Analytics is one of the most popular domains today. Regardless of the industry, the demand for skilled Data Analysts is always high. Learners from various academic backgrounds, including technical or non-technical academic streams, are learning the skills required for Data Analyst job roles to build a steady and fruitful career ahead. If you are someone who wishes to learn the skills required for the Data Analyst position, then this blog is a must-read. In this article, we have listed the top 20 essential skills you’d need to build proficiency in:

  1. Analytical Thinking
  2. SQL Database
  3. Decision Analysis
  4. Mathematical and Statistical Skills
  5. Software Analytics
  6. Programming Skills
  7. Functions and Formulas
  8. Data Cleaning and Preparation
  9. Quantitative Skills
  10. Data Visualization Skills
  11. Query Languages
  12. Problem Solving
  13. Domain Knowledge
  14. Advanced Excel
  15. Writing and Communication Skills
  16. Reporting 
  17. Data Exploration
  18. Machine Learning
  19. Data Warehousing
  20. Research

Let’s take a look at the most popular skills required for Data Analytics job role:

1. Analytical Thinking

Most business requirements involve the use of analysis; for example, more often than not, managerial concerns and decisions stem from the metrics of datasets. Analytical thinking is, thus, one of the top skills required for a Data Analyst.

Skillful analytical thinking includes configuring the parameters that need to be considered for defining datasets, analyzing them from different perspectives, and determining variable dependencies. The resulting information can help businesses reach meaningful conclusions. Analytical thinking falls among the must-have skills for Data Analysts as it breaks down complex problems into simple parts and resolves them one at a time. 

2. SQL Database

SQL databases make it to the list of skills needed for a Data Analyst. They are relational databases with structured data stored in tables. A professional Data Analyst must be adept at pulling out relevant information from different tables to draw analysis

3. Decision Analysis

For those wondering about the skills required for a Data Analyst job role, decision analysis remains an obvious reply. A Data Analyst must have a strong command over multi-purpose decision analysis, decision tree, influence diagrams, and even sensitivity analysis.

4. Mathematical and Statistical Skills

Knowledge of mathematical and statistical concepts are rudimentary skills required to be a Data Analyst. With mathematical skills, Data Analysts can pursue logical thinking, identify patterns, and even design algorithms to serve business purposes. Mathematical concepts, including but not limited to linear algebra, calculus, optimization theory, and discrete math, are the skills needed for Data Analytics. Further, a thorough understanding of statistical concepts helps data professionals collect relevant data through a streamlined analysis and presentation. 

Data Analysts must-have skills to facilitate data-based predictions through probability theory, data transformation, regression, classification, statistical computation, and even graphics.

5. Software Analytics

While discussing the skills of Data Analysts, software analytics cannot be missed. Software analytics involve analytical topics at the organizational level, change management, data topics, IT and business users, presentation, and communication. 

6. Programming Skills

Although a Data Analyst’s skill set must span beyond coding to include areas like data crafting and presenting, programming languages are mandatory to execute business operations successfully. Popular programming languages like R, Python, Matlab, and SAS are dominant in the industry. Acquiring knowledge of these popular programming languages is an essential addition to the portfolio of a Data Analyst. It helps in advanced analytics on massive datasets without any need for assistance from external programming experts.

7. Functions and Formulas

Both functions and formulas are imperative skills needed for data analysis. A candidate must have a strong command over standard functions, advanced data calculations, array formulas, and multi-dimensional references to succeed in the field.

8. Data Cleaning and Preparation

Data cleaning and preparation accounts form a significant chunk of work for a professional Data Analyst. They retrieve data from multiple sources and prepare the resultant data for numerical and categorical analysis. It is a critical skill needed for Data Analysts as it facilitates the handling of missing and inconsistent data and is the foundation of most data projects. 

9. Quantitative Skills

Data analysis uses a range of quantitative methods like time axis analysis, probability model, and optimization. 

