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3 Data Analyst Skills Companies Want You to Have

Nov 30, 2017

Right now, it’s an amazing time to be involved in data analysis. IBM predicts that the demand for data analysts will growth by 16% and sr. data analysts will growth by 28% over the next five years. Opportunities are overflowing, but that does not mean a data analyst’s qualifications can afford to appear nebulous. The way you present yourself might impact whether or not you can get your dream job in the future. That is why it’s so important to demonstrate these data analyst skills with conviction as you prepare your resume for IT contract opportunities.

Technical Skills

Every data analyst contract depends on its own blend of programming languages, database management tools, and BI technologies. However, there are a few technical skills that are must haves for candidates. Some may appear obvious, but their importance to companies should never be underestimated:

  • SQL and PL/SQL – As the building blocks of most databases, SQL and PL/SQL are crucial to master. These foundational programming and procedural languages still matter, even in an age of unstructured data and complex predictive modeling. Certain reports are just better served by traditional analysis methods used on SQL relational databases.
  • Hadoop Tools – Last year, Forrester estimated 30% of businesses use Hadoop and predicted that the overall Hadoop market would grow by 32.9% annually over the next five years. Clearly, this scalable and flexible technology has staying power. That’s why many businesses either use Hadoop tools in their current environment or are preparing to use it enterprise-wide. If you have implemented Hadoop as part of a big data analytics strategy in the past, be sure to articulate how you’ve done it.
  • Data Mapping – Analysts who understand the way information systems are interconnected are more likely to attract attention from hiring managers. Strong skills in data mapping show a more unified approach that is less likely to overlook opportunities with exploratory data or make mistakes with data integration and data management.

Regardless of the technical skill, it’s important to express them in ways that communicate the real-world tasks. If hiring managers cannot imagine how data analyst skills are being applied, then it will be more difficult to convince them you are right for a contract position.

Industry Experience

Industry experience is almost mandatory in the current market. Candidates who can immediately run reports, interpret data, and identify trends through an industry-centered lens can provide actionable insight faster. Using industry specific terminology and discussing the way you overcome niche pain points conveys your alignment with their perspective and their day-to-day challenges.

Some industries have parallel concerns, and in those instances data analysts can expand their target industries, if they connect their own qualifications to what a business requires. The trick is to give hiring managers context.

For example, the financial sector and healthcare payor space share some similarities. Both involve an understanding of claims or payment environments, so data analysts can use their past experience as a bridge between the two because of their shared process and flow. From there, it’s important to frame problem-solving and data interpretation in one industry as being similar to the contract’s industry.

Communication with a Business Audience

Communicating with executives is much different than interacting with a technical audience of your peers. Data analyst responsibilities often include building reports that decision makers can comprehend and sharing findings in a way that addresses the C suite mindset. In all cases, that means speaking about results and bottom lines.

When applying for an analyst job, present your resume in a way that shows the quantitative results of your work and your understanding of how data influences business growth. Any growth statistics, revenue earnings, or enterprise-wide advancements made through your findings need to be included in the resume to help non-technical audiences connect the dots.

Leveraging Your Data Analyst Skills into a New Contract

Including all of the above analyst skills in your resume is the first step in getting your desired contract. It’s equally important to know how to present yourself to your target audience, directly addressing their pain points, anticipating their biases, and focusing on what they deem important. The challenge is finding out those details without wasting hours on your search.

Working with a recruiter who knows a specific business inside and out can help you close contracts faster and target the types of opportunities you want.

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Related Articles:

Rethinking Data Governance: The Key to Delivering Big Value through Big Data

Why Building a Big Data Platform Hinges Upon Sustainable Planning

How to Become a Subject Matter Expert (It’s More than What You Know)

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