To succeed as a data analyst, foster curiosity: While technical tools may evolve and change, the single best skill to grow as a data analyst is curiosity. Curiosity to answer business problems, to look at data with a different point of view, and curiosity to understand your audience when delivering data stories,
Design skills are extremely important for data science: To deliver insights that drive action, pay attention to design skills when crafting data stories and data visualizations. They will help you empathize with the audience, and drive a message that resonates with them.
Data literacy is fundamental: Learning the fundamentals of data is paramount for a healthy, functioning organization and society. Being able to criticize charts, pick them apart, and discuss the insights in a common language, is a sign of a vibrant data culture.
Curiosity feeds a sense of empathy when working with data. Because I could be a hardcore data nerd, but if I can't actually express that to other people, express what I'm finding on my insights then, well then what's the point, right? I think sometimes we can over-focus on the technical skills and forget the last mile of analytics. Curiosity and empathy are the core skills underpinning that.
To create a data culture, there are three things. You need to have an agile system—so that's about creating that architecture that has the robustness of data sources, but also the ability for people to find things and respond quickly. There has to be a high level of proficiency, so that's the skill base across an organization, the data fluency, but also the hard technical skills of using the platform you've implemented. And then the community is the third aspect of success, and that's about having people who are engaged.
About Andy Cotgreave
Andy Cotgreave is co-author of The Big Book of Dashboards, and Technical Evangelist at Tableau. He is the host of If Data Could Talk, co-host of Chart Chat and columnist for Information Age. He is also on the 2021 dataIQ Top 100 most influential people in data. With over 15 years of experience in the industry, he has inspired thousands of people with technical advice and ideas on how to identify trends in visual analytics and develop their own data-discovery skills. Keep in touch with Andy by subscribing to his Sweet Spot newsletter: curated stories of how data intersects with the world. You can also follow him on Twitter and connect with him on LinkedIn.
Adel is a Data Science educator, speaker, and Evangelist at DataCamp where he has released various courses and live training on data analysis, machine learning, and data engineering. He is passionate about spreading data skills and data literacy throughout organizations and the intersection of technology and society. He has an MSc in Data Science and Business Analytics. In his free time, you can find him hanging out with his cat Louis.