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What is a Data Analyst?

Published on
September 14, 2023

Data Analyst Meaning

Data analysts are the people who take that data and use it to help companies make better business decisions. The job of a data analyst is to take that data and use it to help companies make better business decisions. They're often responsible for:

  • Interpreting data and analyzing results using statistical techniques and providing ongoing reports
  • Developing and implementing data analyses, data collection systems and other strategies that optimize statistical efficiency and quality
  • Acquiring data from primary or secondary data sources and maintaining databases/data systems.
  • Work with management to prioritize business and information needs.
  • Report on findings of analysis in an easy to understand manner by translating complex findings into simple, actionable recommendations.

Data analysts are often considered the go-to people for information in a business, as they are able to use software and statistics to interpret data more effectively than anyone else. Given the technical nature of the role and the new-found importance placed on data and business intelligence, data analysts are in high demand across every industry. They're also often the data stewards of an organization, especially if they're a one-person team or a part of a small data team.

While data analysts commonly work with large amounts of quantitative data, they also need to be able to communicate their findings in a way that non-technical people can understand. This is why they need to have both technical and soft skills.

Sample job description

From betterteam.com, here is an average job description for a data analyst.

Data Analyst Responsibilities:

  • Managing master data, including creation, updates, and deletion.
  • Managing users and user roles.
  • Provide quality assurance of imported data, working with quality assurance analysts if necessary.
  • Commissioning and decommissioning of data sets.
  • Processing confidential data and information according to guidelines.
  • Helping develop reports and analysis.
  • Managing and designing the reporting environment, including data sources, security, and metadata.
  • Supporting the data warehouse in identifying and revising reporting requirements.
  • Supporting initiatives for data integrity and normalization.
  • Assessing tests and implementing new or upgraded software and assisting with strategic decisions on new systems.
  • Generating reports from single or multiple systems.
  • Troubleshooting the reporting database environment and reports.
  • Evaluating changes and updates to source production systems.
  • Training end-users on new reports and dashboards.
  • Providing technical expertise in data storage structures, data mining, and data cleansing.

Data Analyst Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college in computer science.
  • Work experience as a data analyst or in a related field.
  • Ability to work with stakeholders to assess potential risks.
  • Ability to analyze existing tools and databases and provide software solution recommendations.
  • Ability to translate business requirements into non-technical, lay terms.
  • High-level experience in methodologies and processes for managing large-scale databases.
  • Demonstrated experience in handling large data sets and relational databases.
  • Understanding of addressing and metadata standards.
  • High-level written and verbal communication skills.

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