The data analyst career is one of the popular Information Technology (IT) career tracks available today.
The term data analyst is loosely associated with business data analysts, systems analysts, database analysts, reporting specialists, data researchers, statistical data analysts or marketing data analysts!
However, in this article, I will explain who a data analyst really is and provide a career roadmap or plan for becoming a data analyst.
Who Is A Data Analyst?
The term data analyst refers to someone who works with data or makes sense of the information buried in raw data or draws inferences and conclusions from it.
A data analyst is someone who performs queries or mines data for information or nuggets of insight and information.
According to Wikipedia, data analysis is the process of looking at or summarizing data with the intent of extracting useful information and developing conclusions.
What Is The Job Outlook For Data Analysts?
There is an increasing need to aggregate information in databases and analyze, research or query it for meaning, clues, trends or insight that will help organizations do better or become more competitive in their marketplace.
This trend to store and analyze vast quantities of data at every level of business has spawned the “Analytics” industry.
For example, when you visit a website at Amazon.com or NetFlix or Ebay, your visit history is stored and analyzed by a group of people known as web analysts who specialize in analyzing web visitor data.
The data analyst is growing in importance because of the trend towards storing and analyzing increasing amounts of data, so that organizations can compete based on insight, information and intelligence gleaned from their databases.
Data Analyst Roles and Responsibilities
If you are looking for a data analyst job or position, make sure you can demonstrate the skills listed below on your resume when you apply for a data analyst position:
- You must demonstrate the ability to analyze large data sets
- You must show an expert ability to analyze, research or query data using SQL
- You must have the ability to report on data using enterprise, industry standard reporting tools like SQL Server Reporting Services, Crystal Reports and Business Objects
- You must have logical, problem solving skills.
- You must have strong analytical skills
- You must be able to present, interpret, discuss or write about the conclusions, inferences and results gained from researching data
- You must be able to analyze data in Excel, prepare Excel spreadsheets or PowerPoint presentation to explain your results.
- You must be able to research concepts and issues on the Internet using search engines and other web based research tools
Data Analyst Job Interviews
Job interviews typically address all the positions on your resume.
So, if you present a data analyst resume to an employer, you must be able to talk intelligently about all the positions, skills and responsibilities listed on that resume.
In addition, you may expect a data analyst job interview to include database design interview questions, database development interview questions, and SQL interview questions.
So you will must have SQL coding and Database Development skills.
You also need to have a strong mastery of a variant of SQL like T-SQL and database development on a specific enterprise database platform like Microsoft SQL Server.
Here is a link you can use to get all the data analyst education (statistical data analysis), relational database training and SQL query writing training you will need to fulfill your data analyst roles and responsibilities. Click here for more information on online data analyst training.
Finally, you need to understand trend analysis . For example, given a SQL Server marketing database, you need to be able to search for patterns or identify trends using SQL queries or T-SQL queries to be exact.
How Do Data Analyst Jobs Compare To Business Analyst Jobs Or Computer Programmer Jobs?
1. How does a data analyst job compare to a business analyst job?
One way of comparing the data analyst’s job to the business analyst’s job is to say that the data analyst majors on database analysis or data analysis while the business analyst focuses on business process analysis.
The data analyst is expected to be an expert at querying databases using SQL, writing reports in Crystal Reports, Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services or Business Objects and analyzing or presenting data in Microsoft Excel.
On the other hand, the business analyst focuses on requirements analysis, UML, Use Cases and business process improvement.
2. How does a data analyst job compare to a computer programmer job?
Computer programmers focus more on the design and development of database applications and software applications.
Computer programmers need to master all aspects of the software development life cycle, database design, database development, web and windows application development and data reporting.
Data analysts focus on database analysis, database design, data preparation, data quality and data reporting.
Online Data Analyst Training Opportunities
One of the technical skills that is most in demand for data analyst positions is the ability to research data stored in relational databases like Oracle, MySQL, Microsoft Access (MS Access), Microsoft SQL Server using SQL.
The beginner to advanced online data analyst training offered on Data Analysts Boot Camp covers the training requirements for data analyst positions.