Data Analyst: What it is and why it matters
A data analyst collects, organises and studies data to provide business insight.
The role needs a mix of technical, business and interpersonal skills to analyse and solve problems. They also happen to be highly sought-after - The Open University’s 2021 Future Trends Predictor included Data Analyst in its top ten most in-demand jobs over the next five years.
Data analysts work across all industries in a variety of functions. Whist the business problems differ, the same analytical skills are used for fraud detection, drug trials, marketing campaigns or financial services. An organisation’s data is now valued as a strategic asset. Understanding, managing, analysing, and exploiting the rivers of information is the foundation of the new Digital Economy and analytical skills are at the heart of coordinating the data assets in order to derive value.
There's not a definitive job description when it comes to a data scientist role. But here are a few things you'll likely be doing alongside colleagues in a data science team:
- Collecting large amounts of unruly data and transforming it into a more usable format.
- Undertaking data quality, assurance and validation.
- Solving business-related problems using data-driven techniques.
- Interpreting requirements and presenting data in a clear and compelling way, using graphical representations and data visualisations.
- Working with a variety of software packages and programming languages, such as SAS, R and Python.
- Proven IT, analytical and mathematical skills.
- Communicating both verbally and in writing whilst collaborating with IT and business.
- Discovering insights in data and spotting trends that can help a business’s bottom line.