret data from markets. Analysts have many quantitative and analytical characteristics that make them suitable for the job. 

Data is the foundation of many companies. The analyst brings it to one place, analyzes it, and reports it to their managers clearly and concisely. They play a vital role in the success of financial institutions and many other businesses by giving projections and advice on equities.

Someone aspiring to become an equity analyst should complete a bachelor's degree in statistics, mathematics, or something related. Then, after a few years, it may be worthwhile to go back and complete their master's. Experience is the biggest motivator for promotions and raises. 

Experience will bring better technical skills, including research skills, statistical reasoning, modeling, and A/B testing. However, soft skills are also necessary, such as excellent written and verbal communication and leadership. 

Lastly, securities analysts can expect to make between $50,000 and $70,000 at an entry-level position and between $65,000 and $90,000 for mid to senior-level positions. The job outlook for securities analysts is also excellent; between 2021 and 2031, the expected job growth is 19%. 

Analysts play a crucial role in many businesses and are especially important to financial institutions. It is also an excellent career for those who like to solve mathematical and statistical problems. 

Research and authored by Adam Bridges | Linkedin

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