As businesses rely a lot more on Big Data and analytics to make crucial tactical decisions, the value of a data analyst has skyrocketed in recent years.
Depending on their position, seniority, and the industry they work in, a data analyst might have a variety of duties, from writing algorithms to publicly presenting critical data insight to top executives.
Many data analyst jobs are very specialized, and the skills needed to succeed in each kind can vary. For instance, a data analyst working in healthcare might need a working knowledge of the medical data they are processing.
Given the significance of the job, data analysts are paid well, particularly those analysts with many years of experience and specialized skill sets. However, getting one of these jobs requires specific skills, and many years of highly technical education.
The primary areas of responsibility include collaborating with end-users to determine data reporting needs, working with executives to develop guidelines for data management, creating data-related documentation, handling data inquiries, providing technical support, setting data quality standards, addressing quality issues and communicating data-related initiatives across the country.
Depending on the nature of the job, the technical qualifications required for a data analyst will vary. However, these professionals should have a robust knowledge of data tools and platforms.
All data analysts should know how to use R and Python, as these languages are currently driving data analytics. Data analysts should also know essential analytics software tools, such as PostgreSQL, Knime, Tableau, Google Fusion Tables, and Apache Hadoop. Knowledge of SQL is also critical for many employers.
There are also many essential certifications that data analysts can acquire to validate their technical abilities, like CCA Data Analyst, Data Science Council of America Certification, and SAS Certified Data Scientist. These certifications can significantly boost your value in the labor market, and sometimes translate into pay increases.
When a hiring manager is interviewing for a data analyst position, they generally want to know if a candidate has the appropriate skillset for the position, can pull useful ideas from analyzed data and communicate insights to others in the company.
A standard analyst job posting will highlight the ideal candidate’s blend of technical abilities and soft skills, such as critical thinking skills, self-motivation, the capacity to work with both technical and non-technical co-workers, and the ability to communicate effectively.
During an interview, a data analyst applicant should be prepared to discuss his/her ability to communicate with non-technical employees, their skill with various analytics software tools, the methods they use to tackle data-analytics projects, how they deal with stress, and what drew them to working in data analytics.
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