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How to Become a Data Analyst

A tablet displaying several types of graphs and charts.

Our current infrastructure relies heavily on technology. The tech industry is growing with a constant need for new talent, and this industry is constantly changing and adapting to its needs. The recent artificial intelligence boom is evidence of this.

Data analysis is a critical job in the tech industry. It is always in demand and pays well. In this article, we’ll review data analytics for beginners and how to equip yourself for a career in this field.

What Does it Mean to Be a Data Analyst?

Data analysts have a place in nearly every industry. They review raw data to discover trends, make predictions, and answer questions about brand or product performance. They closely monitor customer behavior and look for ways to solve problems.

Their job is to draw meaningful conclusions from statistics or any data collected. These conclusions can also include creating data visualizations and write-ups, so communication is crucial to this job.

What Does it Mean to Be a Data Scientist?

You may have heard the term data scientist before. This term describes a different job within the data industry. The main task of data scientists is to create complex models, frameworks, and algorithms to collect the data. They collect and organize data so the analysts can use them.

Data science jobs pay more and require a higher understanding of programming languages and data mining. A data scientist could be an excellent second job if you’re interested in computers and data.

Types of Data Analytics

Different types of data analysis make up this field. They offer various career paths to take within the data analysis field. Each of these jobs has a unique spin and goal.

A display showing several types of graphs and charts.

Descriptive Analytics

This field is the most straightforward kind of study. The descriptive analysis describes what has happened. These results answer questions like:

  • Did the number of impressions increase?

  • Was revenue up or down?

  • How many sales did we make?

These answers give insight into the company’s past performance, which is crucial for investors, business leaders, and decision-makers.

Diagnostic Analytics

Diagnostic analytics gets more complex, answering the question of “why?”

  • Why did our number of impressions increase?

  • Why was revenue up or down?

  • Why did sales increase?

It looks at the bigger picture and other data factors that affect the witnessed trends.

Predictive Analytics

Predictive analytics answers the question, “what will happen?”

  • What will happen to our number of impressions?

  • Will our revenue be up or down?

  • Will sales increase?

Using data from past events and other relevant data, these data professionals look for patterns and trends to find what will most likely happen in the future.

Prescriptive Analytics

These analysts answer the question, “what should be done?”

This job looks at what the predictive analysts have found and applies it to future business decisions. They work to help remove as many uncertainties about the future as possible.

They do this by using machine learning and statistical model strategies to find the likelihood of various outcomes.

What Skills Does a Data Analyst Need?

Data analysis seems complex, but learning it is something you can do from the comfort of your own home.

Hard Skills

The data analysis process requires knowledge of several programs, an ability to navigate databases, and coding. Here are some programming languages typically used in this field:

  • R

  • Python

  • Structured Query Language (SQL) Coding is not the only hard skill you’ll want to work on if you seek a job in this field. Spreadsheets, data mining, machine learning, and statistics and probability are all areas you should learn more about.

To increase your probability of getting hired, getting certified is also a good idea. That sounds like a pretty big deal (and it is), but it’s easy to get certified through the REDC’s online course on data analytics.

Illustration of coworkers discussing around a board table.

Soft Skills

To excel at data analytics, we recommend you acquire some soft skills. Soft skills don’t require specific knowledge about how something works, but they take an employee to the next level.

Because you’ll be working with big sets of data and numbers can be confusing, you’ll need to be able to communicate well. You’ll be talking with bosses about your data and informing their decisions. Your conclusions and how you reach them need to be precise.

You’ll also be required to problem-solve and work within a team. Problems will happen, and being able to find solutions and offer meaningful suggestions will make you stand out.

You’ll also need keen attention to detail.

Do You Need a Degree?

Analyzing data does not require a degree, but it does help. Learning the basics of data analytics can be done at home using online learning resources.

While there are many benefits to acquiring degrees in data analysis, online learning, soft skills, and micro-credentials could be enough for you to break into this industry. The internet has a lot of information and many learning opportunities you can tap into and begin learning today.

A man working at a laptop from a home office.

How to Get Started in Data Analytics

  1. The first thing you need to do when starting data analytics is be open to learning. Absorb as much as you can. Follow relevant blogs, read books, watch videos, take introductory data analytics courses, and don’t stop learning. You should practice your technical skills until you’re comfortable with your working knowledge of various programs.

  2. The next step might take time. Start looking for a job, and take an entry-level data position in an industry you’re curious about. If you’re having difficulty finding a career in Yavapai County, connect with the REDC and attend local job events.

  3. Start building a portfolio of your work. Your portfolio doesn’t have to be things you’ve done for pay, but can include anything you completed for a class or personal learning.

Jumpstart your Career at REDC

Data analysis for beginners looks like a massive undertaking. However, this field might be an excellent fit if you’re interested in numbers, computers, and technology.

Get a leg up on the competition by getting a data analytics certification and any other technical certification or credentials from REDC. Find your network and begin growing your career with us today!

Home LinkThe REDC is a Division of Yavapai College.Go to yc.edu

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