What Does The New Data Analyst Look Like?
As data analysis continues to play an increasingly important role in business operations today, we round up the key skills that CIOs are looking for when hiring Data talent.
Picture a Data Analyst. What springs to mind? Maybe someone studying spreadsheets by themselves? Someone with a penchant for numbers…but what about a storyteller or creative thinker? Unless you work with a developed data team every day, your perception of Data Analysts may be fairly limited. But data analytics is finding its place across every industry and will soon have a home in every department – that means yours too. The next wave of Data Analysts then needs a whole lot more than an affinity for numbers to succeed. The existing idea of Data Analysts as solitary statisticians does them a disservice. Here, we redefine the Data Analyst with the needs of today’s increasingly digital world in mind.
With tech changing the way we work day by day, data is one area in which we certainly can’t afford to be complacent. In this ever-evolving environment, Data Analysts must be immensely curious. They should be hungry for the latest data developments and interested in insights from industry leaders. Their curiosity can take data analytics to the next level. Data Analysts’ insight can support the optimisation of Predictive Analytics solutions and Machine Learning, by improving the design of these solutions and the outputs they are generating.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that you can’t bring creativity to a Data Analyst role. But when tasked with sharing data insights with the wider business, Data Analysts must be able to translate their findings into a digestible format. Creating narratives and telling stories with data is one sure fire way to do this. Whether it’s verbally or on paper, combining their numerical skills with creativity to paint a picture is an essential skill. Today’s Data Analysts can then convey their message clearly, so each stakeholders understand what these data insights mean for them and the business as a whole.
As data analysis expands into every department, it’s increasingly important for Data Analysts to be able to collaborate with colleagues across the business. From Data Architects and Database Developers, to Marketing Managers and CFOs, Data Analysts should be able to work alongside a variety of stakeholders. That means being comfortable in adapting their approach and ways of working. Not everyone will be data savvy. Not everyone will be digitally savvy. The ability to explain complex processes and ideas in layman’s terms is key to success. Strong communication skills and the ability to flex their approach lends itself to great working collaborations. It also allows the Data team to have a clear voice and presence across the business by making stakeholders comfortable in the data domain.
Data Analysts must unlock the data their business is sitting on. They have to take the task at hand and go beyond it. Delving deeper into data and taking an investigative approach is the difference between a good Data Analyst and a great one. Step outside the obvious and find valuable data where no one else considered looking. The introduction of AI functionality and natural language searching now allows Data Analysts to focus on adding value through critical thinking.
A successful Data Analyst recognises that they’re not working in isolation. Even if they’re working in a small data team, they should have a strong understanding of the business and industry they’re working in. Learning about the roles of their colleagues, other departments, and how this links into the wider business function allows Data Analysts to make more informed decisions when drawing data insights. Greater visibility of the business means Data Analysts can understand the effect of their analysis and how it impacts the business from a commercial perspective.
At GRAYCE, these are the key qualities we look for when hiring Data Analysts. Through training and mentorship, we develop curious, critical thinkers, that can tell stories with data and adapt their ways of working to meet stakeholder needs. This is how we shape our Data Analysts to be ready to support your change programmes from day one. Find out more about our successful client partnerships here.