Do you think numbers are fun?
Do you find pleasure in finding out patterns in numbers or getting excited about making sense of endless data sheets?
Then most probably, you have the mindset to become a data analytics professional and help companies make sense of tremendous amounts of data.
Data analysts are one of the most revered people today because they can do the job which most of the population finds tedious.
But as a data analyst, you find playing with numbers a rewarding experience, and your insights can become the reason for a company’s growth and success. If you want to become instrumental in helping organizations succeed, make sure to read this article.
Here we will explain the role of a data analyst, how to become one, and what skills you need to get hired as a data analytics professional.
What is the Job of a Data Analyst?
Data analysts are supposed to collect, organize, and interpret data. They are supposed to make sense of the numbers and give actionable insights to the operations teams. They are supposed to understand this data and generate reports according to the organization’s goals and objectives.
Here are the key responsibilities of a data analyst;
- Research: In the research part, a data analyst is supposed to research about the company, its customers, market trends, and performance to identify the opportunities for growth. They are also supposed to find gaps that may lead to stagnant performance. Furthermore, in the existing system, the data analysts will find areas to improve efficiency and improve productivity.
- Gathering Data: Another responsibility of a data analyst is to gather data from different sources. This depends on the company’s workings and its processes. Gathering correct data is crucial to finding solutions and trends beneficial for the company.
- Data Collection: After gathering, collection is the next important step in the process. Data analysts are supposed to collect the required information and arrange them into primary and secondary sources. They are also tasked with developing the channels for this information or arranging them in an easy-to-read manner. With the right resources in hand, data analytics professionals can also create a bespoke data collection system associated with the company.
- Cleaning the Data: There might be some duplicate entries with a huge amount of data gathered and collected. In some cases, the data collected needs to be reformatted for better understanding. Similarly, there are several tasks that must be completed to refine the data. For this purpose, data analysts have to rely on software and solutions.
- Data Modeling and Algorithm Formation: This is the key part of a data analyst’s responsibilities where they are supposed to create algorithms and modeling sequences. This will help the professionals in running automation tools and creating solid conclusions with the data collected. Furthermore, in data modeling, they are tasked with analyzing the data sets and identifying precise patterns and trends. All of this is done to understand the meaning of numbers.
- Data Visualization: Data presentation is as important for an organization as its analysis. So, the same data analytics professionals rely on software and solutions to create and design visualizations that are easy to digest for any other type of professional in the company.
To perform these functions, you need to build and hone the proper skill set. In the following sections, we will highlight the journey to become a data analytics professional and how to learn the required skills.
To Become a Data Analytics Professional
The first step in this process is to get a bachelor’s degree in a related field. This can be either a statistical or analytical field, including math, computer science, statistics, etc.
Try to complete the degree course from a reputed university where you are also provided practical training along with academic lessons. This is because well-reputed institutions have built a rigorous curriculum that trains the students in a wide range of aspects related to the degree course.
However, besides the degree course, you also need to hone some extra skills connected to the job.
- Analytical thinking: You need to be creative and have an analytical mindset to become a data analyst. The academic teachings and lessons will teach you a lot about the job, but to become a good data analyst, you must possess a creative, analytical mindset to identify the problems, understand the data, and have fun while doing it.
- Visualization: Creating visualizations is a key part of the job and an important skill you must possess. You need to learn and practice the art of representing data in various forms and know which type of visualization fits best in every case. You must also learn to scale the visualizations according to the audience at the receiving end.
- Microsoft Excel: Learning Excel is one of the most important things you need to do to become a data analytics professional. It’s a spreadsheet solution built by Microsoft and is highly beneficial for arranging, collecting, and arranging data.
- Programming: Data analysts need to be fluent in programming languages like R and Python. These languages are required to create algorithms that further assist with data collection, analysis, and management.
- Communication: Another key skill for a data analyst is the ability to communicate the findings clearly and concisely to a non-analytical audience. This means you must be able to convey your ideas to the rest of the team easily and help them make key business decisions based on your findings.
- SQL Database: Data analysts will benefit if they understand SQL and use it for creating a database. This will ease the process of extracting information from the gathered and collected data. All this helps with creating tables and performing correct analysis.
- Database Querying Languages: Within SQL, which is the main database querying language, there are variants that you must check out. This includes PostgreSQL, T-SQL, PL/SQL, and a few others. Make sure to take out time to learn about these variants and their applicability.
Do I Need to Learn Any Specific Tools?
Yes, there are a few tools or solutions that you must learn, practice, and become an expert in to complete your training for becoming a data analytics professional. These tools will assist you in processing data effectively. These are;
- Google Analytics: Google Analytics or GA is the tool you will need for understanding customer’s data and finding out new trends in the same. This will also help find key information on how to build landing pages and create a call to action (CTAs) that further helps attract more leads.
- Tableau: Tableau helps data analysts with aggregating and analyzing data sets. This solution is also used to create visualizations and dashboards that can be shared with the team for better understanding.
- AWS S3: Amazon Web Services is a dedicated solution for cloud storage systems and can be used by data analysts to store and extract large amounts of data sets from the web.
To become a data analytics professional, you must begin with getting a basic educational background. This is followed by honing the required technical and soft skills as they will help you in streamlining your learning process head.
With the basic education completed, start working on projects that will help you refine your understanding and skills. Make sure to build a portfolio of your work and projects as they will help in getting jobs in the future.
Start searching for entry-level data analyst jobs in companies of your liking, and as you work there, start getting different certifications. These certifications are crucial to get advanced-level training and knowledge in data analytics. This further paves the way to get promoted in the company or find better job opportunities.
A data analyst’s job involves processing data gathered and collected from different sources. Professionals of this field play a crucial role in helping companies identify the key opportunities and make sense of the data they generate from a wide variety of sources. To become a data analyst, you must first get the basics clear with a degree course or a program that will train you in the foundational aspects of the field.
This is followed by training in the required skills and building a portfolio to showcase your capabilities. A data analytics professional needs to update themselves according to the market trends and requirements while learning new tools and using the latest technologies for the best results.