Every business owner wants to scale up their company. To do that, they need to know how the market reacts to their products and services. Data analysis can help a business understand how customers respond to certain products or services. This can then help them allocate money properly.
Since data is directly tied to a company’s profitability, many data analysts are paid well and on track to earn senior leadership roles as they gain experience. If you’re committed to learning a new set of skills, you’ll be able to break into this exciting tech field - even if you’ve never held an analyst role before. We’ll help you understand the skills you need to get hired as a data analyst, and the steps you can take to launch a successful job search.
What Is A Data Analyst?
Data is a collection of raw information such as numbers, facts, and observations. This data can come from day-to-day business activities or scientific processes. A data analyst is someone who uses tools to extract valuable information from the raw data. Then, they process it and present it in more readable forms such as graphs, infographics, or reports.
It’s at this point that a proper study of business data at a microscopic level is needed. Data analysts are the ones who utilize the data to present useful business strategies. A data analyst could clearly tell why a particular product isn’t performing well and what needs to be changed, on top of estimating future sales.
Skills You'll Need for A Data Analyst Career
Like any other profession, data analysts need to possess certain skills to ace their role. If you realize you don’t have some of these skills once you’ve read the list, but you’re interested in a career as a data analyst, check out Thinkful’s Data Analytics course.
Alright, so let’s dive right into the top skills you need to have to thrive as a data analyst.
- Good Communication
A data analyst must interact with various departments of a company. From development, to support, to marketing, every key department will have a need for the data analyst. Because of this, you’ll need to possess excellent written and verbal communication skills. You need to be able to provide a smooth flow of information. In fact, communication skills will be one of the most important skills recruiters will look for in a data analyst.
2. Efficient Planning
A well-planned decision completes half of the work. Planning not only helps you find your workflow, but it also saves unnecessary time and money spent on unproductive work. A data analyst with good planning capacities will help build strategies that can improve the business process. Thus, the ability to plan is one important attribute expected out of a data analyst.
3. Problem Solving
A data analyst undertakes the arduous process of analyzing data to solve complex business problems. Therefore, to succeed as a data analyst, you need to be comfortable enough with your knowledge to make decisions and solve problems.
4. Attention To Detail
“Every detail counts” should be the work motto of a data analyst. Big data gives the parameters/metrics that you need to know to solve problems. A data analyst must account for every minor detail and see how it impacts the business overall. A background in how these parameters work will allow you to understand the possible effects.
5. Visual Thinking
Images are powerful. Be it infographics, bar graphs, or pie charts, a visual representation always has an edge over charts to explain big data. Most analysts should have the intuitive ability to translate data into a visual presentation. This is more visually appealing and helps the viewers understand data trends and insights.
6. Business Knowledge
As a data analyst, you could be working with multiple sets of data related to industries such as software, consumer electronics, clothing, automobiles, healthcare, travel, and more. To understand the businesses you want to work with, you need to have knowledge of that industry as a whole.
While preparing reports, as a data analyst you should be able to comment on what you’ve learned while observing the data. Reports are crucial, and key business decisions will be made using them. So, the reports must be accurate. To make sure that the reports are accurate, you’ll need to have background knowledge about the industry.
Tools & Programming Languages Every Data Analyst Should Know
There are certain tools that data analysts can’t live without. Most of these tools are open-source and can be accessed by anyone. Having the following tools in your skillset will make you stand out from the crowd when you’re starting out.
- Microsoft Excel:
This is one of the most basic and easy-to-use tools that you’ll use as a data analyst. It’s also one of the tools that doesn’t require programming knowledge to operate. MS Excel is used to manipulate and extract information from data. It can also facilitate the visual representation of data.
Knowledge of Excel increases your chances of landing a job because it makes you an asset to a business. If you’re knowledgeable in Excel, you can handle small and big data to an extent and you can accomplish tasks faster.
2. Google Analytics:
This is yet another free open source software by Google. It’s used to track and analyze the traffic on a website with the help of HTML code embedded in the website. It gives you user’s data such as their geographical location, pages accessed by the user, source of the traffic, etc. Google Analytics is one of the most sought-after tools for web analytics.
Python is one of the most popular programming languages used in web and application development. But its usage is not limited to that alone. The Python syntax is simple and conversational, which makes it easier for a user to work on. Data analysts use Python to create effective visualizations and make predictions about the future of a business.
What if there was one software that could tone down the difficulty of the visualization process? Well, Tableau is designed to do this. You can load data straight from the excel sheet or any other database. Using this loaded data, visualizations like graphs and charts can be generated quickly. One of the best features of Tableau is that it lets you plot data in real-time geographical maps.
SQL is a programming language that allows users to have a shared database. Supporting simple syntax, SQL can be used to access and process large chunks of data. Here, individual users can have their own copy of manipulation without the risk of overlapping with someone else’s work.
6. Power BI:
Creating dashboards helps a data analyst see a problem from a bird’s eye view. Power BI helps convert data to powerful visuals. Independent data sets can be combined to generate insights. These insights help to make clear business decisions.
How To Get Hired:
- Craft An Excellent Social Media Profile
The power of the internet allows us to build connections and establish a professional network. Platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook make this much easier. Make sure you post interesting tidbits related to the field you wish to work in to show your eagerness to potential employers. It’s also useful to follow industry professionals and build a good rapport with them.
2. Write the Perfect Resume And Cover Letter
Skill is not enough these days; you need to be able to stand out from the crowd to employers. A professional resume along with a great cover letter will serve as your entry ticket to a data analyst job interview.
3. Work As An Intern
The competition is high in data analytics, so you might want to consider an internship to build up your experience. An internship experience could be a great addition to your resume for future job opportunities.
Most interns work for a period of 3 to 6 months, sometimes paid and sometimes not. But the industry exposure they gain from this experience can be worth the low pay.
Never stop learning. Even once you land your first data analyst job, find ways to improve your skills and grow professionally. There are plenty of certification programs that can help you upgrade your skills in a particular area. This will also help you identify your niche and attract recruiters.
Enroll in A Career-Oriented Data Analysis Bootcamp
Data analysis is a new role that has completely taken over the information technology industry. If you want to become a data analyst, and you’re willing to obtain all the skills listed in this article, then it’s a fulfilling and high-paying career to pursue. The industry is growing rapidly, and the skills you learn could be used in a variety of industries.
To learn the skills required to land you a job you’ll love in data analytics, Thinkful’s Data Analytics course is a great option. If you’re still unsure if data analytics is a good fit for you, feel free to contact Thinkful’s team to get some more insight and receive valuable guidance as you switch careers.