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Today’s data-driven landscape is causing businesses to rely more on data analytics. Raw data possesses valuable knowledge regarding current business operations and marketing trends. Despite possessing so much valuable information, raw data is unstructured, comes in various formats, and is pulled from different sources.

To effectively utilize this data, businesses hire data analysts to scrub, analyze, and interpret their findings. Data analytics can be adapted to a variety of industries to create unique and rewarding career paths. 

What is Data Analytics?

Data analytics is the process of analyzing raw data sets to find patterns, correlations, and actionable insights. This data explains past actions, why these actions happened, and helps data analysts create predictive models of future scenarios. Data analysts interpret these scenarios and make recommendations to help businesses or organizations optimize their performance and make informed decisions.

Data analytics can be used to troubleshoot existing protocols, solve problems, and answer questions.  

What Does a Data Analyst Do?

Data analysts strive to improve a company’s overall efficiency and performance by providing solutions grounded in data. They do so by using four types of analytics:

  • Descriptive analytics
  • Diagnostic analytics
  • Predictive analytics
  • Prescriptive analytics

Descriptive analytics helps data analysts understand what happened. During this step, data analysts compile and summarize raw data using a method known as data aggregation. They analyze this summary to discover patterns and insights using a technique known as data mining.

Diagnostic analytics helps data analysts understand why certain events happened. This helps data analysts understand the cause-and-effect relationship between actions taken and current results. Data analysts use a variety of techniques and tools to identify the root cause of problems.

Predictive analytics helps data analysts create actionable insights based on predictive models. Predictive models are created using machine learning, probability theory, and historical data to predict likely future scenarios. These insights can help businesses reduce risk by making informed decisions on potential business opportunities.

Prescriptive analytics builds upon predictive analytics. This helps data analysts determine the optimal next steps for businesses based on information gathered from predictive analytics. Prescriptive analytics is a form of advanced analytics utilizing computational models, machine learning, and algorithms.

The Impact of AI on Data Analytics

Artificial intelligence (AI), specifically machine learning and predictive modeling, plays a critical role when performing data analytics. AI can quickly and accurately scan large data sets, identify existing patterns, and make predictions. This allows data analysts to provide solutions to existing problems in real time, so businesses can adapt quickly.

Most educational programs, including Berry College’s Data Analytics program, train future analysts to work with AI. This helps analysts find new ways to leverage and adapt to emerging technology to streamline existing processes. AI is a tool data analysts must consistently monitor and adjust to minimize the risk of:

  • Data corruption
  • Incomplete data
  • Unconscious bias within existing algorithms
  • Privacy breaches through unauthorized access and more.

Are Data Analysts the Same as Data Scientists?

Although data scientists are often mistaken for data analysts, they possess a much broader skill set. Data analysts focus primarily on analyzing and interpreting data. Data scientists focus on developing new ways to pull and analyze data to streamline the data analytics process.

Data scientists can create the algorithms used in machine learning programs as well as predictive modeling programs. They test these algorithms for accuracy and create updates to consistently improve these programs. Data scientists strive to improve data analytics by finding new and ways to automate data collection. 

4 In-Demand Data Analyst Jobs

Data analysts often combine their knowledge with other fields to create a personalized and highly desirable skill set. Data analysts can specialize in areas such as computer science, business, marketing, engineering, information technology, or healthcare. 

For this list, we chose positions the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts will grow faster than average between 2022-31. 

Operations Research Analysts

Operations research analysts can work in healthcare, business, finance, or for private consulting firms. These analysts gather, collect, and analyze data to answer questions regarding current operations within a business. They provide insight into the health of current performance, the efficiency of existing protocols, and ways to save money.

Operations research analysts present their findings and their recommendations to business managers and stakeholders. They also provide alternative solutions along with their associated risks and benefits to help managers create informed business decisions. 

The BLS predicts career opportunities for operations research analysts will grow by 23%. Operations research analysts can work in person or remotely.

Market Research Analysts

Market research analysts use a combination of marketing and data analytics to understand consumer behavior. They help companies understand the current needs of their target audiences and ideal price points for their product or service. They analyze competitors within the same niche to better understand a company’s current standing.

Market research analysts use this information to help clients customize and improve existing marketing strategies. They closely monitor industry trends and a client’s competition, so businesses can adjust their strategies in real time. This also provides insight into emerging opportunities for growth.

According to the BLS, market research analyst careers are predicted to grow by 19%. Market research analysts can work in-person or remotely. 

Management Analysts

Management analysts examine existing business practices by gathering data through financial records, employment reports, onsite interviews, and more. This provides insight into the current state of a business and highlights areas for improvement. They can recommend organizational changes such as implementing new systems to improve productivity, efficiency, and profitability.

According to the BLS, management analysts are projected to grow by 11%. 

Financial Analysts

Financial analysts help businesses and individuals wisely spend money to generate financial gains. These analysts review current and past financial data to better understand the current financial standing of their client. They research business trends, economic trends, regulations, and policies to highlight opportunities for financial growth based on the client’s goals. 

Financial analysts create investment strategies and financial plans based on the results of their research. They regularly monitor financial markets and trends to help their clients quickly capitalize on emerging investment opportunities. They also review the performance of existing investments to improve current strategies and financial plans.

According to the BLS, financial analyst careers are predicted to grow by 9%. Financial analysts can work in-person or remotely.

Next Steps

Data analytics is essential to modern business practices. This rapidly evolving field provides real-time insights and suggestions backed by data, so businesses can remain proactive. The more effectively companies can collect, analyze, and interpret data, the faster they can adapt.

Data analysts have an invaluable skill set that can help their clients remain competitive in today’s business landscape.

Tags: 4 In-Demand Data Analyst Jobs, Financial Analysts, Market Research Analysts, The Impact of AI on Data Analytics


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