Analytics is a lucrative and high-growth field, and can be a great way to progress your career while building off your prior knowledge. In most organizations, there are very few members who have the skills to understand and analyze data. Those who are data-literate are needed and valued across all industries, departments, and seniority levels.
If you are considering transitioning into a career in analytics, here are the steps you can take to understand what that career might entail, learn the tools to solve problems, and make your next career step a reality.
Great analysts come from a range of different backgrounds, but all of them use data to draw conclusions, instead of the other way around. Before you jump into your job search, start focusing on the everyday statistics and numbers in your life. Next time you take a stance on a topic at a company meeting or out with friends, ask yourself:
To exercise this mindset, pick a debate on a topic you don’t know much about. (Maybe it’s Biggie vs. Tupac or Is college necessary? ) Compile all of the relevant, objective data you can find, and use that data to formulate a position in the debate. Better yet, come up with two contradictory arguments based on the same data. See how your final position compares to any preconceived notions you had. Now, challenge yourself by incorporating that methodology into your every day.
Analytics isn’t a stand-alone field, but rather a tool you can use wherever data is collected. Unlike many other hard-coding careers, analytics builds off your expertise in other areas, and analytical roles can vary depending on the context of the industry, department, and role.
Picture your current or desired field, and become more cognizant of how data is used there. If you don’t have insight or access to reports or datasets, you can look up public data sets from places like the KD Nuggets directory or Kaggle to see what metrics are being recorded. Imagine an analyst role in your chosen field, and try to answer these questions:
Now that you’ve assumed the analytical mindset and understand the context of how data is used in your field, start learning the tools that will make you invaluable. Today’s most in-demand analytical tools include Excel, SQL, R, and
Python. Although tools and languages may change every few years, the fundamentals behind them remain mostly the same.
When you become proficient in one tool, you equip yourself with the skills to learn the next tool more easily. With that in mind, don’t try to speed past Excel and basic statistics in order to learn the shiniest new scripting language. The most important skill in analytics is the ability to adapt to new technologies.
Different people have different learning styles, and you can choose from a number of ways to learn, such as online courses, bootcamps, or master’s programs. To discover what is best for you, ask yourself:
When it comes to technical roles, employers want concrete evidence of what you can do. Now that you have some technical coding knowledge, you want to start building the greatest weapon in your career trajectory: your portfolio. Not only will a portfolio surpass the greatest resumé ever made, it will make sure that you are constantly working on and polishing your skills.
Whether you love it or hate it, networking is always going to be on any list about career advancement. The longstanding weak ties theory says that weak acquaintances, not close friends, will be responsible for impacting major events in your life. Expanding your network is important, and there are ways you can do that that don’t involve typical networking events.
Career transitions don’t happen overnight, and there is no shortcut to becoming a data analyst. Regardless of your prior experience and future goals, the Level data analyst toolkit is a next step for anyone looking to leverage their analytics skills into a career move or career advancement. The Level data analyst toolkitincludes:
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