There are a lot of hard and soft skills required in the data analyst field. Remember that analysis is ultimately about retrieving and expressing the information contained in data. So your skill set must be broad, ranging from critical thinking and an eye for detail to effective communication.
At the foundation of the analysis skills that you must have, you should also have the technical skills necessary to become a data analyst. This starts with a good understanding of programming languages to skills in data cleaning and preparation.
A data analyst course helps you to gain both technical training and hands-on experience required for data jobs.
Skills Needed to Succeed in Data Analysis
On a typical day, a data analyst can use SQL skills to pull data from a database. They can also utilize their programming skills in analyzing data and reporting their findings using communication skills. But which of these or any other skills are important in helping you land a big data job? We answer that question below.
- Writing and Communication
The ability to communicate in various formats is an important data analyst skill. To succeed in any data analytics role, you have to be good at writing, speaking, explaining, and listening.
Communication is important when communicating with colleagues in your organization or in the field. If you were to be in a kickoff meeting with business stakeholders, for instance, you’ll need careful listening to understand the business requirements. You will also need to be skilled at explaining complex topics to the non-technical staff during projects.
Written communication is also key in this field. That’s more especially if you’re writing a summary of your analysis or explaining a discovery in data exploration. Getting skilled in communicating clearly and directly will help you advance your career in the data job platform.
It sure is a soft skill but it shouldn’t be underestimated. That’s because the best analytical skills in the world are worthless if you can’t communicate what they mean. They are also not important if you can’t convince your colleagues to act on your discoveries.
- Data Analysis and Exploration
It might sound strange to realize that “data analysis” is an important skill that data analysts must have. But when looking for data jobs in the UK through OnlyDataJobs and other job sites, you’ll realize that analysis is a necessary skill. Data analysis is about taking a business’ needs and analyzing the relevant data to come up with a solution.
Exploration is the other form of data analysis. It’s about looking for interesting trends or relationships in the data that could bring value to an organization.
Much as a business’s need can guide exploration, it can also be relatively unguided. Looking to find patterns in data can have you stumbling across an opportunity for the organization to decrease costs or increase growth.
- Machine Learning
Machine learning is a branch of artificial intelligence that’s very necessary in the developments in data science. This skill enables data analysts to use the algorithms designed to find patterns in big data sets and improve their accuracy over time.
The more data a machine learning algorithm processes, the smarter it becomes in enabling accurate predictions.
Data analysts are expected to be skilled in ML. Being skilled in ML gives you a competitive advantage and sets you on a course for a future career as a data analyst.
It’s easy to assume that data analysts have all the information they need at their fingertips. But the fact is that these professionals must always be ready to research to make the most of the data they collect.
If you’re to tell a story or interpret raw data, you must be comfortable with research. You need to be able to ask questions to get the proper context of the information.
Research helps data analysts to stay on top of industry trends. This enables them to interpret the most meaningful insights from their data. Research is also helpful when presenting insights to their colleagues and defending their position on what moves the organization should make next.
- Statistical Knowledge
Probability and statistics are crucial data analyst skills that you must possess. This knowledge helps to guide analysis and exploration as well as to decipher the data.
Note that understanding statistics ensures that your analysis is valid. This helps you to avoid common fallacies and logical errors.
The exact level of statistical knowledge varies based on the demands of your role and the data you’re working on. If your organization relies on probabilistic analysis, for instance, you’ll want a more rigorous understanding of those areas.
- Domain Knowledge
This refers to an understanding of the topics that are specific to the industry and the organization you work for. If, for instance, you work for an organization with an online store, you’ll need to understand the nuance of e-commerce. If you’re tasked with analyzing data on mechanical systems, you’ll need knowledge of how those specific systems work.
No matter where you work, failure to understand what you’re analyzing makes the execution of your job more difficult. Note that domain knowledge is something you can learn on the job.
But if you’re sure of the industry you’d want to work in, it would be best that you build an understanding up front to make you a more attractive applicant. This will help you to become a more effective employee when you eventually get that data job.
- Problem-Solving and Critical Thinking
It’s not enough that data analysts simply look at data. That’s because you must look past the numbers to fully understand them. This isn’t possible unless you have problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
Data and analytics require that you analyze data, identify patterns, and extract information from it. This requires that a data analyst professional thinks deeper as opposed to just processing data.
Remember that while in this field, you’ll also run up against different kinds of problems such as importing and modeling data. Luckily, there are tools on the internet to assist you with such challenges. In spite of that, it’s important that you’re able to find your way out of the problems.
It could also be that your organization has limited resources and you’ll be expected to be innovative in dealing with such situations. Honing your problem-solving and critical thinking skills will help you overcome these issues.
- Data Cleaning and Preparation
According to research, data cleaning and preparation makes up about 80 percent of the work of most data experts. That is enough proof that the skill is important.
Data analysts are required to retrieve data from one or more sources. This data is then prepared for both numerical and categorical analysis. Data cleaning is also about resolving missing and inconsistent data that can affect the analysis.
Data cleaning is always exciting in data analytics. However, preparing the data can be fun and challenging when treated as a problem-solving exercise.
Data analytics may be your dream career. But to succeed, you need to gain the required skills in the field. That’s the reason why you need to explore the available academic opportunities.
You can, for instance, enroll in a data analytics boot camp if you’re looking for a quicker and financially feasible solution. Education will give you the ability to gain a thorough background in data jobs. So, explore your educational opportunities and develop a solid foundation of your skills in data analysis.