4 Easy Steps to Start Your Career in Data Analytics

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Are you feeling trapped in a job that no longer sparks joy or fulfills you professionally?

Making a career change can be a daunting prospect, especially when self-doubt creeps in and tells you "you're not good enough". But what's the alternative? Staying stuck in a rut with no hope for growth or fulfillment?

If you're contemplating a career change, you're not alone. Over the past two years, more than half of employed Malaysians have considered a career change. If you didn't think about, most you're most likely to have a friend or relative who's grappling with the same dilemma.

If you're ready to take a leap of faith into the exciting world of data analytics, we're here to help. Discover if a career in data analytics is the right fit for you with our four easy steps. Don't let fear hold you back from the fulfilling and rewarding career you deserve.

Is Data Analytics the right career for you?

Becoming a successful data analyst requires a specific set of natural characteristics. According to very own Data Analytics instructors at General Assembly Malaysia, successful data analysts possess a positive outlook, natural problem-solving skills, and are out-of-the-box thinkers who can see the big picture. If you consider yourself a "cup half full" person with a curious mind and a knack for problem-solving, then data analytics might be the perfect fit for you.

But what if your background is in a different field entirely? The good news is that successful data analysts come from a wide range of backgrounds, including music, arts, real estate, sports analytics, finance, engineering, and more. Don't discount your previous career experience – all experience is valuable and can contribute to building a successful career in data analytics.

If you've had to think on your feet in past roles, a career in data analytics might be a perfect match for your skills and interests. So if you're ready to take the plunge and explore a career in data analytics, keep reading to discover our four steps to getting started.

Building your skillset: what are employers looking for?

Here are the key skills employers want to see on your resume:

  1. Technical proficiency: A strong foundation in programming languages such as Python, SQL, and R, as well as data visualization tools like Tableau or Power BI.

  2. Analytical skills: The ability to gather, analyze, and interpret large amounts of data, and to identify patterns, trends, and insights.

  3. Problem-solving skills: A data analyst must be able to identify problems and develop solutions that meet the needs of the business or organization.

  4. Attention to detail: Data analysis requires a high level of accuracy, so an eye for detail is crucial.

  5. Communication skills: Data analysts must be able to communicate their findings to a variety of audiences, including technical and non-technical stakeholders.

  6. Business acumen: Understanding the broader context of the business or organization, and how data analysis can support its goals, is essential.

  7. Continuous learning: The field of data analytics is constantly evolving, so a willingness to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies is essential.

By demonstrating these key skills, you'll be well on your way to landing a job as a data analyst and making valuable contributions to any organisation.

And while the above skills are crucial. However, there is another skill sought after by employers that matters — project management. In this new era of remote work, where globally over 16% of companies hire fully remote candidates, project management is considered a necessity for your new data analyst job. 

Take as an example, LinkedIn, where project management is a prerequisite. “You need to be able to prioritize your work tasks. In addition, most of us are working remotely from home, so having a basic level of project management to manage your own time and stay accountable is necessary”, said Farnaz Salehi, Insights Analyst at LinkedIn.

So here are the four steps to attract the attention of your future employer and get that dream data analyst job.

STEP 1: LEARN ABOUT THE FIELD

To start building your knowledge about data analytics, consider reaching out to individuals who work in business intelligence or data department within your current organization. Ask them if they would be willing to spend 15 minutes chatting with you about their job to gain insights into the field.

If you don't work in an office, you can use LinkedIn to find a mentor in the data analytics field. Reach out to someone in the industry and ask if they would be willing to share their experiences and offer guidance on breaking into the field.

By getting a sense of what it's like to work as a data analyst, you can become more confident about pursuing a career in this field.

A day in the life of a Junior Data Analyst. Here are two day-to-day tasks that this role performs: 

  1. One of your first responsibilities would involve cleaning data, which means you would be sent an existing data set. You will need to get it ready for analysis, calculate a few missing fields, and communicate with the rest of your team the data areas for improvement. 
  2. Your second day-to-day responsibility would involve visualizing the data in a dashboard. This role is commonly known as the “dashboard jockey.” During this task, you might also be asked to communicate why you chose to represent the data in a certain way and explain the story behind the data.

STEP 2: ACQUIRE THE SKILLS YOU NEED TO SUCCEED

The job market has undergone a drastic change since just six years ago. Back then, job openings were few and far between, and a degree was practically a requirement for any serious job consideration. But in today's post-pandemic world, the situation has flipped on its head.

There are currently more job openings available than qualified talent to fill them. Companies have started to remove the degree requirement to attract a larger pool of applicants. This is fantastic news for those who are just entering the workforce or considering a career change. Having a degree is no longer the only way to secure a dream job as a data analyst.

Professionals looking to change careers are now turning to reskilling programs to equip themselves with the necessary skills. 12-week programs like our Data Analytics Immersive are tailor-made to prepare them for the job market.

Despite this, there is still a common misconception that a reskilling program alone isn't "enough" and that companies won't consider hiring someone without a degree. But that couldn't be further from the truth. According to Jon Cohen, our Head of Placements at General Assembly Malaysia, learners who complete the Data Analytics Immersive program are well-equipped for a full career change and can land a job right out of the bootcamp. The time for change is now.

STEP 3: BUILD A PORTFOLIO SHOWCASING YOUR SKILLS AND STRATEGIC THINKING

Data analytics is a very visual and hands-on role, this is why most companies require that you share your portfolio samples when applying. Here are some of the most important things you should include in your portfolio:

  • Real-world data samples that you can model up and present the problem you’ve solved for the business. 
  • Your understanding of how your data is echoing the business KPIs (key performance indicators). 
  • Your ability to clean large data sets and visualize them on a dashboard.

STEP 4: PRACTICE YOUR COMMUNICATION SKILLS

Alright, let's add some fun to this!

Being a data analyst is not just about crunching numbers, it's also about telling a story with them! If you can't communicate your findings in a way that grabs people's attention, you might as well be talking to a wall. So, how can you become a data storytelling rockstar? Check out these three tips:

First things first, know your audience. You can't just throw data at people and expect them to care. You need to understand their needs and what they're looking for. Surveys and interviews can be your secret weapon to uncover the juicy details.

Next up, process that data like a boss. Don't be afraid to sketch out your ideas on paper before diving into fancy software. The key is to find a way to make your findings pop! And don't forget to take notes along the way. You'll thank yourself later when it's time to tell your story.

And last but not least, tell your story like it's hot off the press. Your visualization should be accompanied by a killer description that ties everything together. Think of it like telling a friend about your favorite movie - you want to make it engaging and easy to understand. Combine your notes and understanding of the core problem to create an impactful story that people won't forget!

YOUR DATA ANALYST CAREER CAN BEGIN TODAY
Our Data Analytics Immersive is designed for career changers like you, without prior data experience, who want to build a foundation skill set in data analytics with the possibility of advancing into more technical data science skills.

Join Our Upcoming Class

09 Apr - 18 Jun

| Tuesday & Thursday | 8pm - 10pm

Part-Time Course

Data Analytics Bootcamp

Learn Excel, SQL, and Tableau to transform raw data and drive powerful analyses.

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GA Malaysia

Published on Apr 06, 2023

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