A lot of people have asked me how to be a better data analyst. I can give lengthy answers on what to study and learn about how to become a better data analyst. But, I always opt to share the same short answer. I start by telling them the one rule a data analyst must follow to succeed and be better, in general.

What Analytics Is and Is Not?

How to Be a Better Data Analyst

Today, I am about to share my secret weapon on how to be a better data analyst. By this, I also mean to answer your questions on how to be a better business analyst and how to be a good financial analyst. But before that, let us understand what analytics is and what it isn’t.

Analytics is…

Analytics is about one thing: Intelligence. That is what we as analysts work long into the night for and torture thousands of rows of data for. It is the gem, the perl, and the sapphire of our very existence. It is the end all and the be all.

Show me an analyst that has a tenacity for producing large volumes of relevant and important intelligence. I will tell you that that analyst will always be employed, praised, and loved. But this is not enough. It is not how to be a lasting data analyst.

Analytics is not…

How to Become a Better Analyst

Perhaps we should now spend a moment defining what analytics is not. It is not a fancy graph, a lot of graphs, and a lot of fancy graphs. It is not just about statistics, methods, data tables, data bases, SQL queries, excel spreadsheets, and pivot tables. Nor is it anything else that makes people instantly die of boredom at their mere mention.

Analytics uses those things. But the end result of analytics is not those things. Therefore, knowing them is not all you need on learning how to be a better data analyst.

They are merely vehicles. And vehicles for what? Can we guess? Vehicles to deliver intelligence. Don’t get caught up in the vehicle. Be familiar with the vehicle and how you can use it to produce intelligence.

But never forget what you are really doing. Never forget how to be a data analyst. Never forget what your true purpose is as an analyst. The product is the intelligence, not the graph or the speadsheet.

How to Be a Better Data Analyst – One Rule to Follow

How to be a Data Analyst

Without further ado, lets come down to the answer on what makes a good intelligence analyst? Remember this one rule and you will save hours of frustration for yourself. Not only that, you will also get to stay away from an insane amount of irritation from everyone you work with. They don’t care about your analysis. They don’t care what type of data analysis you used. They don’t care how hard it was. They don’t even care about how amazingly close to 100% your Pearson’s coefficient came. They only care about their questions getting answered. They care about increasing their intelligence. And as an analyst, so should you.

How NOT to be a data analyst

Our inner psychology is always trying to protect itself. Keep itself away from danger and embarrassment. It’s easy to pass the buck and let other people have the responsibility. It is so easy that often times we do it unknowingly.

When you turn in a report or analysis without any recommendations on what people should do, you’re passing the buck. You are letting someone else come to a conclusion and decide on an action. And if they’re wrong, it’s on them. You just provided the data.

This is the lower road to take. This is now how to be a data analyst.

Knowing how to recommend and defend is what makes a better analyst

Any data scientist worthy of the name will deliver recommendations. Moreover, they will defend those recommendations with logical arguments that they found from the data. Find an important recommendation in the data with ample evidence to back it up, and defend your position.

It doesn’t mean you’ll always be right. But it’s the only way to get smarter and make a difference. In the end, what makes a good analyst is transparency in all the data that you see.

Once you accept that you need to know this, that’s the time you’ll know how to be a better data analyst.  If you want to learn more about data analytics, check out our consulting services today!