The Top 2 Skills You Need to Become a Data Analyst – and How to Get Them Fast

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silver Imac with data analytics on the screen

If you’re reading this, you are likely seriously considering a career in data analytics. Or, maybe you already have a data analyst job but are questioning whether you have the top skills and knowledge of the best tools to earn a promotion to senior data analyst or even data scientist.

One thing is certain: the most successful businesses in any industry eliminate the guesswork, rely on analysis, and make data-driven decisions to develop products, achieve sustainable growth, and gain market share. The demand speaks for itself. As of Feb 1, 2022, Indeed had over 45,000 open job listings for data analysts with Glassdoor promoting another 23,000+ data analytics positions.

Wouldn’t it be great to know, then – by the numbers – the required skills most employers are seeking in their data analyst candidates most of the time? So you can get those skills and then find the dream job you have been looking for? One option to learn these skills and tools in a short time is to enroll in a data analytics bootcamp or certificate program. Below we provide some more information on data analytics programs that might be relevant to you.

Meanwhile, look no further than this study from MentorWorks Insights. Using a list of hard technical skills obtained from job postings across multiple industries on the internet we have created a skills database for those interested in data analytics and data science jobs.

About our methodology: We used job postings for data science and analyst jobs and utilized a comprehensive keyword list of 36 skills used in technology, coding, and data jobs (e.g., Python, SQL, etc.). Using text based processing, we also restricted the data to job descriptions where the required work experience was less than 2 years – entry-level in many cases. This provided us with a total of 683 job descriptions.

The table below shows the frequency with which specific skills appear in job descriptions. We find that Python and SQL rank as the Top 2 in terms of their frequency of appearance in job descriptions.

Table 1 – Percentage of job descriptions where a particular skill is desired
NOTE: Of the 36 skills analyzed, the table only includes skills that appear in at least 1 percent of job descriptions
Skill % of Job Descriptions including Skill
Python 29%
SQL 24%
R 21%
Statistics 14%
Database 12%
AWS 9%
Tableau 9%
Hadoop 6%
SAS 4%
Linux 4%
Java 3%
Google Cloud Platform – GCP 2%
Stata 1%

Our data allows us to ask some interesting and helpful questions. Below are some that caught our eye.

What skills are usually listed in job descriptions alongside another skill, say SQL?

Since employers want a portfolio of skills, we have compiled the data in a way that we can provide more actionable information to candidates for these data analytics jobs.

We cross-referenced which other skills are required when the job descriptions require SQL. The table below shows the occurrence of specific skills listed in job descriptions that also list SQL. It turns out that Python is the skill most frequently appearing in job descriptions along with SQL – suggesting that these two can be a powerful combination.

Table 2 – Percentage of job descriptions where a particular skill is listed along with SQL
* Table only includes skills that show up in at least 1 percent of job descriptions

Skill % of Job Descriptions including Skill
Python 47%
R 34%
AWS 20%
Database 19%
Statistics 17%
Tableau 15%
SAS 10%
Hadoop 10%
Linux 9%
Google Cloud Platform – GCP 3%
Stata 2%
Java 2%
If I have a combination of certain skills, what percentage of job descriptions will those skills cover? 

Obviously, the more job descriptions that are relevant to your skill set, the better your job prospects are. Using our methodology, we are able to address the question of ‘how relevant’ is your portfolio of skills – in terms of covering more job descriptions.

Let’s take a specific skill combination based on our analyses above. Based on our analysis, we have find that:

  • If you know both Python and SQL, your skill set would be listed in 57% of data analytics-related job descriptions.
  • Furthermore, If you have skills in Python, SQL, AWS, Tableau, and Statistics, your skill set would be listed in 72% of data analytics-related job descriptions.

The analysis here provides information on what skills are desired by employers, and you need to be capable of executing the skills in a meaningful way to actually be considered, get interviewed, win over other candidates and retain the job. Like we said earlier, though, market demand is at an all-time high for data analysts and data scientists. So, by acquiring knowledge and skills in data analytics, you are one step closer to a dream job in this area.

How to Learn the Top 2 Data Analytics Skills – FAST

MentorWorks supports a number of school partners that provide many of these skill-sets. The latest to join our network is Northeastern University’s Career Accelerator Studio in Data Analytics. This online bootcamp and certificate program is offered through Northeastern’s top-ranking D’Amore-McKim School of Business and provides accelerated, experiential, real-world learning in Python, SQL, AWS, and Tableau. The program also offers the opportunity to earn valuable, marketable micro-credentials and badges in Salesforce, the most-used Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform in the US.

Learn more about Northeastern University’s Career Accelerator Studio in Data Analytics.

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This post was originally published on the MentorWord blog.

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