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8 Skills That A Data Analyst Should Have

Updated: Sep 12, 2021

First of all, what is data analytics?

Data analytics is the process of analyzing, organizing, and transforming data to get insights to make data-driven decisions. A person who performs data analysis is called a data analyst.

This article will discuss the top eight skills you need to become a successful data analyst. These skills will help you in your interview because many organizations are looking for these skills particularly and you can get ahead of your peers if you have these skills.

Here is the list of skills you need to be a successful data analyst:

Microsoft Excel

It is a spreadsheet application by Microsoft. Believe it or not, It is one of the widely used applications in organizations for data analysis. Excel has many functions and formulas like VLOOKUP, Pivot Tables, VBA, and many more. These formulas and functions make data analyst jobs easy because they can perform all data analysis steps in Excel.

Suppose you know Excel formulas, functions, VBA, Pivot Tables, design charts, etc. You have an edge compared to your peers. If you are an aspiring data analyst, then it will be an excellent skill to have.

SQL (Structured Query Language)

SQL is the query language that talks to the database. It is just like any other language we have, but It can only talk to databases. By SQL, we can organize and extract data from any relational database. MySQL, Oracle, PostgreSQL, etc., are different databases in which you can use SQL. The central part of the data analyst's job is a data exploration and data collection. For these tasks, data analysts use SQL. So having SQL will be highly beneficial for your career.

Data Visualization

You should know at least one visualization tool such as Power BI or Tableau. These are the two most popular ones, but there are many out there in the industry. And if you have learned at least one tool. You can quickly learn some other tools. So if you are asking me for my choice, I would go for either Power BI or Tableau. These tools allow you to connect with the data sources. You can pull that data into these visualization tools and build a lot of valuable dashboards. So visualization tools nowadays are essential.

Communication and Presentation skills

When working as a data analyst, you often talk with your business manager, engineering groups, and different stakeholders. Then, your job is to communicate and effectively gather the requirements to offer creative solutions.

You also need presentation skills because you tell your data story when you build a dashboard as a data analyst. You are making a story around sales. You notice that sales are declining in one region and increasing in another. Your job would be to present the reason behind this. So telling a compelling data story is essential.

Presentation skills are something that you need to master. The idea is you should not bore your audience too much with your presentation. Instead, you should have an effective and engaging presentation.

Domain Knowledge

Often, suppose you're looking at any data analyst job. In that case, they will say financial data analyst, retail analyst, human resource analytics, etc. It means if you have a degree and knowledge in finance, then this domain knowledge will be beneficial for you in your future data analyst role. Most people have the perspective that if you are from computer science, you can only succeed in this field. But they are wrong because almost every type of industry is hiring data analysts nowadays. Therefore, It will be constructive for you to have domain knowledge.


The next skill that an aspiring data analyst requires is programming. Nowadays, many organizations are using Python and R for data analysis. These programming languages are prevalent in the analytics industry. Python will be a better choice if you start because Python is straightforward to understand and has a clear and logical syntax. It is not like the other languages like C++, JavaScript, etc. Having Python knowledge will give you an edge over the competition. It is not much required, but it will help you a lot in the future if you have programming skills.

Mathematics and Statistics

Knowledge of Mathematics and Statistics is very much required as a data analyst. These skills will provide you a base for understanding the concepts behind data analytics. You need to know normal distribution, standard deviation, an outlier, and many more. Because this will help you perform inferential and predictive analyses; otherwise, it will be challenging to understand what your data is telling you.

Problem Solving

You need to have good problem skills to be a data analyst. When you are analyzing the data, you are trying to solve a business problem. Solutions for this business problem can impact the organization in many ways. It can cause huge profits and losses as well. If you think you don't have problem-solving, then there is no need to worry. Because just like any other skill, you can practice it to be good at it.

These are eight skills you should have as an aspiring data analyst. It will provide you a great foundation to build on.

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