data analyst

Big Data Is Big Business: Here’s How to Become a Data Analyst

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Do you fancy life as a data analyst? In today’s world it’s a genuinely exciting role. It can take you as high as you want to go, right to director level. What’s more, because we’re still in the early days of the big data revolution, the potential is quite simply stunning.

And if you’re a business owner who doesn’t quite understand this field, that’s okay. But do take heed, because you’re going to need data analysts if you expect to succeed with your ventures.

What Does It Mean to Be a Data Analyst?

Being a data analyst involves exploring ways data can be used to answer business questions and solve problems. Moreover, a skilled data analyst will understand how to represent the human side of the numbers. He or she will create easy-to-understand outcomes.

Additionally, you’ll need to be able to collect, process, and analyze data for all sorts of business reasons. This can include everything from pricing to productivity.

Therefore, it’s no wonder that experts predict that during the next five years as many as six out of ten organizations are planning to boost their data analysis capabilities. And that means a choice of truly great jobs for the right candidates. But are you a good fit? Let’s see.

Is This You?

A career as a data analyst might be right for you if you are:

  • Good at math, but not just the everyday stuff. You are fluent in complex mathematical notions like statistics and probability theory.
  • A natural analyst; you can’t help but uncover mysteries.
  • Curious and thorough. You can’t bear to leave an interesting-looking door unopened.
  • Naturally logical, methodical, and highly organized.
  • A really good, clear communicator, both in person and in writing.

As you can see, the best data analysts have an interesting combination of hard and soft skills. They embody a series of unusual attributes which drive them forward to transform raw data into business ideas, solutions, and plans.

What Kind of Qualifications Do You Need for a Career as a Data Analyst?

Data analysis is complex and intellectually demanding. Therefore, this career is best suited to people with more than ordinary school qualifications. You will probably need a degree or some other form of high level tertiary education. This could include qualifications in a range of relevant subjects:

  • Statistics or analytics
  • Math
  • Computer science
  • Information management
  • Business information systems
  • Finance and economics

Additionally, the right kind of work experience can be a powerful thing, something that many employers both respect and desire. Luckily, the data analysis field is full of opportunities to take up an internship or a graduate program, even while you’re studying for your degree.

What’s more, actual on-the-ground experience can deliver a useful advantage over people who have formal qualifications but no real workplace experience with actual data analysis.

So if you can’t find an internship and are especially eager, you could even volunteer to work for a data company for free. That would look amazing on your CV!

Take Care to Keep Your Knowledge Relevant

Additionally, there are all sorts of excellent courses to take that will make you into a more desirable candidate. They’re great because the data analysis world is changing so fast it never really stands still. The more up-to-date and relevant your knowledge, the better. In short, when you commit yourself to lifelong learning, you put yourself in a really good position.

What Will Your Main Responsibilities Be?

You’ll spend most of your time immersed in raw data, trying to figure out how to best use it to drive great business decisions. Also, you’ll find yourself having to understand what the organization really needs and communicating everything clearly. All this can involve:

  • Predicting business trends.
  • Predicting people’s behavior.
  • Collecting, analyzing, and interpreting raw data.
  • Writing and presenting reports.
  • Contributing to important business decisions.
  • Modeling systems architecture according to business goals.
  • Suggesting and supporting organizational change.
  • Measuring performance.
  • Creating workable data-led solutions to business problems.
  • Investigating the relationship between IT systems and management.

You’ll Need These Top Three Skillsets

Technical Skills

Essentially, you can’t become a data analyst without exceptional technical skills. You’ll be interpreting raw numbers and other data, organizing data sets, using a huge array of tools and software, perhaps even working across multiple IT systems. This can even include old legacy systems at times.

For example, imagine you’ve been handed a Hong Kong business directory database and asked to identify the best sales prospects from a list of thousands of companies.

Can you do that?

Once you can confidently navigate all this fantastic tech, you’ll be ready to answer in the affirmative. You’ll be at an advantage.

Communication Skills

The same goes for communication skills. If you love data but dislike working with people, this career probably won’t work out for you. That’s because this is job that involves close collaboration with different people across numerous departments. Moreover, all of them will have differing goals and priorities.

You will need to be able to ask the right questions at the right time. What’s more, you’ll need to ask them of the right people. Additionally, good negotiation skills will stand you in good stead.

Attention to Detail

Thirdly, attention to the fine details is absolutely essential, because data is all about details. In other words, pinpoint accuracy is the name of the game, and a sloppy attitude won’t cut it. Data analysis is precise by nature. It’s essential to be able to make sufficiently granular interpretations.

Aim for One of the Top Three Sectors

Data analysts are required in more or less every sector and industry. This explains why some experts predict an impressive 12% increase in demand for analysts each year for the next seven years.

What’s more, the role involves a whole lot more than merely extracting information from databases and keeping the data clean and current. Automation is making the entire process much more powerful. In turn, this drives a clear need for data science expertise, knowledge of complex modeling, and familiarity with today’s innovative predictive technologies.

The top three industries for data analysts are finance, technology, and marketing.

Obviously, financial services have a clear need for data excellence. For example, this sector offers a range of desirable entry-level to managerial posts that offer varied, exciting work. Specifically, the investment analysis scene is particularly lively at the moment.

The IT sector is another biggie, a natural fit for talented analysts. What’s more, because things are changing so fast, there’s a constant demand for new talent.

And marketing is no surprise, since data analysis is essential to targeted marketing and personalization. As a matter of fact, 72% of marketers think data analysis skills are vital to the digital and offline marketing world. Additionally, deep market research is in great demand, as it is designed to inform new product development.


Get Ready for Your Exciting New Career

Now you know what you need to become a player in the thrilling world of data analysis. We’d like to wish you luck in preparing to enter an exciting new career!