Careers in Tech

Top 8 Skills Required to Become a Data Analyst

Published: 9th May, 2023

Gurneet Kaur

Data Science Consultant at almaBetter

A Data Analyst is a professional who works with data to help organizations make informed decisions.

A Data Analyst might use their skills to analyze customer data for a retail company, for example, to determine which products are most popular and which aren’t selling well. They might also look at data on employee performance to help a company improve how it manages its workforce. In simple terms, they take data, analyze it and provide insights.

Data analysis is examining and making sense of large data sets to extract useful information and insights.

It is a way of making sense of large amounts of data. It takes all the information a company or organization has collected and sorts it in a way that allows people to understand it. Once sorted, data scientists can find patterns and insights to help make better decisions for the company or organization.

Data analysis is one step in this process, where we try to understand our data by looking at different aspects of it, looking for patterns, and trying to find insights.

Table of Contents for this article:

  • Skills requiredx to become a Data Analyst
  • R Programming
  • SQL for Data Science
  • Important Python libraries
  • MS Excel for Data Cleansing
  • Critical and logical thinking
  • Understanding the numbers (Statistics and Probability)
  • Machine Learning basics
  • Data visualization and presentation sense for storytelling

Skills required to become a Data Analyst:

There are a variety of skills that can be useful for a Data Analyst to have. Here are a few examples:

Strong analytical and problem-solving skills: Data analysts should make sense of complex data sets and draw insights from them.

Technical skills: Familiarity with statistical analysis software (such as R or Python), databases, and SQL is essential for working with large data sets.

Communication and presentation skills: Data analysts need to effectively communicate their findings to others, both verbally and in written reports.

Business acumen: Understanding the industry and business context in which the data is being analyzed can help data analysts make more informed decisions and recommendations.

Knowledge of machine learning and statistical modeling can be helpful in certain types of tasks.

Data visualization skills: Effectively visualizing data can help analysts communicate their insights to others.

Creativity: A Data Analyst should have the ability to think outside the box and bring up creative solutions to complex problems.


R Programming

R is a well-liked programming language for data analysis because it has several built-in functions and libraries that make it well-suited for working with large data sets.

R is an influential programming language for statistical computing, allowing one to perform complex statistical analysis tasks efficiently.


It is a free, open-source programming language that is flexible and customizable, making it easy for analysts to create specialized functions or scripts tailored to their organization’s specific needs.

R has a wide variety of data visualization libraries like ggplot2 and lattice, making it easier to create visual representations of data to communicate insights effectively.

R also has active and helpful communities where many materials are available, like tutorials, documentation, and use cases. It makes it easier for beginners to learn and experts to exchange ideas and knowledge.

R can handle various data formats and types, making it versatile and functional in multiple contexts.

These factors make R an ideal choice for data analysis and a popular tool for data scientists, statisticians, and analysts.


R code that demonstrates some common tasks in data analysis:

  • Reading in data:

This code reads the data set stored in a CSV file and assigns it to a variable called “data”.

Exploring data:


This code generates a summary of the data and prints the first few rows of the data set.

Data Visualization:


This code creates a scatter plot of variable1 and variable2, using the ggplot2 library.

Linear Regression:


This code creates a linear regression model where y denotes dependent variable, x denotes independent variable, and data is the data frame. It also provides a summary of the model.

Machine Learning:


This code creates a random forest model, where x denotes independent variable, y denotes dependent variable, and data is the data frame. It also splits the data into train and test data and training the model.

Time series:


This code creates an exponential smoothing state space model for the time series data and plots the model.

image012 (1).png

SQL For Data Science:

SQL is known as Structured Query Language, which is a programming language for managing and manipulating relational databases. It is a required tool for Data Science as it helps data scientists interact with databases and retrieve the data which they need for data analysis.

In short, SQL is a powerful tool for Data Science because it allows data scientists to easily retrieve, manipulate and analyze large amounts of data from relational databases. As a result, data scientists can leverage SQL to gain insights from large data sets that can inform decision-making, develop predictive models and identify new opportunities.


SQL can be used in Data Science:

Data cleaning: SQL can identify and remove invalid or duplicate data from a database, which can help improve the accuracy and quality of the data being analyzed.

Aggregating data: SQL can be used to group data by specific columns and perform calculations like sum, average, count, etc., which can identify patterns and trends in the data.

Joining data from multiple tables: SQL Joins can be used to combine data from various tables in a database, which can be used to create more complex and informative data sets for analysis.

Feature extraction: SQL can extract specific features from the data, which can be used as inputs for machine learning models.

Data visualization: SQL can be used to pull data into visualization software like Tableau and create interactive graphs and charts that can be used to communicate insights effectively.

SQL can be used to implement advanced analytics such as Predictive modeling, time series forecasting, forecasting future values of a variable, etc.

image014 (1).png

Important Python Libraries:

Python is a popular programming language for data analysis, and many libraries can be used to perform a wide range of data analysis tasks. Here are a few popular libraries for data analysis in Python:

NumPy: A library for working with large arrays and matrices of numerical data and includes functions for performing mathematical operations on these arrays.

