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8 Essential Skills for a Data Analyst in this Year

HomeTechnology8 Essential Skills for a Data Analyst in this Year

The breed of businesses relies a lot on data. Data is used for formulating decisions and actionable insights that help businesses grow. The key responsibility of collecting, analyzing, and drawing insights from data is assigned to data analysts. 

Essential skills for data analysts include a mixture of soft and hard skills. Both types of skills are essential for streamlining data analysis. A data analyst is also required to identify industry trends and report the findings to key stakeholders. 

Are you one of those budding data analysts, who are looking to land a job? What are the essential skills that will help you secure your spot? A data analyst adds value to a business. Below are the skills that will help you in adding that value and exploring various opportunities.

Important skills for efficient data analysis

Data analysts work on technical skills for refining data and the value they add to the business. Soft skills play a vital role in presenting all the findings. First, let’s deep dive into the list of technical skills.

Data collection and cleaning

For analyzing data, you must also be skilled at collecting data from different resources. After collecting all the data, you must also be skilled in organizing it properly and filling its inconsistencies. Moreover, you are also required to format the data properly and remove anomalies. 

Data collection and cleaning are important skills and set the foundation of data analysis. An unorganized, clumsy dataset can confuse the readers. However, a simple, organized dataset can generate the required insights that improve decision-making within a business.


Structured Query Language (SQL) is used for managing and organizing data in a relational database system. A programming language, SQL is helpful in editing and retrieving information in the relational database system. The added advantage of having SQL skills is that retrieving big chunks of data becomes easy. 

SQL makes the interaction between multiple rows and columns easy. Through the language, transforming datasets is convenient. Therefore for becoming a data analyst, knowledge of SQL comes in handy. 

Statistical and Mathematical knowledge

Statistics help you in working with data efficiently. Tools like Microsoft Excel help you keep your data structured and analyze it properly. As a business, if you deal with lots of data types, then Microsoft Excel will help you keep everything organized. Visualizing data with the spreadsheet program also becomes easy. Drawing pivot tables and conditional formatting are some of the essential excel skills required for becoming a data analyst

Mathematical skills are important for processing data. As a data analyst, you get to deal with plenty of datasets that include complex information. Plus, with advanced knowledge of mathematics, you can understand data well too!

Data Visualization

You can collect data through various methods. However, representing it in visual forms through bar charts, line graphs, and other forms for conveying your message is equally important. Data visualization includes preparing interactive visuals that can be shared with all the key stakeholders. 

In layman’s terms, data visualization is important for sharing all your findings with all those who aren’t skilled with data analysis. Moreover, data visualization also helps you analyze the behavior of your audience.

R and Python Programming

Programming languages are important for flexibility and knowledge generation. Some data analysts prefer to use R for statistical computing. Python programming language is preferred by data analysts due to its simple syntax, and varying functions. 

Moreover, Python has many rich libraries that make data processing and visualization efficient. Plus, the libraries are constantly increasing! Pandas and NumPy are two such libraries in Python that are used extensively in data analytics.

Machine learning

Machine learning is important in data analysis, as it helps in automating processes. Machine learning is useful for several essential processes, such as real-time navigation and product recommendations. Analyzing complex datasets becomes easy with machine learning. 

Knowledge of machine learning allows you to build data models that are capable of identifying trends and patterns within datasets. You build a model, train it, fine-tune its parameters and deploy it to work! 

We have discussed most of the technical skills required for data analysis. However, technical skills can only prepare you to analyze and prepare your hypothesis. There’s more to skills. Hard skills make you familiar with industry experience. But soft skills help you in developing your personality.

Let’s also look at some of the important soft skills that data analysts require!

soft skills

Critical thinking

While forming a hypothesis, you need to think critically and differently than others. To drive the most important data decisions, you need to be a step ahead of others. Data analysis requires hands-on experience with practical situations so that you make intelligent decisions. 

It also allows you to connect various data points and draw logical insights from them. The skill also allows you to collect authentic data from reputable sources. Sometimes as a data analyst, you need to know what to evaluate, rather than how to evaluate it. Critical thinking is important for that. 

Effective Communication

Let’s suppose that you are skilled with all the knowledge of data analysis. Since you are equipped with all the skills, you are also generating valuable reports for your organization. But would they be useful if you can’t communicate effectively with your team?

Effective communication allows you to present your findings as they are. It allows you to inform your peers how you think and evaluate data. If your findings are understandable, you will surely succeed as a data analyst.

This fully-developed tool kit of data analyst skills is good enough for you to start working on projects. Also, with this skill-set, you can easily apply for jobs! Adding these skills to your resume will also help you in strengthening your portfolio. You can also showcase your experience by linking all your projects.

But the list includes all the essential skills for becoming a data analyst. These skills will help you understand consumer insights, generate more profit and improve the efficiency of your organization. Mastering these skills will prepare you for the ultimate battle.

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Joshua Bryan
Joshua Bryan
I’m Joshua Bryan, and I write about technology, digital marketing, and business solutions. I love to share the finds, tips, and tricks I’ve discovered to make life easier and more fun!


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