How to Become a Data Analyst in 2020

Original article was published by Natassha Selvaraj on Artificial Intelligence on Medium

How to Become a Data Analyst?

Now, I will break down the steps you can take and the things you will need to learn in order to become a data analyst.


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You will need to teach yourself how to code. As a data analyst, you will not need to know as much programming as a software engineer.

However, you will need to know just enough coding to manipulate data and come up with insights. You will need to learn to create simple functions to clean data.

Sometimes, data analysts use programming languages to come up with visualizations and extract meaning from data.

The two main languages used by analysts include R and Python.

R is a statistical language, generally used by data scientists and statisticians to mine data. Python is more of a multi-purpose language, and is used by almost everyone — from software engineers to data scientists.

You can pick one of these languages, and just start learning. You can read this article I wrote on how to teach yourself programming. If you want to know the best online course to take to learn how to code, you can read this article.

Query Language

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Very often, analysts need to learn a querying language. Depending on the type of company you are in, you can be using a relational or non-relational database.

My suggestion would be to learn a language like MySQL or Oracle. Even if the company you work at uses NoSQL databases, you can easily pick up on the syntax once you know the basics.

I found this free course on Udacity, that really helped me when I was trying to learn SQL for data analytics.

Domain Knowledge

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Depending on the kind of company you want to work with, some domain expertise is required.

Data analysts are usually hired to help companies make better business decisions. Due to this, you will need to acquire some domain knowledge in the field of business and marketing.

There are many online courses you can find that teach business analytics or marketing for data analysts. I will list down a few of them here:

  1. Business Analytics Course 2020
  2. The Business Intelligence Analytics Course 2020
  3. Introduction to Business Analytics 2020

Business domain knowledge is important, and is something I wish I learnt before getting into the field of data science and analytics. However, it is definitely something you can learn along the way, and is a lot easier to pick up than the technical skill required as an analyst.

Communication Skills

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This is arguably the most important, but most underrated skill that an analyst needs to have.

A data analyst needs to be able to effectively communicate their insights in a way that can be understood by a non-technical person.

After extracting useful information from available data, an analyst needs to be able to explain these insights to a stakeholder or client.

The client doesn’t really care about the tools or technique you used to arrive derive insights. They want to know about how your insights can be translated to make business decisions, and what kind of value it brings to the company.

The ability to bridge the gap between a technical and non-technical person is important. You will need to present your findings in a simple way, and explain to the client how your analysis benefits them.

Similar to gaining domain experience, these communication skills can be honed along the way. You just have to be patient, and be willing to learn.