What skills are necessary for a data analyst?
According to the international research company IDC, at the end of 2019, the volume of the global big data market reached almost $169 billion. By 2022, its volume may reach $274.3 billion. Such a rapid growth rate determines the popularity of the data science field, and as a result, the demand for data analysts.
From this article you will learn what a data analyst does and what are the main skills you need to master to succeed in this profession.
What is a data analyst and what does it do
The data analyst collects, studies, processes and interprets data. This specialist performs A / B testing, builds hypotheses and is responsible for making decisions based on them. Such specialists are needed in companies that work with a large flow of data, digitize it and model business processes based on the results. The data analytics consultants work in IT companies, academia, trade, financial companies, agriculture and industry.
What you need to know to become a data analyst
To become a data analyst, you have to master many skills in different areas. This task can be solved only in the case of gradual and structured immersion in the area.
- Math. Data analyst is a technical profession. Despite the automation and simplification of working with functions, this is the specialty in which you cannot do without knowledge of higher mathematics. To become an analyst, you need to understand the basics of statistics, calculus, and linear algebra.
- The programming languages Python and R. Analysts are primarily mathematicians, not programmers. Therefore, they need a simple and productive language to work. So in Python there are several specialized libraries for data analysis — Pandas, NumPy, SciPy, Seaborn and Matplotlib.
- Query languages for SQL databases. It is a powerful tool for analyzing and processing information. It is used by analysts, financiers, economists and even accountants. Analysts experiment with data, so it is important for them to have database skills.
- Tabular editors. An analyst needs to combine data from several tables, filter and sort, make charts and graphs. To do this, use Google tables and Excel.
- Performance analysis metrics. This is necessary in order to know if a particular department in the company is doing well. If some process is not effective enough, then the data analyst will find a solution to this problem.
- Predict events based on data. By analyzing the data, a specialist can predict how the decision made will affect, for example, the company’s profitability. It is thanks to this skill that risks and losses are reduced in companies.
- Implementation of data models. Data modeling helps you visualize your data and helps you comply with company rules, regulations, and government laws.
In addition to technical skills, there are so-called soft skills or flexible skills. A successful data scientist is distinguished by perseverance, high efficiency, attention to detail and logical thinking. Communication skills are also important, because often specialists have to go to meetings with representatives of different companies and other specialists, for instance those who provide software security testing service.
Even without outstanding knowledge of higher mathematics, you can find your place in this profession. The reality is that knowledge of a mathematical background is desirable but not necessary. Working libraries and algorithms are already ready to take on these difficulties, and you should concentrate on solving applied problems and skillful use of tools.
The challenge for analysts today is to conduct complex research based on a large data stream. It is important for an analyst to be able to work with different analysis tools, know programming languages and formulate hypotheses. A beginner needs to study for at least six months to get a first job. Hopefully, this article gave you the understanding of the skills required to become a successful analyst.