We live in the age of data. Thanks to digitalisation even the smallest business produces lots of data, which if analysed properly can produce insights into trends and patterns that can help in the creation of cutting-edge products, optimise business strategies, produce targeted marketing content and maximise profits.
According to Forbes, with around 59% of organisations using data analytics in some capacity, and 71% predicting that their investments in data and analytics will continue to accelerate, the market for experienced, talented professionals in this sector is increasingly competitive.
Hiring the right data, analytics and insights skills can mean the difference between having a great financial year full of efficiency, transformation and increased sales and revenue, and underperforming.
Data, analytics and insights meaning
All companies produce data. At its simplest data is a collection of facts and statistics collected for analysis. Most of what companies produce is raw data, for example a CSV file listing every purchase made at a webstore, or code such as user cookie information.
Analytics refers to the tools, techniques and processes used to clean, process and study this data to answer questions, identify patterns and produce insights that can help businesses and organisations make better decisions.
The insights or understanding of a situation produced by analytics tools can be used to identify more efficient, cost-effective solutions, help point out the direction of consumer trends, develop new products, direct marketing strategies or improve customer satisfaction.
If there are questions to be asked regarding a business and its strategy, considered and well managed data analysis can provide the answers.
Data and analytics skills checklist
To take full advantage of the power of data analytics requires a team of skilled data analytics professionals. Some skills to consider bolstering in your team through upskilling or recruiting include:
Statistical programming languages such as R or Python are incredibly powerful and used for advanced analytics tools on large data sets. Data analysts should know at least one and understand how to use it effectively. Both languages are free and open source, however, since R was built specifically for analytics it is sometimes preferred.
Structured Query Language is the standard language used for database communication. Using SQL, you can manage and store data, connect multiple databases and even develop those database structures. SQL is the lynchpin of data management and a key skill for any data analyst.
Data analysts should have excellent communication skills, particularly since they will need to convey their findings to stakeholders and executives who may not have a background in technology or statistics. This means being able to present to an audience and to take complex data-led insights and turn them into a compelling narrative that drives change.
Being able to gather insights from data is only one part of data analysis. Being able to use data visualisation techniques, such as charts, graphs and other visual representations to convey findings and insights is crucial. Look for knowledge of visualisation software, such as Tableau, Domo or CDD, to produce models and reports.
The ability to examine a problem from multiple angles, to look at the many reasons how and why an issue may exist and to use that knowledge to formulate ways to use data and data analysis to discover effective solutions.
“Big picture” thinking is also a helpful critical thinking skill. Analysts should always be asking how current problems and insights might affect or be affected by future outcomes.
A strong foundation in the basics of statistics, the science of collecting, analysing and interpreting data will ensure strong, accurate analysis and trustworthy results. Candidates should also have an interest in the future of the field and how new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning will impact data science and analytics going forward.
3 tips when hiring for data, analytics and insights roles
Whilst it might seem that the skills involved in data, analytics and insights roles are interchangeable there is no “one size fits all” approach to hiring the perfect candidate for your business’ needs.
Below are some tips for finding the perfect candidate.
1. What’s your desired outcome?
Before you start the recruitment process it's important to sit down and outline your project's area, scope and expected outcomes. Is it short term or long term? Are you looking for someone to manage your data collection and infrastructure? Do you need an analyst skilled in uncovering patterns and producing tangible insights?
Once you have a clear picture of the project you are hiring for and the skills needed for it to be successful then you will be able to streamline your recruitment process.
2. Write effective job descriptions
Strong, effective job descriptions for data, analytics and insight roles should be concise and to the point. Be clear about the role and avoid long lists of required skills and responsibilities. Pare it back to direct expectations and goals. Candidates like to know how they can have an immediate impact and contribute to the success of current projects. Make sure to include details about your company's culture and values as well as any additional benefits.
3. Become part of the data community
Take your search for the perfect candidate away from traditional spaces. Utilise the networking potential of sites like LinkedIn and Quora or increase your visibility on popular programming platforms such as Stackoverflow. Look offline too, graduate jobs fairs, conferences and meetups are great places to find candidates. By doing so you position your company as a great place to work and grow your chances of finding skilled, established talent or up and comers who may not even be actively job hunting.
Successful marketing teams start with talented individuals that can collaborate effectively to drive performance and results. Our global talent consultancy at DMCG Global helps to quickly connect marketing agencies and brands with the right individuals anywhere on the planet. If you are looking for marketing professionals and would like a bespoke, high-quality recruitment service, our expert consultants will be happy to help.
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