This post answers a question about the educational training requirements for a Data Analyst Career.
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Is Statistics / Sql Required For Data Analyst Jobs?
I have a degree in Statistics and I am finding it hard to get a data analyst job even though people from other backgrounds are able to get data analyst jobs.
If you have not studied statistics or you do not have a mathematical background, how could you analyze data accurately?
I know that there is a difference between presenting data in charts and graphs interpreting data
I have seen that firms employ data analysts who do not have statistical or data mining training … so how can they make the critical decisions needed?
In college I learnt how people without statistical training make errors when they attempt data analysis. However, in the “real world” I see database developers making those same mistakes!
Do I have to become a database developer to become a data analyst?
Here is my Answer to the Career Question:
Yes, your observation is right. There is a difference between learning statistical data analysis in college and becoming a data analyst!
To understand why this difference exists, you need to look at the data analyst hiring process from the Employers’ point of view and not from a “Statistician Looking For Work” point of view!
From the employers’ point of view, your statistical skills may not be adequate for the work at hand because the data you will be analyzing resides in relational database management systems (RDBMS) which you may not be skilled in querying even though you have a statistical college degree!
You actually have to be comfortable with accessing or manipulating data stored in relational database management systems without asking for help from sql developers or database administrators!
The Gap Between Data Analyst College Education and Data Analyst Careers
Sometimes there is a gap between the statistical courses taught in colleges and the real-world data analysis job descriptions posted by hiring managers.
In college, data analysts are often trained to rely on tools like SAS, Excel or Statistical Data Analysis skills only.
In the real world, employers are looking for a combination of data collection skills, relational database design and development skills, data quality skills, data standardization skills, sql data manipulation skills and sql data definition skills and data analysis skills.
The statistical data analysis part is needed along with strong relational database software system skills
The Gap Between College Education And Real-World IT Careers
In the Information Technology (IT) Industry, there are usually gaps or differences between college courses and real-world IT Career Job Postings.
For example there is a gap between:
Getting an MBA and Becoming a Business Analyst
Getting a Computer Science Degree and Becoming a Computer Programmer
Getting a Statistics Degree and Becoming a Data Analyst
Getting a Statistics Degree in college does not necessarily give you an advantage over someone who directly transitions into the data analysis career by first getting the database development skills or hands-on sql programming experience required for careers in data analysis!
So, even with your background in statistics, you still need to get the additional database skills, sql skills skills and hands-on data analysis experience required by hiring managers for data analyst careers.
The Direct Path to Becoming a Data Analyst
The direct path to becoming a data analyst includes getting a combination of statistical skills, data analysis skills and database skills.
So, the requirements for a data analyst career include:
Database Development Skills
SQL Programming Skills
Data Analysis Skills
If you only have statistical skills and you don’t have relational database management skills, you may not be qualified for an Information Technology (IT) data analyst job!
So, my recommendation is that you get strong database development skills and strong SQL skills because these are both required in data analyst job postings along with Statistics Data Analysis skills
The of hiring Data Analysts is usually done by IT Managers are more familiar with the value of database development skills or SQL programming skills than they are with Statistical tools.
So, if you really want to get hired as a data analyst, I suggest that you get as comfortable with databases and SQL as you are with Statistics!
I suggest that you read these articles to get additional background information:
This post answers the question “Are Statistics Or SQL Skills Required In Data Analyst Careers?”.
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