Dive into the multifaceted world of data analytics, understanding the key roles, responsibilities, and skills required for a successful career as a Data Analyst. Discover the processes involved in data analysis, the types of data analytics, and the knowledge required to drive vital business decisions.
- Data Analysts work with large sets of data, processing and presenting it to shape an organization's decision-making process, improving efficiency, and optimizing various business processes.
- The data analysis processes typically involve identifying and gathering the data, cleaning it for analysis, analyzing for trends, interpreting the results, and sharing findings with stakeholders.
- Data Analysts use four primary types of data analytics: Descriptive analytics (what occurred), Diagnostic analytics (why it occurred), Predictive analytics (what is expected to occur), and Prescriptive analytics (course of action based on past and current events).
- Job requirements for Data Analysts include a relevant Bachelor’s degree, prior work experience in data analysis, the ability to communicate clearly with stakeholders, knowledge of databases and analytic tools, proficiency with statistical tools, and a creative mindset for visualizing data findings.
- Key skills for Data Analysts include verbal communication and presentation skills, understanding of data visualization, proficiency in programming languages like Python or R, critical thinking, extensive use of Microsoft Excel, knowledge of SQL, and familiarity with machine learning.
- Noble Desktop offers various data analytics classes, from beginner-friendly foundations to more advanced certificate programs and bootcamps, which cover core data analysis tools like SQL, Excel, and Tableau.
Data analytics is currently a popular profession in America. This article will provide a brief overview of what Data Analysts do, as well as the job requirements of being a Data Analyst. It will also cover some of the core skills needed to be a successful Data Analyst.
What is a Data Analyst?
A Data Analyst wears many hats. They are tasked with collecting, cleaning, organizing, and analyzing large sets of data. Data Analysts rely on their technical training when handling data to ensure that it’s high-quality and accurate before performing analyses. Then, they process it, visualize it, and present it so that policymakers can make decisions based on their findings to better optimize performance.
All data analysis begins with a driving question or problem. The Data Analyst's job is to apply their training and expertise to find an answer to this question and share this answer with others at an organization who can use it to drive the decision-making process. The analysis techniques used by Data Analysts often unearth metrics or trends that may not otherwise be apparent when looking at extensive data. A Data Analyst can then use these insights to help the organization improve efficiency and optimize its various processes.
Data Analysts work in many industries, such as government, finance, business, science, healthcare, criminal justice, and academia. Many data analytic techniques are currently automated into mechanical algorithms and processes so that data-driven conclusions can be found more quickly to time-sensitive questions.
Short Job Description
Data Analysts work with data to solve problems and find answers to relevant questions. By analyzing what’s currently happening within an organization and what has transpired in the past, they can spot trends and patterns that can offer predictions about what is likely to occur in the future. In a sense, Data Analysts are like detectives who collect evidence to answer questions. Data Analysts play an integral role within an organization. By implementing analytic techniques into their business model, a company is able to not only reduce costs but also find more efficient ways of sorting through large datasets and performing business operations. In addition, companies can also use data analytics to provide insights into customer satisfaction and purchasing trends, which can lead to improved services and products.
Full Job Description
A Data Analyst’s job involves working with large data sets to find insights that an organization can use to make more informed decisions. The data analysis process typically involves six phases:
- First, Data Analysts identify the data they want to analyze.
- Then, they gather the data.
- Once the data is gathered, it must be cleaned so that it is prepared for analysis.
- A significant amount of a Data Analyst’s work involves analyzing data to locate relevant trends or patterns.
- After an analysis has been performed, the results are then interpreted.
- At the end of the analysis process, Data Analysts share their findings with internal or external stakeholders through reports or data visualizations to make the complex information more accessible.
There are four primary types of data analytics. Most Data Analysts focus on multiple analytic types to help them collect relevant information:
- Descriptive analytics describes what has occurred over a specified time period.
- Diagnostic analytics explores why something occurred. This kind of analytics uses hypothesizing and often draws from diverse data inputs.
- Predictive analytics pertains to what is expected to unfold in the near future.
- Prescriptive analytics proposes a course of action based on past and current events.
There are many different kinds of data analysis. Often, the type of analysis you will perform depends on the sorts of questions you need to answer. However, there is a core set of job requirements that transcend industry, which Data Analysts are expected to possess:
- A Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in a field such as computer science, statistics, or related major.
- Work experience analyzing data.
- The ability to communicate clearly with stakeholders to evaluate potential risks.
- Knowledge of databases, software, and analytic tools.
- Familiarity with automated tools used to retrieve data from primary and secondary sources.
- Proficiency with statistical tools and software for interpreting trends in large datasets.
- A creative mindset that can apply to visualizing data findings.
If you’re interested in becoming a Data Analyst, you can expect the following job responsibilities no matter which industry you enter:
- Execute data mining and cleansing.
- Assure the quality of any imported data.
- Manage and process data from primary and secondary sources.
- Design and maintain data systems and databases.
- Create reports to share findings with others.
- Support data normalization and data integrity initiatives.
- Troubleshoot the reporting database.
- Test new software or upgraded software to provide input on new systems.
- Train others on how to create dashboards and reports.
- Visualize data findings.
- Fix code problems and other issues pertaining to data.
- Work interdepartmental with Data Scientists, technology teams, or managers to establish goals.
Although the role of a Data Analyst can vary depending on the employer and industry, almost every Data Analyst will use the following skills:
- Verbal communication and presentation skills are essential for Data Analysts to share their findings with others.
- A solid understanding of how to visualize data is a must for Data Analysts. Data visualization programs such as Tableau, Datawrapper, or Infogram are a few popular visualization options.
- Data Analysts often work with programming languages such as Python or R for statistical data analysis. These powerful languages are useful for performing predictive analysis and other advanced analyses on large datasets.
- Critical thinking plays an integral role in data analysis. Those working with data must be able to know how to find answers to important questions and to do so by examining data to uncover patterns, trends, or connections that may not be readily apparent.
- Microsoft Excel can do a lot more than simply organize data on a spreadsheet. With the help of this app’s VBA lookups and macros, Excel plays an integral role in most Data Analysts’ analytic processes. Over the past decades, Excel has remained the go-to for businesses across industries for their data management needs.
- SQL, or Structured Query Language, is considered the industry-standard database language. Some employers consider a knowledge of SQL to be the most valued skill when hiring Data Analysts, as it can handle large datasets that even Excel cannot manage.
- Machine learning is a form of artificial intelligence. Data Analysts often use it to predict new output values based on historical data. Machine learning has played an increasingly important role in Data Analysts’ jobs during the past decade, as more data tasks are becoming automated.
Enroll in Hands-On Classes to Learn More About Data Analytics
Data analytics is currently one of the most in-demand professions across the U.S. If you are interested in learning more about this field or expanding on your existing knowledge about how to work with data, Noble Desktop has you covered. Noble currently offers beginner-friendly data analytics classes such as Data Analytics Foundations, which explores the basics of the data analytics process, such as prescriptive analytics and descriptive statistics.
Noble also offers more advanced Data Analytics classes for those with a background in data analytics who are looking to sharpen their skills. Courses such as the Data Analytics Certificate or Data Analytics Technologies Bootcamp are available in-person in NYC, as well as in the live online format. These rigorous learning options cover core data analysis tools like SQL, Excel, and Tableau.
You can also search for live online and in-person data analytic courses close to home by using Noble’s Classes Near Me tool. Over 340 courses are currently listed by Noble and other educational providers, so you’ll be sure to find a match that best suits your educational needs.