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Apr 29, 2020

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Business Intelligence Skills

Data Analyst Skills to Tackle After You Learn SQL

4 min read

Apr 29, 2020

/

Business Intelligence Skills

Data Analyst Skills to Tackle After You Learn SQL

4 min read

Apr 29, 2020

/

Business Intelligence Skills

Data Analyst Skills to Tackle After You Learn SQL

4 min read

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Data Analyst Skills to Tackle After You Learn SQL

"Last week I had a great conversation with a student who had just completed our Advanced SQL for Business Intelligence course, and was considering his next steps. I think some of you might find hearing our exchange valuable. Here is a summary.

I feel pretty comfortable with SQL now. What should I learn next if I want to get a job as a Data Analyst?

I love his question for two reasons...

  • He wants to keep learning. With that attitude, securing the job he wants is only a matter of time. Nothing accelerates a career like thoughtful study applied to the right skills.

  • He has a clear picture of what he wants (a job as a Data Analyst) and he wants to focus his efforts on things that will best move him toward his goal.

Obviously I want to help this guy. It’s hard not to like someone who is willing to put in the effort to better themselves and their career. Here are the basics of what I told him…

You could start by getting really good at Microsoft Excel.

If you haven’t mastered Excel yet, it is a great skillset to go after, because it is so widely used in business, and is a very handy complement to SQL expertise. If you find yourself as a SQL-coding Database Analyst, you’ll likely find it fairly common to export your results to Excel and share them with stakeholders (who are likely Excel users but not SQL coders). You will also find Excel handy for making graphs to visualize your findings and to advocate for the decisions you think should be made based on your data. There are also plenty of instances when you’ll get your hands on a CSV file, and pivot tables and Excel formulas will get the job done a lot quicker than importing your data into a SQL database. While Excel is so widely used, Excel experts are a lot less common. If you can develop true mastery, it is very valuable in the marketplace. My partner Chris Dutton has some fantastic Excel courses, which are some of the highest rated courses available on Udemy. I recommend any of his courses.

You could choose to work on some Data Science or Predictive Modeling skills with tools like R, python, SAS, or SPSS.

Modeling and data science work can be really fun. In my experience these tools are not quite as widely used as Excel, however the supply of true experts here is extremely limited, so if you do pick up these skills, you’ll be in demand. If I had to guide you to a specific one or two, I would pick R and python. SAS and SPSS are great too, but not all employers have licenses for these programs, so your skills with these are not quite as portable as R and python, which do not require any kind of license or subscription to take advantage of. If you are certain that you want to be a Data Analyst or work on Data Science, then R might be the way to go. If you are more on the fence and think you might possibly want to go the route of Software Engineering, then it might make sense to try python, which is good for data science, and can also be used as an application programming language. You really cannot go wrong with any of these, especially R or python.

You could go deeper into SQL, and learn more about Database Administration.

You could be considering a career as a DBA, or you might be a Data Analyst looking for a more comprehensive understanding of the databases you will be working with. Either way, developing a firm grasp of DBA basics is a great place to invest your time. We recently released a MySQL Database Administration course exclusively on the Maven platform, and have made the decision to release that course on Udemy as well. We are aiming to get our MySQL Database Administration course live on the Udemy platform this upcoming Tuesday, April 28th. We are really proud of this course. If you’ve been wanting to add DBA skills to your Analyst toolkit, this one is a great fit.

Whether you decide you want to become an Excel expert, dive into Data Science and Predictive Modeling, or keep beefing up your SQL skills, there really is no wrong answer.

They are all great choices, so pick whichever sounds the most fun right now and get after it.

Keep growing!

-John

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