The modern business world is governed by data. Every business decision that leaders make should be founded on relevant, actionable, and verifiable data; however, collecting and collating data in this day and age is getting increasingly more difficult. With so much market, competitor, and consumer information flowing around on a daily basis, companies need to employ AI for big data analytics and hire top analytics professionals to make sense of all that data and put it to good use. This is where you come in as the key piece of the puzzle, one that companies of the future will not be able to grow without.

As companies are growing and in need of experienced analytics professionals who can create a data-driven approach to business growth, so do the requirements to become such an expert rise. Nowadays, you need to master numerous technical and soft skills in order to become a top choice for leading brands around the world. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the most important skills you need to own in order to thrive as a business analytics professional in 2020 and beyond.

Efficient and Effective Communication is Paramount

First and foremost, to succeed in the business sector in the new normal, you need to become an efficient and effective communicator. After all, you can expect to get hired as a remote employee, because no matter how essential you are to the company, there’s no denying that many businesses are nowadays forced to adopt the remote work business model. If this should happen, you need to possess the communication skills that will allow you to maximize your productivity, build relationships with your colleagues remotely, and maintain efficiency as if you were working in a physical office space.

To start, you can work on your presentation and communication skills for the digital channels. You’re going to be spending a lot of time on video calls and group meetings, and you’ll be presenting many reports and strategies, so you have to make sure you can get your message across. To that end, be sure to work on your enunciation, focusing on speaking slowly and making frequent stops to allow everyone to catch up. Leave room for people to ask questions and encourage interaction. Finally, don’t forget to work on your gesticulation – remember that people can only see the parts of you that fit in the video frame.

Critical Thinking and a Problem-Solving Attitude

Business analytics professionals are instrumental to company growth and success, and it is because of your importance that business leaders will put their faith in your experience, expertise, and you as a person. You will have some autonomy to choose the data you’re going to work on, decide which data to collect in the first place, and prioritize data streams according to company goals and aspirations. Needless to say, your decisions can impact the success of a company in a given year, and beyond.

To prevent making mistakes as much as possible and minimize risk, you have to master critical thinking and embrace a problem-solving attitude. Your superiors will expect you to make data-driven, thought-out decisions and to tackle any obstacles along the way, but most importantly, understand that your superiors will entrust you with guiding them towards making better long-term operational decisions. This means that you will have a say in the course your company will take in the years to come.

Essential Cybersecurity and Data Security Skills

In a digital day and age, no business analytics professional can afford to stay illiterate in terms of data security and cybersecurity in general. Every day hackers and scammers are trying to hijack critical business data to sell it to the highest bidder while targeted malware is trying to disrupt the operations of your company and smear its name. While it isn’t your job to stop cyber-attacks, you still need to master the essentials of cybersecurity and data protection in order to keep yourself and your company safe in the cloud and on your devices where the data is stored.

This means that you should look for a cybersecurity online course that is accessible to professionals from other fields, preferably one that will take you from the basics all the way to the advanced data protection techniques in a reasonable timeframe. Take a course before you apply for a position at a company in order to make yourself a top candidate and show the employer just how many complementary skills you have. 

Obtaining the Necessary Technical Skills

Speaking of skills, you of course need to obtain the necessary technical skill set that will give you the edge in every interview. Nowadays, analysts are getting acquainted with various tools and programming languages that can help them transform raw data into actionable reports and strategies.

With that in mind, you will need to learn statistical languages like Python and R, but also get acquainted with statistical software like Sage, Mathematica, SPSS, or even Excel. Most importantly though, you need to learn SQL, as this is your most powerful tool for data analysis and visualization.

Knowing How to Visualize Different Types of Data

Last but not least, you need to know how to visualize the data you’ve analyzed so that you can present it effectively to the key stakeholders in your company. Keep in mind that these people come from different branches of the business world and that they need your findings to be easy to digest and interpret. It’s important that you know the best ways to visualize different types of data because as we all know, a pie chart doesn’t work for every occasion.

Wrapping Up

The business landscape is constantly changing, and job positions are changing with it. If you want to stay relevant as a business analytics professional, be sure to future-proof your career by mastering these key skills.

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My name is Raul, editor in chief at Technivorz blog. I have a lot to say about innovations in all aspects of digital technology and online marketing. You can reach me out on Twitter.

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