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26 September 2022 - 6 minutes

When Is a Good Time to Learn About Data Analytics?

How to learn Data Analytics the right way– for you! We demystify what it means to become a Data Analyst, and how you can make a career out of it.

Frida Chacin Kulak - Tech Writer

Data is everywhere. Just kidding– don’t close the tab! We know you’re tired of reading the same line all over again. We get it: data analysis is a fundamental part of how we make decisions in areas like politics, economics, business, etc. But the fact that data analysts and related roles are among the most hired roles within tech is something that you’ve heard before, and it doesn’t reassure you that it’s the path that works for YOU– for your background, your personality, and your interests. Read on: we want to help you figure that out!

A Career With Data, or a Career In Data?

Data analytics is a very large field: working with data could involve a lot of different roles, responsibilities, and tools. It doesn’t all just come down to spreadsheets and pie charts (though these are fairly common). In very rough lines, you could distinguish between data analyst types and data scientist types. Where analysts apply stats skills, tools and software to data to obtain tangible results, usually for business purposes, data scientists work on a more advanced level, trying to develop predictive models and machine learning algorithms and generally study and improve the way data analytics are carried out. Naturally, the latter will require more advanced statistics and programming skills!

Within this rough separation, there are multitudes. Many jobs involve a heavy data analytics component, from those who are basically dedicated to it, like Data Analyst or Business Analyst, to others that are dependent on data but touch on more areas, like Operations Analyst or Marketing Analyst.

Even in seemingly unrelated areas, you might have to acquire data analytics skills, as they’re being increasingly demanded for roles like Product and Project Manager. So the odds (pun intended) that acquiring these skills will impact your career heavily are pretty high!

The Skills You Need to Work in Data Analytics

Have we mentioned spreadsheets? In all seriousness, a good grasp on spreadsheet software like Excel or Google Sheets is unquestionably a must, but that’s not all there is to it. You’ve probably figured out by now that wrangling data necessarily comes with statistics, which you will be using on a daily basis: but you don’t need to be a world class expert. Some data analytics roles really do require just a high school level expertise in statistics, as they’re more reliant on handiness with software and programs that do the math for you.

Nowadays, data analysts often make use of programs that facilitate data cleanup and the extraction of valuable information and insights from it: examples are SAS, Power BI, Tableau, MySQL, TensorFlow… don’t worry! You don’t need to know all of these to make a career out of it. Some programming languages are also heavily used in data analytics– like Python, R, SQL, and other multi-purpose languages like JavaScript and Scala. Don’t get discouraged by these, either: some languages, like Python, are extremely easy to learn.

There’s much more to data analytics than we can fit in a couple of paragraphs, so don’t be afraid to explore the different roles within the field, and read up on which skills are required for those that catch your eye or that overlap with your existing skill set!

When Is the Right Time to Learn Data Analytics?

As you’ve seen, learning data analytics doesn’t necessarily end up in having a generic ‘data analyst’ job. The particular ways in which technology and coding overlap with statistics and data science leave space for many different ways to work with data analysis– and the outcomes of the journey are as varied as the reasons to start it!

When You Want to Climb the Career Ladder

It doesn’t really matter which type of business you’re in: as responsibility increases in roles that involve more leadership, the need to wrangle data and make decisions based on it increases. After all, you can’t be everywhere and see everything to know what is going on. You and your team will smartly summarise their results in graphics that give you a clear picture of what is going well and what isn’t (and how to change it!).

The person who knows the data also has the upper hand in negotiation: if you know how to handle the information and extract insights and trends from it, you can use these to back your arguments, reinforce your strategic approach, and present an informed point of view that will be respected and taken into account… and better paid, too!

When You’d Rather Punch Yourself in the Face Than Work With Spreadsheets… but You Have To!

Data analysis is an unskippable part of a lot of jobs nowadays, regardless of industry. Working with computers is unavoidable now, and they make it very easy to collect and analyse data: it’s no wonder why data-driven approaches are so popular. As many as 77% of top companies consider data analysis a pillar of their success.

If you hated reading that, picturing yourself surrounded by spreadsheets, formulas and pivot tables (what even are those?). We won’t lie to you: you’ll probably have to handle a spreadsheet every now and then, and statistics are unavoidable. But data analytics is so, so much more than spreadsheets. Excel and Sheets are the Swiss Army knife of data: handy, versatile and good for just about any task (and great news here: it gets A LOT more entertaining when you explore its possibilities). However, spreadsheets can fall short when it comes to larger amounts of data, more complex tasks, or just needing to present it all in a way that is interactive and easy to understand! So if you don’t love math or spreadsheets, don’t worry: you can still find a place for you in data analytics.

When You Don’t Want to Be Tied to One Industry

Data analytics is, arguably, one of the most flexible job types to have when it comes to industry switching. Every industry out there needs people to handle their mountains of data and rework them into nice, straightforward graphs, understandable bullet points, and crystal clear insights that tell you what is working and what can be improved.

With skills in data analysis, you might start your career in one sector, be it the one you switched careers from or the one that hired you first. But this doesn’t tie you down for life to the same industry, or require you to acquire a lot of new skills to change your path– with very little to no effort, you could go from, for example, logistics to communications or fintech. Just like that!

When You’re Ready for a Career in Data 

Are you someone who already LOVES data? Maybe your head perks up when you see bar charts or histograms on the news, or you spent hours reading up on how the data was gathered, cleaned up, wrangled and presented during the confusing pandemic. Liking data is a wonderful start, and you only need one good kick to start working on something you love: a certification!

Taking a course can formalise your skills and give you a qualification that you can show off to prospective employers. If you go for an Ironhack Data Analytics bootcamp, you’ll also have your own portfolio of real work to show, and lots of help to get the job you want! What are you waiting for?

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