What Is Data Analytics?
- Descriptive analytics, which looks at data to examine, understand, and describe something that’s already happened. When working with descriptive analytics, you might ask: Are sales stronger this month than last?
- Diagnostic analytics, which goes deeper than descriptive analytics by seeking to understand the why behind an occurrence. When working with diagnostic analytics, you might ask: Did the weather affect sales?
- Predictive analytics, which relies on historical data, past trends, and assumptions to answer questions about what will happen in the future. When working with predictive analytics, you might ask: What happened to sales the last time we had a cold winter?
- Prescriptive analytics, which aims to identify specific actions that an individual or organization should take to reach future targets or goals. When working with prescriptive analytics, you might ask: If the likelihood of a hot summer measured from weather models is above a certain percentage, should we add more shifts to increase output?
What Does a Data Analyst Do?
Data Analyst Careers
- Financial analyst. A financial analyst pores over data to identify business opportunities or make investment recommendations. This type of role can include business analysts, management analysts, and a wide variety of investment analysts. Financial analysts spend their time on data gathering, financial modeling, and spreadsheet maintenance. Some of them may focus on developing investment theses, speaking with company management teams and other investors, and marketing ideas.
- Market research analyst. Market research analysts monitor and predict sales trends, measure campaign results, and brainstorm new ways to gather data and find meaningful information. They decipher what consumers are seeking, and make inferences and draw conclusions based on consumer data.
- Big data and machine learning. Big-data analysts are responsible for realizing real-time solutions with a focus on affordability, speed, and quality, and providing business intelligence to clients or employers. Demand for big data technology, big data analysis, and machine learning has only grown as the business world and uses of data evolve. Big data analytics can make sense of data by uncovering trends and patterns, while machine learning accelerates the process with the help of decision-making algorithms.
- Budget analyst. This type of analyst focuses on the analysis and reporting of a specified budget. Budget analysts prepare budget reports and monitor organizational spending, helping both public and private organizations plan their finances.
- Corporate strategy analyst. This role will focus on analyzing company-wide data and advising management on strategic direction. Responsibilities include performing quantitative analysis and working with executives on a plan to move a business forward.
- Social media analyst. Occupying an important role in our digitally connected world, professionals working in social media data analysis assess a brand’s owned data, campaign/content performance, and social listening data, translating it all into actionable business recommendations.