Pandas: A library for working with datasets in Python, which provides data structures and functions for manipulating and analyzing data.

Matplotlib: A library for creating visualizations of data, such as line plots, bar charts, and histograms.

Seaborn: A library for creating more advanced visualizations, such as heatmaps, violin plots, and pair plots.

Scikit-learn: It is a library for machine learning that includes a wide variety of algorithms for supervised and unsupervised learning, such as linear and logistic regression, decision trees, and neural networks.

TensorFlow and Keras: These libraries are widely used for deep learning tasks in Python and for building and training machine learning models that can handle large and complex data sets.

NLTK: Natural Language Toolkit is a library for working with text data in Python. It has an extensive collection of functions for text processing and text mining.

Scipy: A library that provides functions for optimization, interpolation, integration, and other scientific and engineering tasks.


MS Excel For Data Cleansing:

MS Excel is a commonly used tool for data cleaning and preparation because it provides various built-in functions and features that can be used to manipulate and clean data. Here are a few examples of how Excel can be used for data cleansing:

Removing duplicate data: Excel has a built-in feature that allows you to identify and remove duplicate rows of data.

Data validation: Excel provides data validation rules that can be set up to check that data entered into a worksheet adheres to certain criteria, such as being in a specific format or within a certain range of values.

Text manipulation: Excel provides several text functions, such as CONCATENATE, UPPER, and LOWER, which can clean and standardize text data.

Data sorting and filtering: Excel allows you to sort and filter data based on specified criteria, which can help identify and remove outliers or errors in the data.

Pivot tables and charts: Excel provides pivot tables and charts that can quickly summarize and analyze data.

Conditional formatting: Excel provides a feature called conditional formatting, which can highlight specific cells, rows or columns depending on the values they contain.

Data transformation: Excel provides various functions like VLOOKUP, INDEX, MATCH, which can merge data from multiple tables and perform data transformation tasks.

Read our latest blog on the "Features of MS Excel".

Critical and Logical Thinking:

Critical and logical thinking are essential skills for a Data Analyst because they allow them to make sense of complex data sets and draw accurate conclusions.

Critical thinking is the ability to actively evaluate and analyze information, identify any biases or inconsistencies, and make sound judgments based on the available evidence. This is important for data analysts because it allows them to identify patterns and trends in the data that may not be immediately obvious.


Logical thinking, on the other hand, refers to the ability to understand and make connections between different pieces of information, and then use that information to solve problems. This is important for data analysts because it allows them to identify the cause, affect the relationship between different data points, and use that understanding to make predictions or recommendations.


A critical thinker will be able to assess the data, identifying potential biases, outliers, and inconsistencies and will be able to come to logical conclusions from the data.

A Data Analyst with logical thinking skills will be able to use data to test hypotheses and infer cause-and-effect relationships, and will be able to think through problems in a systematic way, following a structured process to arrive at a solution.

A Data Analyst with strong critical and logical thinking skills can work independently, identify and solve problems, and make data-driven decisions.

Understanding the numbers (Statistics and Probability):

Understanding statistics and probability is essential for a Data Analyst because it allows them to make sense of the numbers and draw accurate conclusions from the data. Statistics deals with collecting, analyzing, interpreting, and presenting data. It provides the tools and techniques for analyzing data and making inferences about a population based on a sample. Statistics is essential for data analysts because it allows them to perform quantitative analysis, such as summarizing data and testing hypotheses.

Probability deals with measuring the likelihood of an event occurring. It is used to model random phenomena and make predictions about the possibility of specific outcomes. Understanding probability is essential for data analysts because it allows them to understand the uncertainty inherent in data and to make predictions about future events.

Understanding basic statistics concepts such as mean, median, mode, variance, and standard deviation is essential for data analysts to summarize data and make generalizations.


Understanding probability concepts such as conditional probability, Bayes’ theorem, and probability distributions, is vital to make predictions about future events using the data.


Understanding statistical tests like t-test, chi-square, ANOVA, etc. are essential for a Data Analyst to perform hypothesis testing and make inferences about the population from a sample.


Machine Learning Basics:


Machine learning allows computer systems to learn from data and improve performance without being explicitly programmed. It is a powerful tool for data analysis because it will enable computers to automatically identify patterns and make predictions based on data.

Supervised learning: The machine is given a labeled dataset and learns to predict the label for new examples. Examples include linear regression, logistic regression, and decision trees.

Unsupervised learning: The computer is provided with unlabeled data and must find patterns or structure in the data without any guidance. Examples include k-means clustering, principal component analysis, and anomaly detection.

Semi-supervised learning: This machine learning is a hybrid of supervised and unsupervised learning. In this case, the model is provided with a mix of data i.e… some amount of labeled data and a large amount of unlabeled data.

Reinforcement learning: In this type of machine learning, the computer learns to make decisions by getting feedback as rewards or penalties. Examples of reinforcement learning algorithms include Q-learning and SARSA.

