“The Analysis of Data will Not by Itself produce New Ideas” - Edward de Bono
By 2025, the quantum of data generated on a daily basis is expected to reach 463 exabytes globally. By 2025, it is projected that there will be 75 million IoT (Internet of Things) devices in the world. By 2030, nine out of every ten people within the age group of six and above, will be recorded to have some form of digital footprint.
These are eye-opening numbers. They are merely projections for the future, but they are based on digital trends unfolding through the beginning of the 21st century. This implies that Data has emerged as the new driving engine of society. Data is in abundance; however, it can only be converted into a valuable resource, if one is able to analyze and extract meaningful insights from the same. This is where the role of a Data Analyst comes in. He has a vast open playing field; however, in the absence of Skills needed for Data Analyst, he is bound to fail in his efforts. Thus, Data Analyst Skills are priceless competencies, whose value is set to only soar higher in the near future, given the Data driven global landscape.
In this blog, we shall look at some of the most important Skills needed for Data Analyst. We shall focus upon the Data Analyst Technical Skills as well as the Soft Skills needed to be a Data Analyst. Having developed a fair idea of the Skills required for Data Analyst, you will be able to chart out a viable career course for yourself.
What is Data Analytics and who is a Data Analyst?
Data Analytics is the discipline which deals with the management of data through its collection and storage, as well as, with the techniques, processes and tools, which help in analyzing it. The objective of Data Analytics is to discover patterns, valuable correlations, unseen trends, and consequently, extract meaningful insights which could help in undertaking business decisions, making predictions as well as improving its efficiency.
A Data Analyst is essentially a tech professional who helps organizations in extracting insights from the data available with them. They make use of different Data Analytics Tools, along with diverse strategies including Machine Learning, Statistics, Mathematics, Programming in order to derive conclusions which are based on hard core facts. A Data Analyst is essentially responsible for sifting and exploring large volumes of data with the objective of developing informing opinions on long-term and recent trends, making tentative predictions as well as communicating the findings to the stakeholders and decision makers of the organization.
If you are really serious about making your way as a Data Analyst and wish to ace a Data Analyst interview like a pro; do read our blog on “Top 30 Data Analyst Interview Questions”
Data Analyst Technical Skills
In this section, we shall look at the key Hard/Technical Skills needed to be a Data Analyst. These Top Data Analyst Skills pertain to some of the key areas which Data Analysts happen to be concerned with, in the execution of their professional responsibilities.
Statistical Programming – R and Python
R and Python are believed to be Statistical Programming Languages and as a Data Analyst, they help you to conduct advanced analysis and predictive analytics. If you happen to be efficient in writing programs in these languages, you would surely be able to clean, manage, analyze and visualize data efficiently.
R happens to be one of the most popular languages within the field of Data Analytics. Its structure and syntax was specifically created to facilitate analytical work. It is capable of handling complex and bulky volumes of data, while at the same time, it involves several easy-to-use and built-in data commands.
Python is considered to be a top-notched general purpose programming languages. Its usefulness in the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is quite significant. Moreover, it encompasses a number of specialized libraries, many of which pertain to AI. Since, the tech landscape is increasingly be affected by Artificial Intelligence; expertise in Python is one of Data Analyst Key Skills, which the professionals cannot ignore.
One of the most important Skills for Data Analyst, happens to be proficiency in SQL or Structured Query Language. It is a standard database language and is often referred to as the ‘graduated’ version of Excel. It is accepted as a conventional means for handling and querying data in relational databases. Expertise in SQL provides you with an opportunity to develop efficiency in managing and storing data, in relating multiple databases, along with building or altering those database structures altogether. Data Analyst Skills does include competency in creation of joins, data retrieval, creation of aggregations, as well as development of stored procedures. SQL help in all of these.
Mathematical Skills – Linear Algebra and Calculus
Advanced Mathematical Skills happen to be one of the non-negotiable Skills for Data Analyst. This is primarily because Data Analysts are often required to quantify and process large volumes of data. One the important field of Maths is Statistics and it is crucial in the collection, analysis, interpretation and presentation of data. Probability and Statistics Data Analyst Skills, will help you in identifying trends and patterns in data; in avoiding logical errors, fallacies and biases in conducting Data Analytics; and in producing precise accurate results.
Similarly, the domains of Linear Algebra and Calculus happen to be other crucial tools within the Data Analyst Skills Checklist. Linear Algebra has wide applications within the field of Machine Learning. Side by side, Calculus can be used to generate cost/objective/loss functions which command algorithms to accomplish its objectives.
