Ask AFS: What Should You Look For In A Data Analyst?

A young woman analyzing data

Last month we discussed a few different ways to improve data intelligence. It is becoming increasingly clear that good data analysts are a key driver of success in a company’s logistics operations. Your niece just got her MBA and she’s looking for a job. Would she be a good candidate to help your company with data analysis?   

Maybe, since good data management needs to be backed by strong business expertise. MBA programs usually provide a great coverage of business in general, but depending on the specific concentration, it may or may not provide enough training on quantitative and analytical skills. There are other majors that might be a better fit right out of the gate. It is also worth mentioning that data visualization and data storytelling are becoming more important. The purpose of great data analytics is to inform management to make smart decisions. One should never underestimate the ability to interpret data and leverage it to drive business results.

From a technical skills perspective, as a minimum, any analytics professional should be conversant in working with SQL and programming using Python, R or SAS. Also, it goes without saying that they should have a firm grasp on all of Microsoft’s suite of services. 

While everything can be taught after a team member is hired, it’s usually easier to start with a candidate who has the technical skill sets already, because it generally takes less time to get a quantitative-minded professional up to speed on business than it does to turn a businessperson into a bona fide data scientist.



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