With the increasing number of companies that mainly depend on data about their clients, products, processes, inputs as well as the market, these companies are always demanding on talented, skilled and experienced people who can help them extract useful information and meaningful insights from the data.
When it comes to data analytics, there are a lot of skills and qualities required by employers for all applicants no matter what position they are going to apply. Thus, both education and working experience is needed to improve these skills and abilities. In the following post, you are going to read about the top skills and any data analyst should gain for their career. Even though you do not know everything about the business, you can establish your business knowledge during working. Business knowledge will help advance your understanding about the company’s data so that you can identify warning signs and look for the right people as soon as possible.
As you must have known, being a data analyst means you need to work with software, systems and data. You should put these things together in a manner that can extract useful insights from raw data, which asks for technical skills and a willingness to keep on developing these skills in order not to fall behind the technology improvement.
Understanding the data value chain will help you be able to put everything into real context. Many systems and touchpoints are integrated into the end-to-end process in order to simplify different tasks such as understanding how they are connected and by whom each part is handled.
In order to fulfil this knowledge, you should answer such questions as where the data comes from, why it was collected, how the data collection was done and by whom, what transformation steps it went through, in which location it is stored and so on.
Because data analyst will not just communicate with data but also with partners, data vendors, colleagues and many other people in the process of improving insights to make decisions, communication skills are required.
As you share information, it is really necessary to take into consideration the right medium. You should be clear about such information as whether your company uses digital, interactive dashboards to make decisions or not, whether there is a need to offer print-ready materials, who will be the audiences and what they are seeking for, where the audience is and how their languages and culture may have an impact on the way by which you communicate your findings and so on. You can earn a long-term benefit if you can improve your communication skills in both verbal and written manner with data.
Critical thinking comprises of going and thinking. In this skill, you should take a look at the outliers in order to prompt further investigations. In other words, there are some questions to handle including what a spike in the data reveals, whether it is something important or not that you need to assess it more.
Visual analytics can assist your critical thinking processes as it enables you to take a look at the data from various perspectives within a short period of time. As you look for a meaningful data point, you can then easily and conveniently investigate it through making use of various chart types, introducing time dimensions or information regarding other elements of the business in order to acquire a new view.
Moreover, discovering various angles for the same case will support you to give answers to some of your questions and evaluate whether there is a need to pursue things more.
Currently, many analysts are able to share their work in a digital manner with a large audience using just one click of a button. Nevertheless, there are some cases in which you need to show your insights and reports directly to a live audience.
Due to this, it is really necessary to advance these skills so that your findings can be shared in an effective manner. Having a structure which is clear and convenient to follow and communicate is key elements required in a logical order setting the right tone. When you present, you should pay attention to the important points and know how to navigate your way around interactive dashboards.
An ideal approach to follow is not limiting your answers to the clear questions leading to your analysis at first, and expecting possible follow-up questions from others. This, in turn, helps you know and understand more about your business and your stakeholders. You can get to know what they are keen on, what they priorities are and also their dependencies.
In case you do not know the answer to their questions, you should make a good preparation for the follow-up process that you can suggest them. Last but not least, preparation is the main key and expecting your stakeholders’ needs will support you to establish your credibility and brand internally.
Data visualization skills
The tool you are going to use does not matter much and so does whether you share insights in a digital manner or on a whiteboard. Being able to draw a comprehensive picture about what is taking place is a very necessary skill to have.
This would be as easy as drawing a chart on a whiteboard. With this picture as a starting point, many disagreements can be erased easily. You can communicate your insights in a report, interactive dashboard or a chart. To do this efficiently, you need to assure that you have a good type of chart for your data and design your work in a manner that reveals the major findings clearly and quickly.
Last but not least, you had better not forget to focus on the context. Reporting numbers in isolation would be less meaningful. You should know how they are referred to the last periods to other departments.