Having interacted with several aspiring data science/analytics professionals, we were faced with one common question: What skills do I need to possess to land into an analytics job? We would like to start the journey for this community by laying down the essential skills needed to venture into the field of Data Science or Business Analytics. In the upcoming blog posts, we would then, address the learning needs at various levels and try to help our readers, to acquire these skills through our informative posts.
Misconception: Analytics is all about statistics and programming
Firstly, we would like to clear a common misconception that analytics is all about knowing statistics and programming. Though partially true, had this been the only case you would have seen only Statistics Postgraduates or Computer Science Engineers working into the analytics industry. However, contrary to this assumption we see a lot of MBA professionals working into the analytics industry, so what is it that the analytics companies are looking into these MBA graduates? So at least one thing is clear – Analytics is not all about statistics only!
Analytics defined in most simple terms is the science of extracting valuable information from the data and communicating the same effectively to the respective stake holders to drive business decisions.
Why programming skills are required?
The above statement carries a lot of weight and would describe all the skills needed to successfully venture in the field of analytics. What we see from above is, you need to work on a lot of data, trust us on this; by lot we mean lots and lots of data, think beyond the gigabytes! So definitely, it becomes difficult to work with this huge chunk of data manually and we need to employ some software’s which enable us to work on this data. While you can do away with programming with some of the software’s in the market which offer pretty good GUI, they limit your abilities to the pre-defined activities in the application. As an analytics professional you would want more power in your hands to play with the data as you like it, hence the programming skills are sought by most of the recruiters.
Why do you need to know statistics?
Ok, so we got the need for programming skills, but what do we do with the data that we just got? Well we now need to analyze the data, structure it if unstructured, look at patterns and see if we can extract some information out of it. All these activities need the application of statistical concepts onto the data. We analyze our data by applying various statistical models and come up with effective conclusions.
Is this enough or there’s more?
We now know the need for programming skills and the knowledge of statistics to be an effective analytics professional. Let’s take a hypothetical case to move from here. Say you own a cab business and accidentally you happen meet an analytics professional. Having heard so much about their skills to analyze data and drive the fortunes of your business you ask them to help you with some insights into your business. Our analytics professional, after analyzing the entire data provided by you, builds a model which is quite apt at say predicting the time and location of the day where you should divert most of your chauffeurs for maximum business. So here’s the solution for you:
The p-Value of the Null Hypothesis that you should send maximum cabs at XYZ location in the evening, compared to the Alternative Hypothesis of you should not deploy maximum cabs at that location in the evening is higher than the level of significance of 5%, hence statistically there is no evidence to reject the Null Hypothesis.
Think about what you feel of the above solution and as a cab business owner if you can make anything out of it. Stay tuned for part 2 of the article!
In the Part-I of our article on key skills for becoming a data scientist or an analytics professional we discussed that analytics is not only about statistics. We then defined analytics in simple terms and understood the importance of programming and statistical skills. We would continue with more of the required skills in the Part-II of this article.