What does a Data Analyst do?

by Ruby Gracy
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data analysis

“We study the everyday life of the profession”


The phrase “data analyst” has been in the air lately. Sounds like a fun job. The idea of ​​working with data and technology interests you, but you are not aware of the day-to-day duties of this specialist? It’s one thing to dream about a job, but it’s another thing to fulfill those responsibilities every day. You need to know everything before changing your specialty. We found out what analysts actually do. Read on to familiarize yourself with the day-to-day work responsibilities that could be part of your future career.

A day in the life of a data analyst

Basically, a data analyst collects and analyzes data, organizes it, and uses it to draw meaningful conclusions. “The tasks of data analysts vary depending on the type of data they work with (sales, social media, inventory, etc.) and the specific client project,” said Stephanie Pham, Analyst at Porter Novelli .

Companies in virtually every industry can benefit from the work of analysts, from healthcare providers to retail stores and fast food chains. The insights that data analysts bring to an organization can be valuable to executives who want to know more about the needs of their customer or end user.

No matter what industry they work in, data analysts develop data collection and reporting systems that will help improve company performance.

Analysts can be involved in any part of the process. As a data analyst, you can be involved in everything from setting up an analytics system to providing insights based on the data you collect—you may even be asked to train others on your system. Now that you have an idea of ​​what data analysts do, you are ready to delve into the specifics of their lives and work.

What are the main responsibilities of a data analyst?

We’ve turned to experts to help you understand the day-to-day responsibilities of a typical data analyst.


“As an analyst, I spend a significant amount of time preparing and maintaining both internal and client reports,” says Casey Pearson, Marketing Analyst at Delphic Digital . These reports give

management insight into new trends as well as areas where the company may need to improve.” Writing a report is not just jotting down fancy numbers to send to a manager. “Successful data analysts know how to turn data into stories,” says Jess Kendra, Analyst Manager at Porter Novelli “To remain valuable, an analyst must be able to write reports, responses, and views in a way that is understandable to the decision maker, who is often not the analyst.”

2.Revealing patterns

The most effective data analysts are able to use data to tell a story. In order to write a meaningful report, an analyst must see important patterns in the data. “At a basic level, data is used to find trends and insights that we can use to make recommendations to our clients,” Pham says. Reporting at regular intervals, such as weekly, monthly, or quarterly, is important because it helps the analyst spot time patterns. “They all contribute to the formation of a time frame in which we can observe trends over time,” Pham adds.

3. Interaction with others

Surprised to see this on the list? The word “analyst” conjures up an image of a person who works separately from the rest of the company, but this is far from being the case. The wide range of roles and responsibilities of a data analyst involves working with many other departments in your organization, including marketers, executives, and salespeople. You are also likely to work closely with those who work in the field of computer science, such as data architects and database developers. The ability to communicate well is important. “Your success depends on your ability to work with people—the people who submit research questions, the colleagues you collaborate with to get the job done, and those to whom you submit the final report,” says Kendra.

4. Data collection and infrastructure setup

Perhaps the most technical aspect of an analyst’s job is the data collection itself. That often means working with web developers, Pearson says.

Optimizing data collection is key for analysts. They develop procedures that can be automated and easily modified for reuse in other areas. Analysts keep in their arsenal a set of specialized software and tools that help them with this.

Data Analyst and Data Scientist

You may be wondering about another important profession – the data scientist. While it’s safe to assume that there are some similarities in their work, there are significant differences between data analysts and data scientists.

Because the data scientist role is relatively new and sometimes vague, those working in the field have taken the trouble to differentiate it from the data analyst role. Let’s look at this in detail, based on skills and job responsibilities.

Data Analysts:

  • Have average mathematical and statistical abilities
  • Have a strong business acumen
  • Have average computer science/programming skills
  • Improve key performance indicators
  • visualize data
  • Use business analysis and analytics tools

Data Scientists:

  • Have strong mathematical and statistical skills
  • Have a strong business acumen
  • Have excellent computer science/programming skills
  • Detect trends with machine learning
  • Make predictions based on data dynamics
  • Write code to help analyze data

While data analysts and data scientists have different backgrounds and strengths, keep in mind that these roles can be a bit vague in their definition. This means that responsibilities may vary from organization to organization.

Data Analyst Types

Answering questions and making decisions is at the heart of data analysis. And just as there are different types of questions, there are different types of data analysis depending on what you hope to achieve. Although there is no complete dictionary of data analysis types, ScienceSoft did a great job breaking the field down into four main areas:

  • Descriptive analytics answers the question “What happened?”
  • Diagnostic analytics answers the question “Why did something happen?”.
  • Predictive analytics answers the question “What can happen?”
  • Prescriptive analytics answers the question “What actions should be taken?”

Data analysts can tailor their work and decisions to fit the scenario. For example, if a manufacturer is suffering from delays and unplanned shutdowns, a diagnostic analysis approach can help determine what exactly is causing these delays. You can then use other forms of analysis to correct these problems.

What tools do data analysts use?

Data analysts rely on various tools to collect and process data. The Kendra team uses specialized software to effectively collect data from social media, news sites and magazines, as well as tools to sort and categorize data to visualize it for reports and presentations. Here are just a few of the widely used tools in a data analyst’s arsenal:

  • Microsoft Excel®
  • SQL
  • SAS software
  • Google Analytics™
  • Google Tag Manager
  • Tableau™
  • Google AdWords™

What is included in the job description of a data analyst?

All job responsibilities come down to one main goal: “By analyzing data, we hope to advance our clients’ business based on their strategic goals,” Pearson says.

Data that is collected without proper scrutiny is useless. The true job of a data analyst is to add value to a company, both their own and the client’s. Pearson.

Should You Become a Data Analyst?

So what does a data analyst do? Much more than it might seem. Now that you know that teamwork, technical skills, and strategizing are all part of this promising profession, you may be considering a career in data analysis yourself.

Highly paid profession with growing demand, with the requirement of data analytics

More and more related professions appear, where the candidate is required to have knowledge in related disciplines. One of these, actively gaining popularity in vacancies, is a marketing analyst. This is a specialist who not only plans advertising campaigns, but knows how to calculate the effectiveness of each action, is responsible for the result and profitability. Therefore, the salaries of such specialists start from 90,000 ₽. It is worth quickly mastering a new profession, while the competition in it is below demand. On the course ”  Marketing Analyst “.

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