9 Essential Skills Your Data Analyst Must Have

Data analysts are information translators that possess skill sets which greatly influence your business operations, sales goals, and various other projects. Through data analysis and understanding your business’s trends, patterns, and insights give you have the ability to simplify your sales funnel, reduce waste, and improve productivity. There are a few essential skills sets to look for when looking to hire a data analyst based in Washington, D.C.

In this article we touch on the most essential skills every data analysts needs in order to provide your business with insights and information that is relevant and conclusive. For information and detailed tips on how to use data analysts for your business read our short guide here.

Organized and Detailed Work Ethic

When analyzing data even a small mistake can make a huge difference further along the line. If compiling, gathering, and segmenting information is performed in a haphazard way by your data analyst you could end up with misleading results and inconclusive solutions. Inaccurate information can point you in a false direction, waste time, and impact your ability to reach your goals.  

Given the importance of receiving and interpreting reliable data it is essential that your data analyst organize, structure, and present data in various forms. Prior to hiring your data analysts in Washington D.C. request to view spreadsheets, reports, and presentations. Check these items for details, structure, and relevant visuals.

Interpret A Database Query Language

It is often necessary to extract data in order to perform analysis operations. To do this well your data analyst should be experienced in a database query language such as SQL. This skill set ensures that the information is easily pulled upon request as well as analyzed properly. There are various forms of database query languages used today.

Speak with you prospective data analysts about the languages they are well versed in. Some of the most popular softwares today include Apache Hive and Pig, and SparkSQL.  

Other statistical languages and packages that can be used by your analysts include SAS and SPSS. Being well versed in tools and languages ensures that your analyst is able to work effectively with minimal training and oversight. Additionally, having a command in various software languages and programming is a relevant skill for a data analyst who will be required to work with vast amounts of data frequently. Often these analyst hold certifications in select softwares and programming languages.

Proficient in Arithmetic

The saying goes, “Arithmetic is to mathematics as spelling is to writing.” Arithmetic is something we all learn from an early age, however, many of us stop at algebra or geometry. Your data analysts should be proficient in handling numbers and equations. Arithmetic is one’s ability to manipulate number sequences and often deals with calculations. Truly experienced data analyst are confident in calculations, sequencing, and numerical statements.  

As you seek a business and data analyst for your next project discuss the various forms of arithmetic they have engaged in from past 3 years. Choose the candidate with a strong background in arithmetic and experience in working with numbers on a regular basis. This skill set also simplifies how your reports are most likely to be presented and structured for easy understanding.  

Create User Friendly Spreadsheets

The ability to build and structure a spreadsheet is a basic requirement that is often overlooked.  It is vitally important for your data analyst to be able to take the information discovered and present it in a way that your entire team can understand and interpret. Spreadsheets with various headings, pivots, and charts are difficult to navigate for many users. The use of formulas, tables, and sorting should always be utilized to ensure your team is on one page.

Your data analysts must be able to carrying out advanced tasks on a spreadsheet in order to manipulate the figures in numerous ways. It is not enough for a data analyst to just be able to put data into rows. Your project is likely to require a analysts that can complete tasks such as making reports and creating dashboards.

Firm Grasp of Statistics

A data analyst must have a well-rounded knowledge of statistics. This allows them to determine when to use different techniques to achieve the required results. Identify a candidate with a sound knowledge in areas such as statistical tests, maximum likelihood estimators, and hypothesis testing. The ability to implement and utilize statistics for any project gives you sound results that are supported based on various factors such as annual data or industry trends.

Ask your prospective data analyst how they plan to go about gathering statistics and using the information when preparing reports and summaries. Also consider asking them to research basic information and data about your industry and niche. Present this information to your team for review prior to beginning your project.

Perform Data Wrangling or Munging

Data wrangling and mungling involves taking raw data and translating it into a form that is more conveniently consumed by semi-automated tools and programs. It is essential that your analyst possess this particular skill if you business has yet to implement a completely digital operating and sales process. Wrangling or munging involves finding a way of converting or mapping data that is presented in inconsistent formats. This makes raw data easier to work with and can save a lot of problems later on in the process.

Present your most challenging data scenario to your prospective analysts. Pay close attention to their ability to interpret, structure, and deliver the information in a more convenient form.

Data Visualization Techniques

This essential skill simply answers the question: how will your data analyst present their findings to you? You need your business analyst to possess the skill set to present solutions in an easy to navigate and understand presentation. Visualization tools such as d3.js and ggplot are examples of the kind of visuals that you will want them to be familiar and well versed in. 

Flexible Communication Skills

At some point you will need to make big decisions based on the work carried out by your data analyst in Washington D.C. This means that you need an analyst who is excellent at communicating their findings with colleagues from different backgrounds, departments, and focuses. A good data analyst should be comfortable presenting presentations to both technical and non-technical members of your team.

It is easier to evaluate communication skills in person. During your interview pay close attention to your data analyst’s ability to make eye contact, confidence, and speech patterns. Do they speak fast? Are they using language that is easy to understand?

Efficient Time Management

Hand holding for business owners is a nightmare. It is even more so when engaging the help of a data analyst. Selecting an analyst that has a proven track record of completing projects prior to due dates or within required time frames ensures that your data will always be present, up to date, and relevant as you require it.

Efficiently managing time involves not simply just compiling and analyzing data but also presenting the data for your team to use when needed effectively. Ask your prospective analyst to provide examples of when they completed a project quickly with positive outcomes or samples of the presentation.  

Aside from a firm grasp on how to navigate business intelligence systems and analyzing information, your data analyst should also be proficient in these various other skills. An inexperienced data analyst may cause you to make mistakes in your everyday operations, delay launching a product, or reduce productivity.

To find a data analyst that meets your needs and possesses these essential skills consult with dc Analyst to get started.