Interested in Numbers? What It Takes to Get a Career in the Data Industry

 

Data analytics is everywhere, from manufacturing and marketing to government and healthcare. No organization can prosper without the data to spot trends, make forecasts, and improve efficiency. As more executives come to accept this, it creates a wide-open profession that continues to grow in demand. A degree in information systems or data science certainly helps, but if you have an affinity for computers and numbers, there are other ways to break into the data industry. Here is what you need to know to do just that:

 

Learn the Fundamentals

 

Data science is a branch of computing that’s quite different from software programming, network engineering, or other disciplines. Data professionals have their own jargon and basic concepts that you need to know. It starts with a basic understanding of databases. Nearly every data system is based on a RDBMS, or relational database management system, which organizes information for efficient use. You must understand concepts like tables, data types, primary and foreign keys, and much more. Tables represent different functions, like customer information or sales histories. Knowing how information is stored helps you to maintain data integrity and understand how it’s used.

 

Know the Tools

 

There’s a wide variety of tools used to access and filter data for use in reports or analytic problems. Data software is getting more user-friendly for the average business person who needs to create infographics and reports, but data professionals will need to use more sophisticated tools for concepts like data modeling, business forecasts, and cluster analysis for identifying patterns. The most important tool for data work is SQL, or structured query language. Though it comes in different versions like T-SQL or MySQL, all use basically the same techniques for extracting specialized data sets from larger data stores. These data queries can be quite complex, so think about acquiring some formal SQL training, as it will be an important part of your skillset.

 

When it comes to learning different types of software and coding, however, you need to understand that you can’t just learn it once and call it good. In our continuously revolving world, things change—and that is especially true when it comes to anything having to do with computers, software and data. Once you learn the fundamentals, you’ll want to keep up with updates via the multitude of informative resources online. Because of how often changes can happen, you’ll want to set aside some time every month to check for changes. By doing this, you will be able to prove more valuable in the data industry.

 

Identify Opportunities

 

To establish yourself as a data specialist, start putting your skills to work. Become a resource for colleagues who don’t have your knowledge of data tools and manipulations. This might be helping with their reports, writing queries, or verifying facts. Take on personal projects and responsibilities that can showcase your data skills, such as presentations, research, and data-driven insights. Start simply and take on more complex assignments as your abilities improve. The average data analyst salary is over $57,000 yearly. Demonstrating superior data skills and producing quality results will open doors for you as managers come to recognize and rely on your ability.

 

Choose a Career Path

 

Having solid data analysis skills and experience will make you a better candidate in almost any business position. But if you want to specialize as a data professional, you need to identify a career path and choose those opportunities that will get you there sooner. Some possibilities are:

 

Programmer: Strong SQL skills are also used to write data scripts that automate tasks like ETL (extract, transform, and load) operations, data archiving, and report distribution. Data modeling is also important for developing software applications.

 

Systems Expert: You could become the go-to person for advising on new data solutions, as well as installations, set up, configuration, and training other employees to use them properly.

 

Analytics: Well-rounded skills in data modeling, SQL, and data software tools could enable you to become the de facto data scientist at your organization. You’ll be responsible for designing solutions and producing the data for special projects and requests, like market forecasts, business story boards, and client presentations.

 

In-depth data training and experience will further your career. Even if you move to a new organization, or choose to seek out clients of your own, the skills and experience you acquire will boost confidence in your skill with one of the most in-demand business roles there is.

 

BY: Hannah Whittenly

Hannah / Freelance Writer


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