It is one of the most common and basic tools for Data Analytics. It is capable of supporting any standard analytics workflow and provides users with the option of real time collaboration, importing data directly from pictures, sharing of workbooks and so on. One important limitation of Excel is that it is not considered to be competent for analyzing Big Data. Its products fall under three groups: for home, for enterprises and for business. Some of the versions are available for a month for free. On the whole, Excel is not free. It is user-friendly, easy to learn and does not require UI to enter data.
Expertise in Machine Learning is not one of core Skills needed for Data Analyst, strictly speaking. However, a general understanding of ML does help in providing you with a competitive edge. This is more so because, developments in the field of Predictive Analytics and Artificial Intelligence, have become crucial concerns within the domain of Data Science, at large. Machine Learning emphasizes on developing algorithms which can help in discerning patterns in Big Data sets.
Data Management pertains to the best practices associated with the collection, organization and storage of data. This is ensured in line with security, efficiency and economy. There might be specialized professional roles committed to the task of Data Management; however, in the capacity of a Data Analyst, you might be required to fulfil this responsibility to a certain extent. Moreover, as you seek to develop your Data Analyst Skills, you can seek to acquire a general understanding of the working of databases.
Data Cleaning can be understood as the process which entails the removal and fixation of all incorrect data within the dataset. It essentially targets incorrectly formatted, duplicate and corrupted data. It is a way of preparing the Data for analysis as unrefined Data can result in erroneous analysis. This implies that the responsibility to clean Data is an indispensable act which Data Analysts are expected to perform. A properly cleaned dataset is quite likely to produce remarkable insights. Thus, Data Cleaning expertise happens to be one of the crucial Skills for Data Analyst.
Data Visualization can be seen as a powerful communication tool which helps in Data Analytics through transforming raw data and numerical figures into aesthetically appealing visual objects. It helps in presenting complex information in a logical, simple, comprehensible and interactive form. Analyzing Data is simply one part of the Data Analytics process. The insights would make no sense, unless these are conveyed in a manner which helps to inform business decision making. It is here where the Data Analyst Skills for presentation and Data Visualization come into play. This also involves learning the usage of different Data Visualization tools.
If you wish to read more on the topic of Data Visualization by drawing from real-world examples, do read our blog on “Data Visualization Examples: Good, Bad, and Misleading”
Soft Skills for Data Analyst
The Data Analyst Technical Skills are not the be-all and end-all of a Data Analyst’s professional story. It is definitely a very important part of it; however, the other side which focuses on the Soft/Non-Technical Skills needed to be a Data Analyst is equally important.
In analyzing Data, there is often much beyond what meets the eye. As a Data Analyst, it will be important for you to comprehend, beyond what is explicitly visible and derive implications, beyond the facts alone. This entails the requirement to think critically and out of the box. Being able to think critically implies, possessing an analytical bent of mind and using that ability to analyze data, as well as derive meaningful insights from the information at hand.
One of the significant Skills required for Data Analyst is a good command over your ability to communicate. Data Analysts need to work in close connection with developers, IT representatives, organizational leaders, clients as well as other Data Analysts. It is not simply enough to be able to conduct Data Analysis, but it is equally important to be able to communicate those findings to other professionals who might happen to be from a completely non-technical background. This entails the need to be proficient in the ability to communicate your findings in as easily understandable a manner as possible.
The objective of interpretation and analysis of Data is often tied with the aim of preventing and solving business problems and issues. As a Data Analyst, it will be important for you to possess Problem-Solving Skills as it will help you, not only in detecting problems, but in also coming up with viable solutions for dealing with the same.
Presentation Skills for Data Analyst is closely tied to the Data Visualization skill mentioned above. However, it also goes beyond that. As a Data Analyst, you should be able to come up with the best means for Data Visualization, and at the same time, you should possess excellent Communication Skills, for verbally presenting those findings to the stakeholders.
By the end of this blog, I am pretty sure you must have developed a fair idea of the Top Skills for Data Analyst which must be in your possession, if you happen to aspire for grabbing this coveted position. The Skills needed to be a Data Analyst are definitely diverse and covers different aspects of the entire Data Management process. The domain of Data Analytics is definitely one of the most in-demand fields within the tech world and if you are successful in ticking off all items in the Data Analyst Skills Checklist, you certainly do stand a very good chance in establishing your foothold in the domain.
Given the future prospects of the career as a Data Analyst, it would only be wise to pursue one’s profession in the field. We, at Syntax Technologies, provide you with an exciting opportunity for developing expertise as a Data Analyst expert. We help you develop Data Analyst Skills in line with the industry standards and demands of the tech world. Enrol now for our Data Analytics course.