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How to Build a Successful Career in Data Analytics

Industry Advice Analytics

Successful professionals with a progressive career path are those with a wealth of knowledge about market dynamics. They’re individuals who can translate data into information and information into insight, who can skillfully support data-driven decision-making. Their success comes from a combination of technical competence and analytical capabilities. They possess analytical agility, fully understand their company’s business problems, and know exactly what key stakeholders and management expect—communicating and visualizing data accordingly. Overall, they lead with analytics.

If you’re interested in becoming a successful analytics professional, here are some tips to consider.

Follow Market Dynamics and Development

To be a strong analytics professional, you need to stay constantly updated on market dynamics and development. Technological advancement and innovation are rapidly changing today’s market, increasing complexity and intensifying competition. Immerse yourself in market development, make every effort to attend industry-sponsored conferences, and subscribe to, and frequently follow up on, all relevant industry news.

This will enhance your strategic vision and help you more effectively project evolving marketing dynamics, so you can generate meaningful insights. To effectively support data-driven decision-making, you need to understand and master the business you’re in.

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Understanding the Basics

The foundational understanding of key concepts, processes, and approaches, such as probability theory, statistics, and enterprise analytics, will allow you to develop competencies and skills that enable you to focus on:

  • Managing and extracting data and information
  • Translating those analysis-derived insights into decision guides, which means applying advanced analysis-produced outcomes to a wide range of organizational challenges
  • Optimizing and standardizing data as a source of informational efficiency and standardization

Turning Data Into Insights

Because of today’s advances in technology, data has become more complex, segmented, detailed, and, sometimes, overwhelming. In response to that, analytical tools, such as Python, Hadoop, Tableau, and SQL, are becoming increasingly sophisticated. The ability to keep up with today’s latest technologies and master them is critical.

It is also imperative to continuously connect with your customer-facing colleagues—specifically, the team’s product managers and the field force—and work together to analyze up-to-date competitive intelligence information, so you can understand market situations that may be relevant to the data you’re analyzing. Taking a multi-dimensional approach will help you translate data into high quality, creditable, and relevant strategic insights you can use to guide the decision-making process.

Provide Excellence and Innovation

Focus on performing excellent work. To do that, you need to learn as much as possible from the internal and external environment to derive value from data, as well as seek learning opportunities that will enable you to deconstruct the abstract into details.

Study the wide variety of end-user software packages, and experiment with and deliver new solutions and approaches with relevance and simplicity (e.g. artificial intelligence, machine learning, and neural networks) to address business questions and evaluate your company’s performance. Explore insights on customer and consumer segmentation that will allow you to identify and understand drivers that could be impactful and help you generate refined forecasts that can improve planning.

Communicate Effectively

It is critically important to be able to clearly and effectively translate technical results and data solutions and persuade different audiences.

Analytics professionals need to focus on continuously improving and enhancing their abilities to generate relevant business insights with impactful underlining key messages (consider using 2D, 3D, and 4D data visualizations). Be prepared to provide insight-driven recommendations and engage in discussions with even more in-depth data.

By being an effective communicator, you can also better promote yourself, showcase your work, and ensure that your accomplishments are being noticed and recognized by relevant stakeholders, including management.

Show Willingness to Go Above and Beyond

Carefully set a stretch goal and determine the skills and knowledge needed to achieve it. Have a “can do” attitude and willingness to go the extra mile. A sense of urgency, creativity, curiosity, and critical thinking will help you build your analytics agility. You will not only gain the capabilities and skill sets needed for your next career move, but will also be noticed and recognized by senior management and the colleagues around you.

Network and Teamwork

Continue to build, develop, and cultivate your professional network in the analytics community. Connect with key stakeholders, including senior-level management, whenever possible; you can use them to “test” new approaches, which could result in a mentor relationship or friendship that could help you prepare for your next career move. Develop your listening skills—one of the most critical success factors for professionals in analytics—be open and welcome to diversity and inclusion of styles, ideas, and perspectives, and help everyone to achieve goals and business objectives.

You don’t have to be a manager to lead with your analytical skills: Try to practice your technical and professional skills whenever possible by taking ownership of the assigned tasks and positively influence the team to meet or exceed business objectives. Drive data-driven decision-making and become a coach and mentor to other colleagues who can benefit from your knowledge and expertise as a leader in analytics.

This post was written by Frank Wang, a career professional in the global pharmaceutical industry. 

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