10. Data Visualization Skills

Data visualization is an excellent skill that businesses list out in their Data Analyst requirement. With skillful data visualization skills, data professionals can easily interpret trends and patterns through numbers. While most find it challenging to draw actionable insights from data-rich spreadsheets, they quickly understand when explained through creative visualization presented by Data Analysts. If you wonder what skills are required for a Data Analyst, creating plots and charts to convey the findings visually can be a crucial one amidst the lot. While listing out the skills needed for Data Analysts, most businesses mention the need for candidates to create clean and visually appealing charts in order to help the audience comprehend data. 

11. Query Languages

Database query languages are the technical skills required for Data Analysts. The most common query language in data analysis includes SQL with its many variations, for example, PostgreSQL, T-SQL, and PL/SQL (Procedural Language/SQL).

12. Problem Solving

People often forget to list ‘problem-solving’ when they mention the skills needed for a Data Analyst. In reality, problem-solving is one of the most crucial skills required for analyzing data. It’s common for industry professionals to work towards mitigating problems, bugs, and roadblocks on a day-to-day basis. 

The nature of business problems can range from coding issues and resource constraints to incomplete data sets. That is why most companies state problem-solving as one of the necessary skills required for a Data Analyst. 

13. Domain Knowledge

Every business presents a distinct set of challenges when it comes to pursuing success. Domain knowledge entails understanding things that are specific to a particular industry or a company. 

Because it can vary from industry to industry, a Data Analyst must continuously research and upskill. Regardless of the nature and the field of the business, data analysis entails decoding data, which is impossible without the necessary domain knowledge. 

14. Advanced Excel

Excel is a commonly preferred data analysis tool for business. Its functionality spans over two-dimensional tables and complex nested tables like line charts, column charts, bar charts, area charts, pie charts, radar charts, combo charts, scatter diagrams, etc. PivotTables and complex functions such as Vlookup can be used to process hundreds of thousands of pieces of data.

15. Writing and Communication Skills

Communication, both verbal and written, forms the basis of all collaborations at a workplace. Speaking of skills needed for a Data Analyst, a professional who is adept at communicating in more than one format stands a chance to succeed in the field. Writing, speaking, explaining, and listening are some vital communication skills that can help Data Analysts succeed. 

16. Reporting 

Reporting is one of the most critical data analysis requirements; it empowers a business organization to make calculated decisions. Data professionals may present their findings through dashboards and reports to allow easy access and avoid glitches. Be it a basic chart, a table with data fillers, or a full-fledged dashboard with gigantic data stacked on to it; data professionals generally present engaging and updatable depictions. 

17. Data Exploration

Data analysis and exploration is one of the primary skills needed to be a Data Analyst. Most of the answers to questions and roadblocks in businesses lie in metrics. An analyst extracts data through data analysis and exploration and explores it to draw trends or relationships among these numbers. 

18. Machine Learning

Machine Learning is one of the most useful skills needed to be a Data Analyst. Understanding the theatrics of technology allows a Business Analyst to stay ahead of the trend curve. 

19. Data Warehousing

Data warehousing is another significant skill required for data professionals. Data Analysts work on the backend to connect databases from multiple sources to create a data warehouse. They often use query languages to look for and manage this data.

20. Research

Lastly, research remains an essential requirement for Data Analysts because they often need to infer accurate trends and patterns to present detailed findings. An analyst should know how to select all relevant and necessary data to derive real insights from it.

Conclusion

To sum it up, this profession is gaining momentum with the evolution of technology. The more businesses rely on automated solutions, the higher the number of data they record. However, this field requires so much more than just knowledge of numbers; we hope we’ve satisfied your curiosity on the skills needed for a Data Analyst! If you wish to become a data-smart and gain relevant management skills from the best minds in the country, you can check out our Future Leaders Program, the Integrated Program in Business Management, a 10-month online instructor-led program in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Management, Indore

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