Data can be defined as a collection of qualitative or quantitative variables and data analysts are responsible for collecting, organizing, and analyzing data in a manner that helps businesses make better decisions. Every business makes information using data directly or indirectly, from small startups to large enterprises so there are many different types of data analyst roles in the business world. Still, some key traits are essential for all effective data analysts to have.
Here are 4 traits of an effective data analyst.
The truth is that collecting and analyzing data is not the easiest thing in the world. Especially in this information age where the amount of data available grows exponentially every day.
This is where critical thinking comes in. A data analyst needs to be able to sift through all the necessary data and identify the signal from the noise. They need to be able to think critically about the collected data and come up with conclusions that are based on evidence, not just assumptions.
For instance, imagine that you’re trying to figure out why your website’s traffic has been declining over the past few months. A critical thinker would look at all the data, including website analytics, social media metrics, and user feedback, to try and identify the root cause of the problem.
Although advancements in technology have resulted in a lot more data to sift through, it has also given rise to the invention of all sorts of tools with advanced analytics features that aid the data analysis process. So to be effective, they need to be tech-savvy enough to know how to use these kinds of tools to their full potential.
Why? A data analyst who has the skill of using the latest data analytics software to extract data from various sources, clean and process it, and then analyze it is preferable to one who primarily works with a pen and paper for good reason.
Only the former can draw accurate conclusions and make sound recommendations unimpeded by human error.
Let’s face it. A discussion around data analysis can be difficult to follow, so you don’t want a data analyst who can’t articulately explain their findings to people from all levels of the organization.
They need to be able to take complex concepts and explain them in simple terms, engagingly presenting their findings using charts, graphs, and other visual aids.
This includes being able to explain their findings to non-technical staff, as well as being able to work with IT staff to implement recommendations.
In the business world, time is of the essence.
For example, trends and patterns change quickly, so data analysts need to be able to work fast to keep up. Also, businesses often need quick turnaround times for important decisions so this is another scenario where data analysts will need to be able to work under pressure to meet tight deadlines.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that accuracy should be sacrificed for speed. Instead, a balance has to be struck between the two.
These are four key traits of an effective data analyst. If you’re looking to hire a consultant, make sure that they have all of these traits. And if you’re looking to become a data analyst, start working on developing these skills.