When exploring a career path, it can be hard to imagine what working in that role looks like. Explore a day in the life of a data analyst with us.
The world of a data analyst is exciting. You'll get to work with interesting people, solve challenging problems, and make a difference in the world. You may be asked to do one task one day and something completely different tomorrow. You might need to learn new software or skills or deal with a particularly difficult customer issue. But no matter what happens, you'll be having fun at your job. Explore a day in the life of a data analyst with us.
A day in the life of a professional data analyst can be very different from one person to another. A lot of it depends on where you live and work, but there is one thing that most Data Analysts tend to have in common: each day is different. Every day is likely to contain a variety of tasks, some short and simple, others longer and more complex. This provides an exciting challenge and quite often leads to innovative solutions and improvements.
Most data analysts work within a wider team of engineers, other analysts, programmers, and project managers depending on the size of the company and the complexity of the project. Most days will start off with what is known in the tech world as a DSU, or daily stand-up. This is a short meeting – usually, about 30 minutes or less – where the team catches up on any progress, resolves any issues or roadblocks and makes sure everyone knows what they are doing for the day to ensure that their goals are met.
With so many different things to work on, and so much data to consume, there’s always something interesting going on at work. And while some days you might be analyzing payroll data or building reports that track steps taken by employee teams and their progress towards goals — other times you’ll be travelling around the world collecting insights into how people respond to ads or search for new products.
After getting your priorities straight with your team, you’ll spend a few hours dealing with data. Cleaning it, checking its quality, running tests, and see if it can be used to answer the questions or problems you have been asked to solve. After making sure the data is good, you’ll do some modelling, write up some code, and otherwise analyse the data you have, searching for patterns that help to answer your questions.
Today, many data analysts work fully remotely or on a hybrid basis with a lot of location flexibility. Lunchtime might mean connecting with colleagues or taking your dog for a walk around the block. Where you are will depend on your role, seniority, and the company you work for, but if remote working is the goal for you, data analysis is a great field to go into.
After lunch, it’s time to take your findings from the morning and work them into presentations using either Tableau or just a simple slide deck. Part of a data analyst’s job is to take the complex information they extract from mountains of data and turn it into actionable insights.
While you’re doing all of this, don’t forget that you are making a difference in the world. After all, your insights will help people decide which product to buy or how best to market their business online next time they need to advertise their product or service. The role of a data analyst is to understand and analyse the data that comes in through various channels. You'll need to be curious about how people interact with the world, how they make buying decisions and why they choose one brand over another.
Towards the end of the day and while the information is still fresh in your mind, it’s key to document and explain your actions. One reason data analysts do this is to remind themselves what they did so they can do it again on another day or dataset. Another part is explaining your actions to your team, in case someone needs to fill in for you, and to support your findings should your stakeholders need more information.
After a long and exciting day doing a variety of interesting things and helping your company make better, data-driven decisions, it’s time to catch up on movements in the industry. It’s ever-growing and ever-changing, so it’s important to keep up with new programming languages, trends, tricks, and tips, and just to stay polished on simple statistics and maths. Many data analysts wind up their day practising their basic skills and catching up on news.
This is just one day in the life of a data analyst, but other days might include meeting with stakeholders, working cross-functionally with other teams to create dashboards, or learning whole new coding languages. There’s no end to the variety that comes with the territory of working in data analytics.
The iX LaunchPad Term Two Data Analytics programme kicks off on February 21, 2023. This programme is for GEMS Education students and is supported by GEMS For Life. Apply now and explore this exciting career with us.