Deep Learning: A subset of machine learning in which neural networks consist of multiple layers called deep neural networks. These methods can capture much more complex patterns and have been used in image recognition, natural language processing, and more.

Data visualization and presentation sense for storytelling:

Data visualization and presentation sense allows data analysts to effectively communicate the insights and findings from their data analysis clearly and compellingly. Data visualization deals with creating graphical representations of data, such as charts, graphs, and maps, to make the data more understandable and accessible.

Presentation sense is the ability to tell a story with data. It involves organizing and structuring the data logically, making it easy to understand and presenting it engagingly and persuasively.


A Data Analyst with solid visualization and presentation sense will be able to create visualizations that are easy to understand, highlight the key findings, and convey the message. A Data Analyst with good storytelling skills will be able to structure and organize the data in a way that is logical and easy to follow and present it in a way that is engaging and persuasive. The data analysis’s purpose and context are essential to choosing the appropriate visualizations, language, and tone to present the data.



How long will it take to become a Data Analyst?

The total time it takes to grow into a Data Analyst can vary depending on factors such as prior experience, education, and the specific job or field you are pursuing. For example, a person with a strong background in mathematics, statistics, and computer science may be capable of becoming a Data Analyst more quickly than someone without that experience. In addition, completing a degree or certification program in data analysis can also help accelerate the process. On average, it may take anywhere from 3 months to 1 year to become a data analyst, depending on these factors. With AlmaBetter’s comprehensive Full Stack Data Science program, you can become a skilled Data Science and Analytics professional within 30 weeks and get placed with a high-paying job.

Is it possible to become a Data Analyst without a degree?

Without a degree, it is feasible to work as a Data Analyst. When hiring for data analyst positions, many corporations and organizations prioritize relevant work experience and skills more than formal schooling. Let’s say, for instance, that you know data analysis, the right software tools, statistics, arithmetic, programming, and analytical abilities. If so, you might be able to get employment as a Data Analyst.

Can I get a job immediately after learning data analytics?

After learning data analytics, it is possible to land a job as a Data Analyst, but this depends on several factors, including the job market, the particular qualifications and experience needed for the position, and your level of data analysis expertise.

It could take some time to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills if you have no prior experience and are only beginning to understand data analytics. However, you can demonstrate your abilities to potential employers by compiling a work portfolio, participating in online competitions, and contributing to open-source projects.

However, you might obtain jobs as a Data Analyst more quickly if you already have some expertise in a related field, such as programming, statistics, or math, and you have a solid grasp of the methods and tools used in data analysis.

It’s also worth noting that the job market for data analysts can be competitive, so it’s essential to have a strong resume and be prepared to demonstrate your skills during the interview process.

Are self paced or online courses better to become a successful Data Analyst?

The skills and knowledge necessary to succeed as a Data Analyst can be learned through self-paced and online courses. However, your ideal choice will rely on your unique learning preferences and circumstances.

Self-paced courses allow you to learn at your own pace and may be a suitable fit for people with busy schedules or those who want to learn while working. You can work at your leisure in this course and take as much time as necessary to comprehend the information and complete the assignment correctly.

On the other hand, online classes might offer a more structured learning environment with predetermined deadlines and supportive fellow students. Online courses are also a fantastic choice for people who want access to a greater variety of resources and materials and more interaction with professors and other students.

Both options can provide access to a wide range of learning materials and resources, such as video lectures, quizzes, and hands-on projects, which can help you gain the skills and knowledge needed to become a Data Analyst. It’s essential to look for a course that is updated regularly and relevant to the current trends in data analytics.

Ultimately, the most important thing is choosing a course that aligns with your learning style and goals and provides the right mix of theory and practice to help you become a successful Data Analyst.

Are data analysts and business analysts the same?

Business analysts and data analysts have different jobs and duties despite certain similarities. Large and complicated data sets are the main focus of data analysts, who use statistical and mathematical techniques to extract insights and influence business decisions. They frequently use tools such as Python or R to manipulate and analyze data and create visualizations and reports to present their findings.

Business analysts, on the other hand, have a broader focus. They analyze the operations and processes of a business or organization to identify areas for improvement and use their findings to develop strategies and solutions to increase efficiency and effectiveness. In addition, business analysts work closely with stakeholders to understand their needs and requirements and use various tools and techniques, including data analysis, to inform their recommendations.

In short, data analysts focus on analyzing and generating insights from it. In contrast, business analysts concentrate on understanding how the business operates, identifying issues and opportunities, and recommending solutions. A Business Analyst may use data analysis as one of the tools to achieve their goal, but it is not the only one.

Related Articles

Top Tutorials

Made with heartin Bengaluru, India
  • Official Address
  • 4th floor, 133/2, Janardhan Towers, Residency Road, Bengaluru, Karnataka, 560025
  • Communication Address
  • 4th floor, 315 Work Avenue, Siddhivinayak Tower, 152, 1st Cross Rd., 1st Block, Koramangala, Bengaluru, Karnataka, 560034
  • Follow Us
  • facebookinstagramlinkedintwitteryoutubetelegram

© 2024 AlmaBetter