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Data Analytics as a Career Option?

What do data analysts/ statisticians usually do in a day? Does the job get stressful? Is the field more or less competitive than average?

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Brandy’s Answer

I currently work in a data analytics role supporting an external client. I would say that the role can get stressful but mostly due to not being able to locate the information that you need to support or create a theory or potential contractual restrictions with how you may handle any issues that you may have identified base on the data. If you are a problem solver then data analytics may be a rewarding career for you. I personally love problem solving and thinking outside of the box when finding solutions. A general day for me is review the companies/ groups current performance and determining what steps have already been taken to provide details behind why performance may have gone up or down. Then I drill further down into the why. Using the data to look for patterns and trend first and then applying that information to determine if it is systematic or potential behavioral from front line employees. You will use the data to tell the story of why certain things occur and to create action plans that will address items that have a negative impact.
Thank you comment icon Thank you for the wonderful advice! This really helps!! Jessie
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Chirayu’s Answer

I am currently a data analyst and enjoy very much with what I do day to day. It is definitely a very interesting field if you have interest in problem solving, finding trends and patterns within the data itself. Companies nowadays are storing huge amounts of data and data analyst are needed everywhere from storing data, organizing data, able to manipulate the data to show trends and patterns. There are many fields with data analytics one can pursue as there are many different skills you can learn. To find out if you have an interest in it, big datasets can be found online for free and then you can build dashboards out of it and see if that sparks an interest. Data analyst gather data and then are also responsible for presenting that data to others. There are many tools that I use currently from excel, power bi, sql, etc and these can be learned online for someone who wants a career in data analyst. Good luck in your future.
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Pete’s Answer

Hi Jessie,

Data analytics is a great career path to pursue with skills that are translatable to almost any industry. A typical day would vary depending on the specific field, but there are certain aspects I believe would be fairly consistent. The bulk of the time is spent looking at raw data and organizing into groups and analyzing that data to identify trends or outliers. An example of how to think of the work of a data analyst is to imagine a pile of Legos on a table. You can then sort those Legos by size, shape, color, etc. Next you would arrange that data in a visually meaningful way (charts/graphs) and then use those visuals to tell a story (the Legos can be used to build xyz) and the final step would be to make actionable recommendations based on the information you have gathered.

With regard to stress levels, it would be dependent on the given field or organization that you would work for but generally it is low stress as long as you have the ability to meet or exceed deadlines and have meaningful insight to provide that helps propel the business forward. Additionally, to set yourself up for success, try and learns as many different skills and platforms as you can that are commonly used by data analysts such as SQL, Teradata, Tableau, etc. as well as brush up on your data visualization skills in Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets as these are widely used in almost all industries. Staying on top of these skills will keep you competitive when seeking employment in the role.
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Michael’s Answer

Hi Jessie,

Data Analysts and Statisticians are career paths that deal with data, numbers, etc., but they are two separate entities. Both roles are challenging, competitive and rewarding. Stress is all relative and how one handles the stress. If one becomes stuck looking for, analyzing and deriving insights from the data, it is best to seek advice and help from teammates, colleagues and other professionals who have experience in the field.

Speaking from experience from being a Data Analyst and now a Consultant, there are several major components of analyzing data:

1. What is the ask? Why are you pulling data?
2. Who is your target audience?
3. Where to find the data, how to pull the data together and how to tell the story within the data?
4. How to transform the data into visualizations for the target audience to understand the relationships/trends in the data?

If you have interests in becoming a Data Analyst, it is recommended to build up you tool arsenal background by learning and getting certifications in the following:

1. Teradata SQL - www.teradata.com or Miccrosoft SQL Server - https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/sql-server/sql-server-2019
2. Tableau - www.tableau.com
3. Qlik - www.qlik.com
4. Thoughspot - www.thoughtspot.com

Other data languages that can help you as a Data Analyst - R, Python and Hadoop.

Hope this helps and best wishes in your career journey!

Michael recommends the following next steps:

Professional Certifications - SQL, Tableau, Qlik or Thoughtspot
Seek out advice from Data Analytic Professionals
Utilize the Career Center at your college for additional assistance and leads
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Andrew’s Answer

Another professional you might consider looking into is being a data scientist. I am not one myself but I work closely with that team at our company. It is basically data analytics on steroids, using machine learning, visualization, and data transformation to drive some really interesting analytics. From a business perspective, data science is the future for providing information in the best possible way to make the right business decisions. It is a growing field that I think will be considered the "norm" in business ten years from now so the competition is relatively low vs what it will be in the future.

Good luck!
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Reid’s Answer

I studied engineering in university but pivoted my career to data, analytics and project management. I felt really good about developing my technical skills in the field of data because it is very transferrable to almost every industry. I enjoy being involved in the business and operations side and the technical data and development. This allows me to create solutions that solve real business problems I get exposed to. This is very much a growing field and the requirements for senior leadership to have experience with data and how to utilized and leverage it in their business is also becoming more common.
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