10 Most Essential Data Analysis Skills

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 12 June 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Businesses keep their data in databases nowadays to safeguard it for future reference. They need professionals to handle and organise their digital data. Thus, many organisations and companies are increasingly hiring data analysts to manage their data needs or outsourcing them remotely.

If you have some data analysis skills, you have the best opportunity to secure a job with organisations and businesses that need professional data analysts. However, data analysts need data analysis skills to work effectively in their jobs. This guide shall look at 10 of the most essential data analysis skills that a data analyst needs.

What are data analysis skills?

Data analysis skills are technical skills that a data analyst needs to report insights and analyse data. A data analyst doesn't need to have a mathematics or computer background to develop their data analysis skills. You can acquire data analysis skills to work as a data analyst if you have technical experience.

What does a data analyst do?

The role of a data analyst is to organise, analyse and retrieve data to enable a company to improve its production, efficiency and other valuable aspects of its operations. A data analyst can work in multiple industries, from academia to retail.

Duties and responsibilities of a data analyst

Data analysts have several responsibilities. You need to understand the responsibilities of data analysts, whether you are a seasoned or a novice data analyst. Below are some roles you should expect to perform while working as a data analyst:

  • Designing and maintaining databases and data systems. This role entails solving coding errors alongside other data-related problems.

  • Extracting data from both secondary and primary sources and then reorganising data in an easy-to-read format.

  • Using statistical tools to interpret data sets, data patterns and specific data trends. Knowledge of statistical tools also helps data analysts in the data analysis and prediction efforts.

  • Preparing detailed reports for executive leadership. These data-oriented reports should effectively communicate patterns, predictions and trends using credible data.

  • Working with engineers, organisational leaders and programmers to identify possible opportunities for process improvements.

  • Creating documentation to enable people to understand the process of data analysis.

What skills do I need to work as a data analyst?

Data analysts work best when they have specific data analysis skills. Here are the 10 most essential data analysis skills that a data analyst needs:

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SQL

SQL stands for the Structured Query Language. It is a type of spreadsheet that also doubles up as a computing tool. The tool can handle vast volumes of data and process data much quicker than the average spreadsheet software. You need to understand how to compute data with this tool if you are an aspiring data analyst.

Spreadsheets

No doubt that SQL is the most well-liked data analytical tool among data analysts. However, data analysts should be familiar with spreadsheet tools. A data analyst must learn how to use spreadsheets. Some organisations may ask you to present their data and reports in spreadsheets while working for them as a data analyst.

Public speaking

Public speaking is an important data analysis skill for every data analyst, no matter the organisation they are working for. Data analysts don't just compile data. They also need to explain the data they collect transparently. Data analysts also need to have good public speaking skills to explain data both in writing and verbally. As a data analyst, you should explain to the public the importance of the data you have been compiling. Furthermore, you need to explain what a company can do as a result of your findings, such as improving its processes.

Data visualisation

Data analysts should use data to tell compelling stories to get their points across while engaging their audience. You have to make your findings easy and quick to identify. Otherwise, your message won't get across to your audience. Therefore, data visualisation is an essential skill for every data analyst. Data visualisation has a significant impact on data. Data analysts have to utilise high-quality graphs and charts while presenting their findings. It helps make their results clear, concise and understandable.

Statistical programming languages

Data analysts need to be familiar with a wide array of statistical programming languages such as Python and R. These statistical programming languages help data analysts analyse bulk sets of data. Different companies require data analysts to use different types of statistical programming tools. Hence, it will be helpful to learn a variety of statistical programming languages.

Presentation skills

Presentation skills and data visualisation work hand-in-hand. However, it is challenging to present data, particularly if you don't have impeccable presentation skills. Even seasoned data analysts will get nervous when it comes to giving their data findings. You have to hone your presentation skills if you intend to work as a data analyst. Focus on your audience while presenting data instead of focusing on yourself. It will help you get comfortable when you present your data.

Problem-solving

You may encounter some daunting technical issues while working as a data analyst. However, you have to navigate these issues if you aspire to be an in-demand data analyst. Hence, your problem-solving skills will come into play. Problem-solving skills will help you solve even the most challenging technical issues that stem from being a data analyst.

Attention to detail

Data analysts need to be precise while analysing, retrieving and explaining data. You have to pay attention to details while analysing technical information that relates to data analysis. Remember the data you are analysing needs to be accurate. Thus, it will help if you are highly attentive to all the details while working as a data analyst.

Collaboration

Collaboration is a vital skill that every data analyst should have to excel in their career. Ideally, data analysts should work independently while analysing data. However, data analysts need to collaborate with both external and internal stakeholders. Data analysts often have to work as a team, especially when dealing with vast sets of data. Thus, data analysts should demonstrate their ability to collaborate with other data analysts to complete the task at hand.

Research

Research is an essential part of data analysis. Data analysts need to conduct research regularly while computing and analysing data. Research is paramount to finding solutions to technical problems. You also require excellent research skills to navigate through different processes of data analysis.

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How to improve your data analysis skills

You have to improve your data analysis skills if you want to work as a data analyst. Here are tips on how to improve your data analysis skills:

  1. Focus on the specific data analysis skills you wish to improve.

  2. Take part in data analysis-based projects to gain more experience and fresh insights into data analysis.

  3. Focus on the data analysis skills that are specific to the data analysis project at hand.

  4. Put your data analytical skills into practice.

  5. Figure out any analytical tools that can help improve your data analysis.

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How to display data analysis skills on your resume

It is essential to include your data analysis skills while applying for a data analysis job. Here is a simple way of displaying data analysis skills on your resume:

  • Include your data analysis skills under the skills section of your resume. This will help the recruiter locate these skills with ease and go through them to evaluate your suitability for the data analyst role.

  • Identify the most relevant skills that relate to the data analysis job you are applying for. Go through the job description and understand what the employer wants in a data analyst.

  • Use subsections while displaying your data analysis skill on your resume. Using subheadings helps make your skills stand out from other skills related to the data analysis job.

  • Describe your data analysis skills and how these skills relate to that specific data analysis job. It helps show the recruiter you have read the job requirements for the data analyst position.

  • Be succinct. Avoid listing irrelevant data analysis skills on your resume.

What skills do data analysts need?

There are many skills that data analysts need to perform their best at their job. However, some data analysis skills may not necessarily be critical in some of these roles. Here are some of the most vital skills that a data analyst should have:

  • Knowledge of programming languages

  • Ability to process and interpret data

  • Logical and methodological approach to data analysis

  • Attention to detail

  • Verbal and written communication skills

  • Interpersonal skills

  • Collaborative skills

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