The data analyst has a role in most, if not all, businesses and organizations. The data analyst is responsible for analyzing the raw data that comes from the sources such as sensors, common sense renewed and databases, to extract information about patterns and trends in systems.
This blog post will briefly outline some of the primary responsibilities of a data analyst before giving some tips on how to become a successful data analyst.
1. The primary responsibilities of a data analyst are:
a. Data acquisition:
The data analyst is responsible for acquiring, documenting and reviewing the data from sources such as sensors and databases to extract information about patterns and trends in systems. This involves making sense of the raw data that is captured through sensors and databases.
b. Data cleaning and management:
The data analyst also has to make sure that all the raw data that is collected is relevant and consistent with the process being analyzed. This involves taking care of any inconsistencies between records, making sure that all the required information has been captured in each record and correcting errors where needed.
c. Data analysis:
The data analyst uses the raw data that has been acquired from sources such as sensors and databases to extract information about patterns and trends in systems. This is done by ‘pattern recognition’, which is the process of analyzing data entries and extracting what is relevant to a particular problem.
d. Report writing:
The final step requires the reported summary information to be presented in an organized, comprehensive and useful manner for all those involved with decision making.
e. Business value:
A data analyst is expected to work with those involved with business decisions, for example, management and executives to present the information using any tools available such as dashboards or reports.
2. Primary requirements of a successful data analyst include:
The data analyst needs to be comfortable with developing mathematical models for the interpretation and analysis of the data.
Data analysts need to understand statistical concepts such as hypothesis testing and correlation between variables.
c. Logical reasoning:
A data analyst uses logical reasoning in order to draw conclusions from sets of data, so it’s important that they are able to make decisions based on their findings and be able to use this information for recommending further changes or improvements within business processes.
d. Database management:
Database management is crucial for making sense of the data that will be analyzed, this requires a good understanding of databases and their various forms, although it can be developed through experience.
e. Data entry:
Data analysts must have excellent data entry skills and experience, this is vital to ensure that all relevant data has been captured, with no errors in the data.
f. Communication and teamwork:
The data analyst needs to be able to communicate effectively with others within the organization; for example, project teams, clients or otherwise and manage any changes required in a timely manner.
g. Systems an understanding:
A good understanding of systems is important for problem solving; this involves being able to identify problems or weaknesses within operating systems and databases as they might affect subsequent reports or analysis that’s been done by the data analyst.
h. Analytical skills:
A data analyst needs to have some analytical skills, this includes the working knowledge of statistical techniques and logical thinking.
3. Secondary requirements of a successful data analyst include:
The education requirement for a data analyst is minimal, with no specific qualifications required except basic mathematical and computing skills and technical knowledge with regard to systems or software applications that have been developed.
This is where the true value of experience can be obtained; this is not only provided through work experience but also gained from self-study, reading or learning about other similar careers within related fields such as business or information systems.
A data analyst needs to have self-motivation, which is essential for work that requires long hours of work.
d. Teamwork skills:
The job of a data analyst involves working with other people, so it’s important that they have strong teamwork skills in order to be able to manage these relationships and projects effectively.
e. Customer service:
A successful data analyst needs to act with integrity and honesty because they will often have contact with clients directly or indirectly, providing them with any findings or recommendations provided.
f. Technical skills:
The technical skills required by a data analyst include the ability to work with databases and operating systems, it is not essential that they have full computer literacy, but it’s important that the data analyst has some understanding of how these affect their work.
Data analysts are skilled professionals and there is much room for personal development within the field of data analysis. It’s very possible to start from within your own organization, as a junior level analyst or an internship in a related field such as business information systems or IT.