Data Analysis as a career
Do you know which the sexiest job of the 21st Century is? As per the Harvard Business Review, it is Data Scientist. Though, technically, Data Scientists are a few notches above Data Analysts, becoming a Data Analyst makes it easier for you to become a Data Scientist.
Picking a career is one of the most critical decisions that we need to take. It requires careful thinking and a lot of deliberation. It doesn’t just affect you, but also your family, who have high hopes from you. And, it’s okay to be swayed by your own interests and preferences. However, it’s crucial to consider the future prospects of the career you want to go for.
With the advent of automation, the need for the workforce is decreasing with each passing day. In such a scenario, it is the need of the hour to find ways to make yourself indispensable to the organization. Becoming a data analyst is one of the options you should consider. Any company that relies on data requires data analysts to analyze and interpret it. Data analysts are in huge demand, but the actual number of people who can do this job is very less. This gap of demand and supply augurs well for the Data Analysts, making them one of the most sought-after professionals. Therefore, skilled data analysts can get good salaries and excellent perks, even at entry levels.
Who is a Data Analyst?
In this technology-driven age, where the rise and fall of companies happen to be daily news, the role of data analysts has become very pivotal in the survival of the organization. Any long-term plan of the organization is bound to have a significant role that involves a careful analysis of data and constantly keeping track of it to notice any change in patterns or trends. This is what constitutes an important job requirement for a data analyst. The name itself suggests that the job deals with analyzing the data available. However, it is a little more diverse than that.
At the outset, it might seem like any other back-office job, crunching numbers all day. Don’t assume. What a data analyst does is far more than what meets the eye. For starters, the “number crunching” is an effort to gather and organize the data, interpret it and utilize it to reach meaningful conclusions. The work is dependent on the kind of data that they have and the kind of requirement a client may have. For modern-day companies, data analysis is a must-have skill that helps them to get an idea of the competition and introspect their own performances too, time and again.
One of the primary responsibilities of a data analyst is to maintain the reports. These reports serve as a guiding tool for the organization and also provide valuable insights towards the areas that need improvement. An important point to remember here is that the next person reading it may not necessarily be an analyst. So, the data should be presented in a way that is understandable to all, irrespective of their technical knowledge. This brings us to the next role that a data analyst performs. Amid all the information that is stored, an efficient data analyst needs to understand the patterns of the data. These patterns help to identify different trends and accordingly contribute to formulating various suggestions for the client. Also, being a data analyst is not about working alone. You will need to collaborate and work closely with different departments, such as marketing, sales, and executives. This will require excellent communication skills, and you should be able to convey important information to different departments.
Data analyst in itself is a broad concept. If you want to narrow it down, you will find that it’s a combination of different roles. Some of them are business analysts, management reporting, corporate strategy analysts, compensation, and benefits analyst, budget analyst, sales analytics, fraud analytics, business product analyst and so on.
Qualifications and skills required to become a Data Analyst
There is a popular misconception that to become a data analyst, you need to have a technical background. Technical knowledge is helpful, but it is not a mandatory aspect. Mostly, people from statistics or mathematics backgrounds are preferred. There are a few specialized skills that are must-haves if you want to be a data analyst, like SQL, Microsoft Excel, machine learning and excellent presentation skills. A good academic performance, especially in math, statistics or economics, can help to land the job easily. But, even if you don’t have prior experience or are new to this field, there are a lot of different courses on data science that you can avail, online and offline, to prepare yourself for it. Good mathematical ability and problem-solving skills can prove to be a bonus, though.
One can understand that a lot of people will be inclined to learn about data analytics over the internet on YouTube or any other free learning sites. Although those things can be helpful, in order to get a deep understanding of the subject and to learn it properly, it is advisable to take up an online or offline course. These courses help you to go step by step while learning, and you get to understand the process and the intricacies involved in a particular subject. Also, it helps that you undergo a lot of practice sessions, which help to perfect the art.
In the current dynamic market scenario, data analyst jobs are in huge demand, and there are lots of vacancies for it due to a lack of trained professionals. The salaries, incentives, and perks are also huge compared to the average day to day professions. This role also offers a wide variety of opportunities for the growth of the individual across different sectors and corporate positions. In addition to all this, the role offers a huge scope for learning, which is invaluable at any stage in life.
So, enroll in an online data analytics course, understand the nature of the job and go deep into it. You could be the next big thing that the organizations would be looking for, and the companies would come running after you.
Sai Digbijay is a content specialist for Data Science and Data Analytics courses at Simplilearn. He writes about a range of topics that include big data, cyber security, project management, cloud computing, and marketing. He values curious minds and scrambles to learn new things.