Data Analytics Skills to Be a Successful Analyst
The utilization of cloud computing and other data technology remains a high priority for business leaders. With this trend comes an increased need for individuals with data analytics skills. As a result, professionals of all major industries are looking to boost their competencies through online learning—with data analytics skills on the priority list for unemployed workers, according to a World Economic Forum report.
With the growing importance of data in business, government, and other industries, data analytics professionals are in high demand in every field. For example, Lightcast™ projects a 12.3% job growth rate for data analysts between 2022 and 2032, a role with a median annual salary of $73,091 as of September 2022.
Data analyst is just one of several roles that individuals with data analytics skills can pursue. Data analysts gather digital information from various sources, interpret patterns and identify trends, and provide recommendations to decision-makers to help organizations run better and improve business performance.
Data Analytics Skills Overview
Businesses objectives are often determined through analysis of their budgets, profit margins, and key performance indicators (KPIs). Although many data analysts possess mathematical and statistical knowledge, a deep understanding of these areas is not necessarily a prerequisite to be successful in the field.
Individuals interested in succeeding in analyst roles should look for opportunities to hone a variety of data analytics skills—including soft skills such as writing and communication, presentation, critical thinking, collaboration, and problem-solving. Business domain knowledge also plays a vital role in data analysis, so individuals should seek to boost their knowledge of their employers’ business by analyzing competitor data and looking at industry trends.
The Importance of Soft Skills in Data Analytics
Soft skills add value to organizations and to individual careers. Common soft skills to add to the data analytics tool set include the following:
Writing and Communication
Data analysts must be able to share their findings with stakeholders who may have a limited technical background in data analysis. Whether in face-to-face meetings or written reports, analysts with strong writing and communication skills can help ensure that business leaders are well-informed to make data-driven decisions.
Drawing insights from data is pointless if a data analyst can’t effectively share their findings with the rest of their organization. That’s why presentation skills, including knowledge of data visualization tools such as Tableau or Google Charts, are a critical competency in a data analyst’s toolkit. Effective presentation skills enable analysts to tell the story of data to stakeholders, keeping them engaged so that they understand the value of their insights.
When data doesn’t paint a clear picture, it’s up to data analysts to ask the right questions and clarify ambiguities. With critical-thinking skills, data analysts can understand what data to collect and how to collect it, identify patterns, track assumptions, and connect disparate data points.
Data analysts bridge business and technology groups within organizations, and they can play a crucial part in fostering cooperation. Analysts with strong team skills can help establish a collaborative environment that not only provides different stakeholders with easier access and clearer visibility into the data but also facilitates input from departments with different areas of expertise.
Business problems typically begin with a question: How can I reduce rising expenses? What’s the best strategy for launching a new product? How can I lower costs and increase efficiency? Data analysts sort through masses of information to help find answers. They also use problem-solving skills to ensure that collection and analysis processes are effective and efficient.
Business Domain Knowledge
Domain knowledge refers to an understanding of an industry and a company’s business focus. While data analytics skills are applicable across fields, each industry has distinct processes, procedures, and terms. For example, data revealing mobile buying patterns may have different value for an insurance company launching a new insurance product compared with a sports marketing firm. Analysts with specific business domain knowledge can identify what the data reveals about different industries’ customers.
What Technical Skills Does a Data Analyst Need?
Data analytics skills also include technical competencies, such as data cleaning and preparation, data analysis and exploration, creating data visualizations, and creating dashboards and reports.
Data analysts have various tools and languages to make their jobs easier, including applications like Microsoft Excel and business intelligence tools such as Tableau, Power BI, Qlik, and Looker. Knowledge of programming languages such as Python, R, SQL, NoSQL, and MATLAB can also benefit data analysts.
Data Cleaning and Preparation
Without reliable raw data, analysis will be inaccurate. Data integrity describes data that is accurate and evidence-based so it can be relied on for analysis. This integrity begins with data cleaning and preparation, which includes removing irrelevant data, unifying the data structure, resolving cross-set data errors, and validating data.
Data Analysis and Exploration
Exploration allows analysts to understand what’s in the data, including variable relationships in large datasets. It involves asking questions and investigating the data to find answers. Through analysis, the analyst can then look for deeper trends and patterns to learn what the data is saying.
Creating Data Visualizations
In the initial stages of analysis, data visualization enables analysts to better see data structure and identify trends and data clusters. Visualization also helps put data into visual contexts, such as charts and graphs, that help decision-makers understand and interact with data.
Creating Dashboards and Reports
While data analysts have the technical skills to understand the data, other stakeholders may not. Reports and dashboards, management tools that display data points and enable users to visually track and analyze data, help nontechnical users make data-driven decisions.
Learn the Data Analytics Skills You Need to Succeed as an Analyst
Modern societies and businesses run on data, and individuals who can transform that data into useful insights can find significant opportunities for rewarding careers. And while technical skills are part of the picture, soft skills are crucial to success.
The right analytics bootcamp can offer a range of skills to help you prepare for a career as a data analyst. Fullstack Academy’s online Data Analytics Bootcamp helps students establish foundational knowledge and data analytics skills in just 10 to 26 weeks, covering essential topics like Excel, data-driven storytelling, and the fundamentals of SQL and Python.