THE BUSINESS ANALYST
Analyzing data, facts, and figures have been around as long as organizations have existed.
The business analyst is the broader title and can cover any job from data or systems analyst, to roles in corporate strategy, marketing, and operations. Simply put, a business analyst analyzes data and assesses requirements from a business perspective related to an organization’s overall system.
The skills of a business analyst are roughly that of an MBA, or that of a business major at undergrad that includes a bit of finance, operations, marketing, and of course business strategy.
THE DATA ANALYST / SCIENTIST
Then along came BIG DATA about 10 years ago. And data ninjas were born all over the world. Their role in companies has emerged over the last decade as the increase in the breadth and depth of data being examined. Perhaps these data people have in some form or the other always existed, a group of statisticians, technologists and business experts, who solved problems and provided solutions. But they were inconspicuous, obscured by the walls of a basement room or the IT department.
Now, data analysts are the rage in the business world, with Indeed.com reporting that the growth rate for this profession has reached more than 4,000 percent. The demand for individuals, who possess a deep understanding of advanced mathematics, data engineering, and domain expertise, is even higher. This hallowed group is called data scientists.
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Data analysts use their skill set to compare data to competitors in the industry. They perform statistical analysis on data and provide insights based on that analysis. they prepare reports, which may be in the form of graphs, charts, and histograms, detailing the significant results they deduce.
What, in this new dawn, sets the data guys (and gals... yes a lot of women are joining the squad!) apart is their strong business chops and the level of influence they can now have on the direction of a company. Good data teams will not just address business problems; they will pick the right problems whose solutions will add the most value to the growth of the company.
MBA VS. TECH SKILLS
If you are doing an MBA (or related), we are not saying traditional business skills are not important or that you shouldn't continue to get those skills. The MBA skill set is still one of the most veratile and highly regarded. Additionally, a huge advantage an MBA bestows on you is not even related to skills or academics. It is the network.
Pay attention, however, to what's going on around you. A lot is happening (and changing!) really fast. Business analysts and MBA students - be on your toes! The demand for people who can process a tsunami of information - and extract something useful and actionable - is on the rise. Many reports indicate It is the largest imbalance of supply and demand in the workforce right now.
Think about how quickly the world is changing. How much it has already changed. Those with engineering, tech, and related skills are now more qualified to tackle problems simply because they can step in and do things that are out of scope for yester-year's business analyst. They know the algorithms of the statistician and the engineering of a database engineer, and have domain/subject matter expertise.
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