Meaning and Definition of Data Analyst
A data analyst performs a variety of tasks related to the collection, organization, and interpretation of statistical information.
The precise nature of the job varies from profession to profession, as an analyst working for a hospital would necessarily focus on different things than one working for a department store or supermarket chain.
However, in any capacity, people with this job look for ways to assign numerical values to different business functions, and are responsible for identifying efficiencies, problem areas, and potential improvements.
Collecting and studying different sets of information are typical tasks of a data analyst.
What Does a Data Analyst Do?
One of the most important things any data analyst does is collect, sort, and study different sets of information.
This can look really different in different environments, but is usually related to setting a fixed value on some process or function so that it can be evaluated and compared over time.
A grocery store may want an analyst to collect all the hours certain employees work along with profit margins for certain days, weeks, or even hours, for example; An Internet business might want to see hard numbers on where customers are coming from, how much they spend on purchases, and whether offers like free shipping have anything to do with overall profits.
A data analyst might examine the hours worked by employees at a grocery store.
There are several different strategies that people can use to compile data, but there are generally three universal goals. Data must be regulated, normalized, and calibrated so that it can be taken out of context, used alone, or combined with other figures and still maintain its integrity.
Analysts often use complex computer systems and calculation applications to get their numbers, but there is still a great deal of intellectual knowledge that makes these systems work.
Data analysts store, collect, and interpret statistical information.
Extrapolation and Interpretation
Once the information has been collected , analysts are generally responsible for coming to some conclusions about what it means, as well as educating business executives on how to use it.
Getting hard numbers on sales figures for a given holiday season, for example, is useful in itself, but is generally more valuable when compared to numbers from previous years or other seasons as a point of comparison.
These professionals can also be called upon to help business owners and leaders understand what differences in numbers mean when viewed from year to year or across various departments.
They usually have the expertise not only to assign statistical values to things, but also to explain what they mean.
Analysts often collaborate with programmers and database administrators to write system modification recommendations or internal training and instruction materials.
Projections and Advisory Responsibilities
In some companies, analysts are charged with actually advising project managers and leaders on how certain data points can be changed or improved over time.
They are often the ones with the best sense of why the numbers are the way they are, which can make them a good resource when thinking about making changes.
A health clinic that wants to improve patient waiting times might ask an analyst to identify the main reasons for delays, for example, just as an advertising company might seek statistical feedback on past campaigns as a way to design and plan future slogans.
Research and Writing Assignments
Advisory responsibilities often go hand in hand with writing and research. Most analysts are comfortable preparing written summaries to accompany graphs and charts, but the position also often requires additional writing duties, such as drafting company memos, press releases, and formal reports.
Analysts also often collaborate with programmers and database administrators to write system modification recommendations or internal training and instruction materials.
System experience and troubleshooting
Most of the work that analysts do is completed with the help of computers and digitized statistical software programs, which means that professionals need a certain degree of technical expertise as a matter of course.
Getting systems up and running is the first and most important part, but the job typically also requires troubleshooting program issues and system security measures, as well as the ability to adapt to changing technology and keep updates current and useful on the go. multiple platforms.
Types of job setups
Just about every industry imaginable has a need for data analytics, at least on some level. Regardless, the sales, marketing, and healthcare fields tend to have the most jobs available for these professionals at any given time.
Most professionals work in teams to tackle specific projects or problems as needed. Much of the work is done on the computer, and much of it can be done from home or a remote office, although this sometimes depends on the type of data being collected.
Professionals can generally expect to work standard hours, although important projects or looming deadlines can and often do require overtime and weekend work.
A college education is almost always essential for this type of job. Most employers require data analysts to have at least a bachelor’s degree, preferably in statistics, computer science, or business administration, although there are times when other courses may be acceptable if the candidate can also demonstrate substantial experience working in a related field.
Many of the highest-paid and most successful analysts have master’s degrees or Ph.D.’s, which gives them more experience and usually also guarantees a higher salary.
A data analyst frequently analyzes and interprets statistical information.