What Skills Do You Need for Data Analysis?

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We know that data has permeated our lives. Every action you take these days seems to generate data. Whether that is good or bad is up for debate. But what is true is that data is being collected and more people will need to learn how to process and analyze that data. If you are one of those people, you can expect to have more favorable job outlooks. However, you first need to understand what skills you need for data analysis.


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Covering every skill in this short article will be a rather large undertaking. But you can learn about the basics, and I'll be including a resource that will show you exactly what skills you'll need to launch your data career.

First, I've included a quick video on why it's important to learn how to understand and process data. It's a bit of a spoiler alert as it reveals the resource that can help you learn the skills you need for your data career. But that's okay. It's good to start thinking about this resource, all the same.

The video covers how data will continue to grow exponentially. You can project that if data is growing at that rate, the need for people who can analyze that data will follow suit. 

Someone doesn't just decide they want to be a data person. It takes a lot of training and experience. Many training programs will only focus on the basics. What is needed to get a decent data job is to understand the more intricate details of data jobs. 

For instance, did you know that many data training courses (especially in the subject of data analysis) cover sales databases? That's all well and good, but there are many projects that cover way more than just sales.

Related: How to Get Familiar with Your Data

The topic of sales is an important one, but there is more to life than just sales data. For instance, you often want to know what customers are buying repeatedly. Or you'll want to know who your top customers are. How about which customers are turning over? Much of the training out there falls short of teaching these important concepts.

Enterprise DNA (EDNA) to the Rescue!

When I came across Enterprise DNA back in December, I was a bit skeptical. The reason I was cautious is because the service seemed too good to be true. Seriously, I've never seen any service that teaches about data offer as much as was offered in this program.

But the quantity of training, or the number of resources included, is only as good as the quality of those resources and training modules. With EDNA, they've got you covered there, too!

Who Is Sam McKay?

Sam is the founder of Enterprise DNA. He is a Power BI expert and data analyst. The takeaway here is that he has experience. He didn't just learn a few courses and pass himself off as a Power BI expert. He has been in the data analysis trenches and knows what companies are looking for. This knowledge can help you learn what you need to get a job with many companies.

Sam McKay

Enterprise DNA Founder, Sam McKay

Sam isn't the only expert available to you on EDNA. He invites several experts to add different perspectives to the training. Sam is a great training, but so far, I have found several of the other trainers in the service to be just as great. 

What Skills Do You Need?

The number of skills in the data field are simply too vast to cover here. And Sam's EDNA service does concentrate on data analysis using Power BI. Now, perhaps you think this may be a bit limiting. After all, there is machine learning, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, etc. All of these have data concentrations that you aren't going to learn much about with the EDNA service.

To be honest, if you are looking for those subjects, you won't likely get much out of EDNA. But think about this. 

Skills Target Means Aptitude, Competence and Abilities

Skills Target Meaning Aptitude, Competence And Abilities

If you need to learn about data analysis and learn about Power BI as part of these other disciplines, EDNA is the perfect service to help you there. As a data person myself, I can tell you even with those other disciplines, have a solid understanding of DA concepts will go a long way!

I mention all this because I want to limit the skills I list to a manageable set. By concentrating on the skills that EDNA provides will give you this manageable set of skills to concentrate on for your data career.

Related: Want a Career in Data Science? You'll Get It by Clicking on This Link

So here are some guidelines on what you'll need for a career as a data analyst (with a concentration on Power BI):

  • A solid grasp of a business intelligence tool (Power BI)
  • Exploratory data analysis (EDA)
  • Working with subject matter experts (SME) to understand the business needs and sourcing the data
  • The ability to find data and transform it into a useful and optimal format
  • Understand aggregations and how they can be used to provide insight
  • Visualizations and report development
  • Explanatory data analysis and presentations to management
  • Programming in a data analytics language (DAX)
  • Some programming understanding in Python or R or both
  • Knowledge of databases and some SQL skills
  • Understanding of pipelines and some light cloud-based concepts (as they relate to data)
  • Query optimization
  • Distributed processing for large data sets

Does EDNA Cover All These Skills?

At the time of this writing, EDNA covered most of these skills. If you don't find a few of them on EDNA when you sign up, you'll likely eventually see some coverage of the topics eventually. That is how dynamic the service is. If it's something they think you need to know for your career, the chances are high that it will appear there soon.

Related: Introduction to Power BI - Training that Helps You Learn Quickly

For instance, you can now learn R and Python in the service. They don't currently have extensive coverage on these topics, mostly enough for you to learn what you need for data analysis purposes. But it's likely you'll see even more on these soon.

EDNA Helps You Think Like an Analyst

Young Man Thinking

A young man with his hand on his chin looks like he is thinks deeply about something. Doodle question words floating in the background.

One of the (many) aspects that helps EDNA rise above other training services is that you are trained to think like an analyst. You are not taught just how to use business intelligence tools, which is something many other training programs do. Thinking like an analyst is a crucial part of any data specialist's career. 

Data on its own is useless. It requires context and delivering analysis that companies can use to make better decisions. Although EDNA is Microsoft focused (Power BI and other MS services, like Power Apps, etc.) when you start thinking like an analyst, you'll have little trouble picking up other BI tools, like Tableau, or even Python or R.

How does EDNA help you be more analytical? They include scenarios that you have to work through that aren't your standard-fare scenarios. You may find a few Sales-based scenarios in EDNA.

But it's not the majority of the scenarios. How would you like to analyze an oil production business? You can do that with EDNA. How about an insurance company? Yep. That's included, too!

Even the approach to the lessons is much more "deep dive" than I've seen with other trainings in analytics. The lessons in EDNA take you through how you would use each topic and how it applies to specific industries or businesses.

EDNA Is Career Focused

Once you complete your training in EDNA, you probably think you don't need the service anymore. Certainly, you'll have a solid foundation for solving most analytical business needs. But if you decided to drop the service, you'd be missing out of a lot of resources that are geared towards the learner's ongoing career goals.

Jobs and careers

Jobs and careers

You also have to remember that the training and resources are constantly expanding. If you ditch the service after a while, you'll lose on these updates. First, it's helpful to have a resource that you can reference for refresher purposes. Second, the service offers more than training. It has forums and a blog, repositories for documents related to your projects, an ever-expanding knowledge base, and case studies. These resources are something that most practitioners can only dream about having available.

What are some of the scenarios that EDNA covers? Here is a list (remember there will be likely more in the not-so-distant future):

  • Executive Sales Report
  • Human Resources Insight
  • Insurance Complaints
  • Delivery App Review
  • Supplier Insight
  • Emergency Services Analytics
  • COVID-19 Reporting
  • Plus, more...

You'll need to put your thinking caps on when reviewing these scenarios. But help is an inquiry away. Plus, you'll find plenty of discussions on the forums about these scenarios.

As you can see, you'll get coverage of way more than just sales data sets. That means you'll be prepared for most situations as they arise in your career.

Conclusion

If you are considering a career in the data field, learning about data analysis with a concentration in Microsoft products (Power BI) is a good option to start. It can also be something you continue with for your entire career. Enterprise DNA is one of the best resources to learn and maintain a data analyst career. You'll be equipped with the tools to find the perfect job that pays pretty well! It's also quite fun and interesting career!


Prepare for Your Data Analyst Career Today!

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About the Author James

James is a data science writer who has several years' experience in writing and technology. He helps others who are trying to break into the technology field like data science. If this is something you've been trying to do, you've come to the right place. You'll find resources to help you accomplish this.

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