Heard that recently? Not likely! Here at Frakture, we have tremendous respect for all the data geeks out there and think it’s a good thing that they are in extremely high demand these days. We see first-hand, organizations struggling to get a handle on their data across all their channels and think the inclination to hire a Data Analyst is a great sign.
And while the Data Analyst may be the “sexiest job of the century”, the reality is that these folks are exceedingly rare. Good Data Analysts are like unicorns and leprechauns. But, why?
First, data analysis is HARD. Data by itself is meaningless. It’s the skills of the data scientists that makes the difference. To be good at it, you need:
- Great technical skills, obviously. Formatting text files, console operation, scripting, file transfer, compression, etc, etc. You do it a thousand times a day, so you have to be fantastic at it, and probably have built dozens of your own tools along the way.
- Strong database chops. Designing schemas, constructing indexes, optimizing joins, etc. At the scale at which at this site most Data Analysts operate, you’d better not be scared by a billion rows.
- Good statistical analysis background.
- Strong knowledge of existing technologies. Every company works with dozens of technologies, that you’ll need to rapidly understand and filter the good from the bad. Pulling data from your CRM + CMS + Financial system + marketing system — each of which has dozens or hundreds of tables, and uses different nomenclature for everything.
But far and away, the rarest and most important thing for a Data Analyst to do is to ask the right questions. To get to the right questions, the analyst must have a combination of creativity, intense curiosity, people skills to be able to collaborate with others and intuition. An average analyst can give you long-term customer ROI. A good analyst can tell you how to increase your bottom line (and be right!). A great analyst will be your boss some day.
You can hire for the technical skills and experience, but knowing who can ask the right questions is basically luck. Learning to use data science to ask and answer the tough questions about strategy starts with an organization’s openness to experiment and learn in fast iterations.
What we tell our clients is that Frakture Bots can’t give you luck and they can’t tell you the right questions to ask. But they can help with the more tedious and less glamorous aspects of the Data Analyst’s job: data discovery, data structuring, aggregating, standardizing, automating and creating context. That way you don’t have to get lucky on the first try, and risk your data strategy on finding a unicorn.
If you are lucky enough to find a unicorn (they do exist!), Frakture helps them spend less time doing the grunt work and more time finding insights that ultimately drive value for your organization.