Top 4 Skills in Demand for Data Analytics

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Updated November 17, 2017

Data Analytics is hot hot hot right now. I am blown away how many questions I receive on the subject of Data Analytics. People want to know where to get trained, what skills they need, and how to land a job in the industry. Since data has really grown in the past 5-7 years it has put a high demand on the need for data analysts and scientists. Although data has been around for decades it has only recently demanded such attention.

Today we are going to cover the most common question I receive. “What are the top skills in demand for data analytics?” Let’s take a look at the top 4 skills you have to have or develop to get a job in Data Analytics.

Let’s Make this Snappy – Here is a quick run through of the skills you will need…

 

1 ) Understand the Industry Sector where you will be working (business, medicine, urban planning, etc…).

Let’s take business for example. Say you are going to be assisting a company as they are about to launch a new product. You need to know who the company should be advertising to, the key interests of those people, and where to reach them (whether social media, print, online, malls, etc..). You need to use data to help drive your decisions. Having a solid understanding of the industry standards you are working in will help you to make better decisions. This will ultimately benefit the company you are working with. You help them win big, and you will be winning big!

 

2 ) Foundational Skills in Mathematics

simple math image

Why is math so important to data analytics? Don’t worry, you wont be performing CRAZY complex math like the image above. You want to eliminate any guess work in your data. You want to have factual evidenced based off of provable data. If you fudge the numbers and estimate the data you could possibly lose a company thousands or even millions of dollars! NOT GOOD. No faulty data! So, math is very important to eliminate any chance of error.

 

3 ) Technical Aptitude in Data Analytics Skills

top skills in data analytics

Why are the technical skills so important. Say you have 10 individuals and you want to draw data from this group to understand their buying habits, how they spend their time, and where they work. With a pen and paper you can quickly extract usable data that would help you understand how to market a product to this group. But, imagine scaling that group up to one million people. That pen and paper aren’t so handy any more. Possessing the technical skills of a data analyst will allow you to quickly scale to this level. As you are building skills to become a data analyst this is where you will need to focus your time if you are new to the technical aspects of computer programming or development. (basically, you are a code freshy!) It is a very wise investment to spend a majority of your time learning the technical skills. 80% of what you will do as a data analyst will be comprised of the technical skills. Some people are under the impression that data analytics is primarily math math math. Math actually only makes up for about 20% of your daily activities. To be a proficient data analyst you will want to develop your skills in “R” (programming language), Microsoft Excel, Hadoop (efficient mass data collection), etc… Developing skills with the industry standard tools will put you at a great advantage when entering the job market.

 

4 ) Communication Skills

data analytics presentation skills

You have mastered the skills of data analytics, you have the data in hand, and you are ready to tell these executives and business managers the findings of your research. You start unloading all of your new found technical expertise, you show the lists of data and algorithms, and you glance out at your audience just in time to notice that their eyes are completely glazed over. You have lost them in the data! As a proficient data analyst you need to be able to communicate a story with your data findings. Show them problems and give them solutions. When you are presenting to an audience outside of the technical sphere of data analysts the data will only help to prove your points, data cannot be THE POINT. Layman will not understand how you scrubbed the data sets using Hadoop, then you built a new algorithm in “R”, which then spit out result A, discovery that result B was in fact correlating with this data set, and then you worked you way through the faulty data, yata yata yata…

Don’t loose them in the details. Develop clear story telling skills in order to communicate the data on layman’s terms.

 

Now that you know the four skills you need to purse a job in data analytics you are ready to get going! One of the greatest opportunities in data analytics is the amount of companies willing to train you AFTER they hirer you! As wonderful as this opportunity is, I would suggest getting ahead of the other applicants and start training. When you get to the job interview you want to be a cut above the rest. If the company is willing to train you, but you are already working on your skills that will show them you are a motivated individual. This is what companies are looking for, the self starters!

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