Currently, the data analyst profession is one of the most demanded in the labor market. This is a new direction in IT, but even someone who has never worked in this industry can understand if they want to. 👉In this post we explain what a data analyst does, as well as what they should know.
The data and its importance
The easiest way to present data is as a table in Excel. There the columns favor the classification of the important information of the clients, since they are placed according to certain parameters. Everything must be clearly ordered and understandable, although the opposite can happen: the tables can be out of order, there may be an error in the download code, the data may not arrive from all the servers because they may be partially lost in the transfer , etc. That’s why the first thing a data analyst should do is check the accuracy , completeness , and reliability of the data. This doesn’t sound very exciting, but then comes the fun part.
Data Analyst Duties
As a general rule, the data analyst works with information matrices, performing a whole set of functions independently:
- The data collection.
- The preparation of data for analysis (sampling, cleaning, classification).
- The search for patterns in information sets.
- Data visualization to quickly understand current results and future trends.
- The formulation of hypotheses to improve certain business metrics by modifying other indicators.
Each of these tasks is necessary to achieve the main objective of the data analyst: to extract valuable information for the company that allows it to make optimal management decisions.
In some companies, the data analyst is also responsible for data modeling, that is, developing and testing machine learning models ( machine learning ). However, in most cases, machine learning is the responsibility of a researcher or data scientist. In a more detailed division of labor, machine learning is the responsibility of an independent specialist.
It is also worth noting that the data analyst sometimes examines business processes and collaborates closely with other information technology professionals in describing the flow as well as the storage of business information. Thus, the data analyst’s area of responsibility also includes Business Intelligence (BI) tasks and the optimization of production processes.
Data Analyst Competencies
According to the tasks described above, the following areas of knowledge required in a data analyst can be identified:
- Information technology that includes methods and tools for data mining ( Data Mining ), programming languages (R, Python, etc.) and SQL-like languages to write queries to non-relational and relational databases, as well as information systems. BI, ETL repositories, and data marts like Tableau, Power BI, QlikView, etc., as well as Apache Hadoop infrastructure fundamentals .
- Mathematics (statistics, probability theory, discrete mathematics).
- Systems analysis , quality management, project management and business process analysis methods (lean manufacturing approaches, SWOT, ABC, PDCA, IDEF, EPC, BPMN, etc.).
On the other hand, the applied knowledge and practical experience of the subject area in which the data analyst works will be very useful. For example, accounting fundamentals will be useful to a data analyst in a bank, and marketing techniques will help in analyzing information about customer needs or evaluating new markets.