Data Analyst – What Do They Actually Do?

data analyst

The data industry is one of the hottest industries to join. Why is it so? Every business operates on key decisions, which are formed on large chunks of data. Garnering data and arranging it in a meaningful manner requires skill. Executing such operations is a part of a data analyst’s job. 

Day-to-day responsibilities of a data analyst’s job include executing technical and non-technical tasks. Data analysts are operating in every domain, be it finance, healthcare, or even retail. But what are the roles and responsibilities of a data analyst? Data analysis is a distinctive role that requires knowledge of technical skills. There are plenty of online resources that discuss the essential skills of a data analyst. But there’s still confusion. Let’s look into those dynamic responsibilities of a data analyst. 

What’s the role of a data analyst?

The job responsibilities of a data analyst vary as per the industry. However, we will look at some of the recurring duties of a data analyst, that are required in every domain. Data analysts work in a professional environment, where their findings have a direct impact on the business. Their reports influence decision-making, and their roles require a knack for hard and soft skills. 

1. Identifying the business problem

Primarily, data analysts identify business problems that need solutions. As an organization, if you want to increase your visitors, you can hire a data analyst to evaluate the process. The analyst would deep-dive into the problem, churn data and look for missing elements. After research, he can present solutions to the concerned digital marketing team. His report can include various solutions, such as improving the User Experience of your website.

But probing and presenting honest insights into the problem is the first responsibility of a data analyst. If you don’t know what’s causing a hindrance to your business, then how will you collect data? 

Surely, you would have guessed the next point. 

2. Data gathering

Data analysts then move on to garner data. They collect data from various sources such as surveys, sales reports, and business analytics. Data analysts are required to systematically arrange all the data, and process it for insights. Moreover, they also build data models and database systems that keep all the information structured.

Data modeling is considered to be one of their key responsibilities. In layman’s terms, a data analyst’s job starts with data mining. Raw data builds a strong foundation for advanced data processing. 

Is that it? Do they just gather information? Definitely, not. 

3. Data cleansing

Their key responsibilities also include resolving errors that hamper the consistency of the data. Indeed. We are talking about the data cleansing process. Data cleansing also involves identifying unwanted, erroneous information that doesn’t fit the context of your business problem. It makes sure that their findings are accurate.

Accurate findings are essential for reaching the desired goals. Data analysts need to make sure that they extract high-quality data. Data cleansing is considered a boring task. However, there are many advantages of data cleansing. The decision-making process is directly proportional to it. Defective data can hurt the growth of your organization. 

Cleaning is essential. What’s next? 

4. Data Analysis

Data analysis is the next step. After gathering, refining, and organizing data, the primary responsibility of a data analyst steps in. Scrutinizing data is essential for solving the business problems that we identify. Data analysis involves several layers. To surpass those layers, data analysts involve programming languages and mathematical ability.

Programming knowledge is essential for churning large and complex sets of data. Basically, programming languages like Python and R improve the self-sufficiency of data analysts. They help perform complex mathematical and computing functions easily. Analysis helps in understanding data patterns, and also to know how trends operate. 

This logical approach helps you identify the problem and use data to resolve it. Once insights are prepared, another key responsibility steps in. 

5. Data Visualization

Data Visualization is one of the fundamental duties of a data analyst. Data visualization includes arranging your findings and reports in a visual manner. Visual representations can include charts, tables, icons, bar graphs, and various other infographics.

Data visualization is essential for all parties. It helps both, specialized as well as non-data specialized stakeholders to be on the same page. Moreover, data visualization also makes data interactive and easy to understand. Creative storytelling and eye-catching visuals also allow the user to comprehend data efficiently. Plus, it will help all the parties understand your work. Effective data visualization also helps in identifying the trend correctly. 

Now that we have gathered all the insights, it’s time to present them. 

6. Presenting insights

Now that the report is in your hands and you know what’s missing, you need to present them. Presenting insights involves a vital skill of communication. Communicating efficiently with the audience, and presenting them all your findings is also a data analyst’s responsibility.

Presenting your insights also involves excellent written and verbal communication skills. These skills ensure that you are capable of creating clarity, and not confusion. Also, you would be required to make your insights understandable. Being a data analyst, you would be capable of comprehending technical terms. However, you will have the responsibility of conveying clear insights to non-data specialists. For better understanding, creating visuals and breaking down complex information will be vital. 

These are some of the skills required for becoming a data analyst. A data analyst is not only assigned the role of performing technical operations, but also critical thinking. Critical thinking allows you to ask the right questions, and process information precisely. A great data analyst is also a great problem solver! These soft skills ensure all-around consistency. And as a data analyst, consistency should always be on your mind. 

Data analysis as a career option is trending in the industry. The demand for analysts is growing, as businesses are starting to rely heavily on data. Demand is further creating room for opportunities. Moreover, data analysts also get ample opportunities to switch positions in the data industry. If you are trying to explore the data analytics industry, then surely a good data analytics course will help you. 


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