If you have decided to try and become a data analyst, or maybe your dream is to become a data scientist, there are a lot of skills you need to learn. No matter what you want to do, when it comes to data, you should master data analyst skills in order to achieve your purpose.
In the following post, you are going to learn the key skills that are required for any data analyst. Here are the skills, not the tools. Tools are like Python, R, SQL language and something like that. But what is focused here is what you need to do as a data analyst instead of how you are going to do those things.
Tools will be different according to your own role, the company that employs you and the industry you are going to work for. You can take the data analyst skills that you are going to read from the post and implement them with the tools you are learning to use, or that are suitable for the industry you want to put a step into.
To make sure that you have got the right skills, you should understand the job of a data analyst carefully and thoroughly. Now let’s start to discover what is required to become a good data analyst who can deal with different tasks related to data and data management.
Data cleaning and preparation
According to a research, data cleaning and data preparation takes up about 80 percent of the work of data experts and data professionals. This makes data cleaning and preparation become the key skills for anyone who are going to get a job in data.
As usual, there is a need for a data analyst to retrieve data from only one or more sources and make preparation for the data so that it can be used for numerical and categorical analysis. Data cleaning also comes with solving inconsistent data that may have a negative impact on your analysis. Data preparation is what needs doing for most data projects to start, thus it is also a key skill that you need to have if you want to become a data analyst.
Data analysis and exploration
Data analysis is the second skill that should be mastered to be a data analyst. In terms of definition, data analysis refers to taking a business inquiry or demand and then turning it into a data question. After that, you have to change and analyze data in order to get the answer for that question.
Another type of data analysis is data exploration. Data exploration is aimed at finding new trends and relationships in the data that could generate value to a company.
This task may be guided by an original business question but in some cases, it may be not guided. Through looking to know the patterns in the data, you can capture a chance to reduce cost while increasing growth.
A strong base in probability and statistics is also an indispensable skill for any data analyst. This knowledge will support them to guide their analysis and exploration so that they can get to know more about the data they are working on.
In addition, understanding stats will assist them in assuring their analysis is valid and preventing any common fallacies as well as mistakes. The right level of statistical knowledge needed will be different according to the demands of your own role and the data you are working one. For instance, if your organization depends on probabilistic analysis, you will need a more rigorous understanding of the aspects related to this.
Making data visualizations
Data visualization generate trends and patterns in data in a much easier way to understand. People are visual creatures and many of them may not have the ability to capture useful insight by taking aa look at a big spreadsheet of numbers. Being a data analyst, you should be capable of generating plots and charts in order to assist in communicating your data and findings in a visual manner.
In other words, creating clean and visual compelling charts can help others understand the data. Problems which are difficult to understand or misleading can be avoided effectively.
Visualizations are also a vital element when it comes to data exploration. In some cases, there are things that you can see visually in the data which can hide as you just take a look at the numbers. In fact, almost all data roles ask for data visualization, thus this is an important data analyst skill.
Creating dashboards or reports
Being a data analyst, you should also empower others in the company to make use of data in their decision making process. Through setting up dashboards and reports, you can provide others with accesses to vital data by taking technical barriers away.
Job requirements may be different from each position, yet almost every data analyst job comes with producing reports on your findings or setting up dashboards to display them. Thus, there is always a need of learning this skill.
Writing and communication skills
The capability of communicating in different formats is also a key skill for any data analysts. Writing, speaking, explaining and listening belong to strong communication skills throughout all aspects, which will support you to become successful.
Communication is key when it comes to working with your partners. For instance, careful listening skills are required to understand what your business stakeholders require. What is more, when you need to explain something complicated to a non-technical colleague, you need to have a good communication skill.
Similarly, written communication is also important as you will need to write your analysis and recommendations in a clear and understandable manner. Being clear and direct is a skill that can help develop your career in data. You should not ignore it even though it may be a soft skill. The best analytical skills will not be worth much if you can not explain what they truly are.