Data analysts are all about the numbers. In the same way that an archeologist sifts through soil to get to the fossil within, business data analysts sift through statistical information to understand its significance to a particular field. The data analyst collects data, sorts it into categories, and then interprets it. Their job forms the basis for strategic decisions that affect the world we live in every day. Business and industry leaders look to the data analyst to understand the numbers – and how to use them. This makes the role of the business data analyst crucial, but low-key and potentially behind the scenes.
Data Analyst Skills Needed
The data analyst’s role is to be the intelligence behind business intelligence. This role goes beyond data entry and requires an ability to capture the meanings behind a group of numbers. The data analyst understands the why behind the numbers on a screen. Computer skills, coupled with critical thinking are important components of this role. Statistical analysis is key to this profession.
The data analyst is often required to report on their findings, so the ability to write summaries of their findings is important. The data analyst cannot exist solely as a “computer geek”; the role requires collaboration with a variety of departments, sometimes all the way up to the CEO’s desk. Patience with long data strings on an Excel spreadsheet is something that comes naturally to the data analyst. Needless to say, technical expertise with a variety of software tools is a large requirement of this job.
The job environment could include working with teams to tackle specific projects, working from home, or spending long hours in front of computer screens.
Suggested Software Proficiency
The data analyst is very computer-centric. They use complicated computer software and programming algorithms to understand the answers to various research questions.
The software used by data analysts will vary by industry. For example, if you work for a hospital, you may need proficiency in electronic medical records. A supermarket may require your expertise in point of sale and inventory software. Some of the non-industry specific analytics platforms typically utilized in this field include:
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