Data Analyst Skills & Qalifications

What data analyst skills and qualifications are needed for a successful career in business data analysis?

What list of skills you have to put on a resume, CV and job application, when you are searching for a job in data analysis area?

Data Analyst skills and responsibilitiesIt is not a secret that a good data analyst earns a high salary and the demand for this profession is growing up in our high-technology society full of unstructured information.

On this page you will learn:

  • What is a data analyst?
  • What are his main skills and qualifications?
  • What a data analyst do – key job responsibilities and duties.
  • A list of the best and most popular certifications.
  • A list of professional organizations for data analysists.

What Is a Data Analyst? 

A data analyst gather, collect, transform, process and modeling data. He is able to analyze large volumes of structured and unstructured data.

Simply speaking, a data analyst looks at the company numbers and figuring out what they mean for the organization. They are able to translate the numbers into words.

The main goal is to prepare data for decision-making and problem-solving process.

Data analyst also have to present the information in the right form – charts, graphs, tables, and etc.

If you want to be a successful data analyst, it is needed to have a good background in technology, mathematics, statistics, business intelligence, data mining and you have to possess a range of data analyst skills and qualifications.

Data Analyst Skills and Qualifications

1. Analytical Skills

When it comes to jobs related to analysis, it is obvious that analytical skills have the crucial role.

Analytical skills are the ability to collect, gather, visualize and analyze information in details. They include also the ability to see a problem or situation from different points of view.

Analytical skills are key data analyst skills that allow you to solve complex problems by making decisions in the most effective way.

If you want to be a good data analyst, you have to possess, develop and improve analytical thinking and skills.

2. Numeracy Skills

Numeracy skills are basic mathematical skills that include a wide diapason of abilities such as:

  • Numeracy SkillsKnowledge of numbers and figures;
  • Understanding relationships between numbers;
  • Interpreting mathematical information;
  • Ability to remember;
  • Visual perception of information with charts, diagrams, tables;
  • Ability to organize information;
  • Argumentation and logical thinking;
  • Calculation skills;
  • Understanding trends;
  • Scheduling or budgeting;
  • Measurement and data analysis;
  • Working with graphical information;

3. Technical and Computer Skills

Good technical and computer skills are among the vital data analyst skills. A data analyst should be familiar with many tools and software programs.

Good examples here are:

  • SQL databases and database querying languages;
  • Statistical Language (R, SAS, SPSS);
  • Spreadsheet  such as Excel;
  • Big Data tools, such as Spark and Hive HQL;
  • Big Data analytics toolkits, such as SparkSQL, SparkMLlib or Mahout for data analysis at scale;
  • Programming (e.g. XML, Javascript or ETL frameworks);
  • Data visualization and reporting techniques and more…

4. Attention to detail skills

These are crucial data analyst skills too.

Attention to details skills allows a data analyst to find and see hidden details and connections. This ability is very important when it comes to decision-making and problem-solving.

Detail-oriented strengths give you the ability to work better, to be more effective and to minimize the risk of errors.

Companies value and require these strengths, that’s why many people include attention to detail capacity on their resumes, CV and job applications.

5. Business Skills

At leats, but not last, business skills are also on the list of top data analyst skills.

They have a huge impact on the data analyst job and career.

Main business skills needed are:

  • Communication skills
    As a data analyst, you have to work with other people as a team. You have to be able to communicate effectively with managers and colleagues to present and explain data.
  • Problem-solving and decision-making skills
    They go hand in hand with your job and work. Do not forget that the main purpose of the data analyst job is to provide the right information for the needs of problem-solving and decision-making process.
  • Organization and time management skills
    Better time management skills will allow you to do much better your responsibilities and to be able to meet the deadlines that are required.
  • The ability to learn new things, especially about new technology developments.

Data Analyst Responsibilities

All of the listed above data analyst skills will give you the opportunity to do more successfully your job and responsibilities.

The particular responsibilities depend on the size of the company and on the business field.

Some of the most common duties and responsibilities are:

  • Data Analyst ResponsibilitiesConstruct reports and visualizations using different tools such as Excel, Tableau, R or other BI tools;
  • Perform database maintenance activities such as creating databases and objects;
  • Use of SAS, SQL, Informatica, SSAS, SSIS, SSRS, and Excel to automate Quality Control processes;
  • Analyze and interpret and present results using different tools and techniques;
  • Work with business stakeholders and managers to understand reporting requirement and deliver accurate information;
  • Process and perform quality control checks on supplied data;
  • Run standard queries looking for data issues;
  • Identify critical metrics and make recommendations on what data to collect;
  • Proactively identifying data needs;
  • Searching for new opportunities for process improvement.

Data Analytics Certifications

You know that the much more certifications you possess, the much more opportunities you have to get a high-paid job. Although, certifications measure your knowledge!

Fortunately, there are many independent organizations and specific companies providing big data certifications. 

Some of the best and most popular data analyst certifications are:

Professional Organizations For Data Analysists
  • Data Science Association
    The Data Science Association is a non-profit professional group that offers education, professional certification, a “Data Science Code of Professional Conduct” and conferences / meetups to discuss data science (e.g. predictive / prescriptive analytics, algorithm design and execution, applied machine learning, statistical modeling, and data visualization).
  • International Institute for Analytics (IIA)
    The International Institute for Analytics is an independent research firm that works with organizations to build strong and competitive analytics programs.
  • The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS)
    The largest society in the world for professionals in the field of operations research (O.R.), management science, and analytics.INFORMS serves the scientific and professional needs of Analytics Professionals and Operations Researchers including educators, scientists, students, managers, analysts, and consultants.
  • SIGKDD
    SIGKDD’s mission is to provide the premier forum for advancement, education, and adoption of the “science” of knowledge discovery and data mining from all types of data stored in computers and networks of computers.

As you see, if you want to create a successful career in the field of data analysis, there are many factors you have to think about such as: improving your data analytical skills, getting the right certifications and doing your job responsibilities in the most effective way.

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About the Author Marin Valchev

Marin Valchev, PMP is an IT Project Manager with more than 10 years of experience. He implements cutting-edge technology in a wide-range of Financial and TELCO companies in Europe, Asia, and Africa. Marin shares his knowledge of software, analysis, project management and other business areas.

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