Last week we got to host an event at WeWork San Francisco about our favorite topic – data! One of our guest speakers happened to be Amit Thakrar. Amit is currently working in the Business Operations and Strategy department for Airbnb and has worked for Uber in the past. Amit was kind enough to share his slides with us and we’ like to share out his top five tech learnings for building a career as a Data Analyst:

Work at a data-driven organization

To be successful in a competitive market place, all companies should let data drive their decisions. Data driven companies are always adapting their product to best fit consumer needs. When you’re starting out a career, ask questions in your interview about how the company uses data to drive results for not just the department you are working in, but for the company in general. Ask questions such as:

  • How do you measure success for the department/company?
  • How will my data skills inform company wide decisions?
  • How do you come up with creating a new product/service?

Data touches/influences all teams within the organization, working in a data role you are a key player in helping drive success.

Learn the skills to speak the language

Learning how to “talk the talk” helps you communicate effectively in the weeds with your team but also at a higher level helping to influence decision makers. There are many programs out there from badges to boot camps that can help you get up-to-speed or skill-up in areas you need a little extra help in.

Securing data is a necessary evil; interpreting the data is what you were hired to do

As an analyst, securing data is less than half of your job, but it’s the necessary first step to uncovering insights that tell a data story. Collecting and presenting data that might look formidable at first, in such a way that someone can easily draw and dissect conclusions, makes you an invaluable team member. Not only are you able to harness the data at a granular level, you can take it a step further through analysis and presentation to also be impactful and meaningful across your organization.

Bias towards action–analyze, hypothesize, experiment, repeat

Data can tell you a lot, including when it might be a good time to introduce a change or update to your company’s strategy or product, or introduce something new altogether. However, you won’t know which directions are ultimately smart ones to move in without an experimental and actionable approach. You can form new hypotheses based on past data trends and test those out to continue the cycle. When you analyze the data, you are able to see if your hypothesis is supported or rejected, offering insight on how your organization might act next in response.

Keep your feet on the ground

Stay grounded and keep learning, because nobody ever knows it all, and that’s ok. Learning new concepts and skills provides you with countless growth opportunities that will keep you from being left behind in today’s constantly evolving competitive landscape. You can keep your skillset marketable by doing some research on the skills required for the positions you are interested in, and dedicating a bit of time each week to working on filling in those gaps. There are resources available online that you can use to pull together data projects, and some bootcamps will even have you complete real-world projects that help you build a data portfolio.

Some additional food for thought: Network and connect with those above you in your company on a mentor:mentee level. Approach someone you admire professionally with a problem you are facing and learn from their strategy how to tackle it. Don’t just ask them to be your mentor – make the connection and work together! More often than not, when you reach out to someone on LinkedIn in this way, you’ll get a response and can continue to build a relationship from there. As we mentioned above bootcamps like the Level Data Analytics program can help you skill-up quickly, and they’re also another a great source for networking! Enrollment is rolling and you can apply here today!

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