Data Analyst - the most in-demand profession. How to find the best candidates?
In an era of increasing digitalization and technological growth, the demand for analytical skills will continue to grow. Already today, companies are struggling to find the best candidates. Can this problem be solved, and how?
Almost a decade ago, Harvard Business Review called the data analytics profession "the sexiest job of the 21st century." - 10 years later, we can confidently confirm the validity of these words. According to James Milligan of Hays, data has become the new currency as the ever-evolving digitization embraces every market aspect. IDC estimates that global data will reach 180 zettabytes in size by 2025! This voluminous data will require in-depth analysis, so the role of the data analyst is fundamental for management teams in terms of formulating strategies and plans for organizational development.
The ability to analyze data and draw conclusions based on it has defined many new roles and skill sets. As an interdisciplinary field combining scientific methods, processes, and algorithms, analytics makes it possible to extract relevant data, identify trends and generate conclusions from which companies can create innovative products or services.
In 2018, Glassdoor's U.S. ranking named the job of a data analyst "the best job in the U.S.," while in 2022, the profession was among the top five most sought-after and highest-paying jobs in Australia. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statics predicts that the growing importance of data science will lead to some 11.5 million job openings by 2026.
Who is a data analyst?
Despite the growing popularity of this profession and the increasing number of job offers, companies are having trouble attracting specialists in their field.
"We can point to several reasons, as the main one we would mention is the current labor market. The abundance of job offers causes candidates, especially those with extensive experience and skills, to create terms of cooperation and often choose between several employers. Today, people with analytical skills are becoming part of various teams - starting from typical areas for this position such as analytics, actuarial, and I.T., and ending with regions such as H.R. or marketing. One employer is looking for similar competencies for several business areas, which saturates the analysts' market. One can venture to say that there is a shortage of talent. The second reason, often encountered, is an insufficient level of hard skills. Candidates usually express a solid motivation to work in analytical areas. Not surprisingly, they arouse a lot of interest and represent an opportunity to grow in a forward-looking and technological direction. However, thedidates are primarily people just starting out in analytics. They have no practical experience and are not ready to carry out tasks independently. However, they have theoretical knowledge and basic familiarity with tools, all acquired during their studies. Of course, suc. Still, theyre also often invited to work with us, but they can find themselves among specialists only after gaining practical experience," says Paweł Grams, Recruitment Specialist at STU ERGO HESTIA S.A., one of the biggest insurance companies in Poland.
What exactly is the role of an analyst, and what skills should those considering this position have? The main tasks of an analyst include analyzing data, assessing risks and opportunities related to taking specific actions. An analyst should exhibit the right competencies to do his job well. Among the most desirable are:
- analytical skills,
- ability to think logically,
- accuracy and attention to detail,
- a high degree of communication skills, which is essential for working with business teams,
- the ability to work in a team,
- ability to present data,
- knowledge of English at the level of min. B2,
- experience in working with statistical or data mining packages.
The essential tools of an analyst's job are M.S. Excel. Still, employers are increasingly emphasizing knowledge of programming languages such as Python or R and SQL database language. Those who want to work as business analysts should also demonstrate knowledge of preparing process modeling documentation and creating use cases or technical designs. Thus, it is essential to have process thinking skills and project management experience. On the other hand, behavioral competencies include the ability to think globally and anticipate, creativity, ease of networking, and a goal-oriented attitude.
Data is king
"Today, companies often no longer have direct contact with their customers. The only way to understand them is to analyze the user's behavior on the platform, which is deposited in various numbers or stamps in the database. That's why data analysts are necessary, and that's why business - if it wants to make sound strategic decisions - must rely on this data. So we attend meetings, learn about current projects, and work with the team. I, for example, once had to understand the grease function in a mine because challenging analytical work would have been very difficult. The analyst then helps the team verify various hypotheses. When a query is received, this is precisely the information that an analyst gets," says Iwona Popek, Senior Data Analyst at Allegro.pl and lecturer at Coders Lab.
During the Coders Lab Data Lab course, you can gain the knowledge and skills necessary to take the first step into data analysis - practically and without prior training or experience. You will learn the basics of statistics, use the Data Science chain, and fundamental data analysis. The course also covers creating automated reports using Python and acquiring data from external services, websites, and database systems. You also learn how to create compelling and complex queries in SQL, methods for formatting the output dataset and work with relational databases. The final part of the Data Lab course is dedicated to creating proper data visualizations and dashboards using the most popular tools.