Career in Data Analytics: 4 non-technical aspects people don’t think aboutThu Nguyen
This article has some important tips for you if you want to build a career in data analytics.
Certain universal truths cannot be denied. The sun will always rise in the east and set in the west. The earth will continue to revolve around the sun for the next 5 billion years. Free from any impurities, water is always tasteless, colourless, and odourless. Here’s another fact that has recently made its way into this club of truisms: the world is, and will increasingly be, driven by data.
You probably didn’t see that coming, did you? I’ll posit that the only reason we don’t pay such close attention to data is because of the sheer quantum of it surrounding us today. In 2018, IBM estimated that more than 2.5 quintillion bytes of data were generated across the globe every day.
The reason behind generating a huge amount of data
Because every action we take, every action we don’t take, every bit of content that we consume, share, or reject all of it adds to the massive and growing pile of information that is created every second of every day. Data is like air essential, yet invisible and we can’t seem to stop generating it.
And, with the growing integration of digital technologies and IoT devices in our lives, the speed of data creation is only set to accelerate in the future.
Naturally, with such a data inundation comes transformation. Enterprises are already tapping into the benefits that a data-centric approach can deliver for their business and are eagerly building their data capabilities to capture the opportunity that looms just over the horizon.
Marketing, strategic decision-making, sales, human resources, supply chain management each and every business function is actively being touched and redefined by data.
Data is changing the job landscape
It is also changing the jobs landscape. We now have specialised roles such as data specialists, data architects, and, for large enterprises, even Chief Data Officers (CDOs). For professionals, the field of data analytics and business intelligence is interesting and lucrative; data-related roles such as data scientists have been consistently highlighted amongst the most promising jobs of the future and currently offer the highest median salaries across the globe.
So, what do you need to benefit from the opportunity that this high-growth sector represents? There are a thousand and one informative blogs about the technical skills that you can acquire to become a data professional. This is why I will focus on the softer aspects, learnt from my personal experiences in this domain that will help you craft a career in the field of data analytics:
Tips to build a career in data analytics
One of the biggest learnings that I’ve had in my career is the need to question everything. It is the part and parcel of the job to identify how to take a process that is working perfectly fine and make it better. This is why a data professional can never, ever, ever be satisfied with the status quo nor should they be. Inculcate a habit of evaluating everything that you observe and use data to back up your observations. The analysis at all times starts with you.
The ability to constantly learn and augment one’s knowledge base is a skill that is of the utmost importance to a data professional. The field itself is dynamic, fast-evolving, ever-changing. To succeed, you will need to stay in step with or maybe even ahead of its evolutionary curve. And the only way to do that is to constantly learn, unlearn, and relearn.
As a data professional, you must remember that there is no fixed path to finding solutions to problems. 1+4’ is just as much a 5’ as 2+3’ is, which is just as much a 5’ as 1+1+2+1’. Even if the end-objective achieved is the same, sometimes one solution works better than the other one. This is why you need to have a flexible and agile mindset that can break down a large problem statement into multiple smaller parts and figure out the solution that delivers the best results. It is also essential to be ready to switch from an idea that initially worked but no longer does, or to try newer ideas that might work better. The question isn’t if’; it is how’.
You might be a wizard when it comes to analysing data, but it will amount to little if that analysis cannot be translated into simple, actionable insights that can be used by the end-user be it a client or an internal stakeholder. Look at how you can simplify and personalise your analytics reports as per the needs of your end-user. Do it constantly and it will become second nature. The objective is to help your end-user make the best decisions backed by data-driven insights that they can readily understand and implement.
Let’s end as we began: with another universal truth. Change or, better yet, entropy will always be the only constant. As a data professional, your entire job revolves around how to best navigate that change, make life simpler for everyone who depends on you, and add value to processes and functions.
Cultivating these soft skills can help you achieve these objectives and complement your technical skillsets to create a lucrative career trajectory in this specialised, high-growth field.