What is a Data Analyst?

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 Data Analyst 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.