A career in data can be incredibly rewarding and exciting for those who are passionate about using data to drive business decisions and solve complex problems. With the increasing importance of data in today’s world, there is a growing demand for professionals who are skilled in working with data.
Many aspiring data or “citizen analysts” will start with underlying knowledge of Microsoft Excel, a powerful tool for organizing, analysing and manipulating data. Some of the benefits of using Excel include:
- Flexibility: Excel allows you to organize and analyse data in a variety of ways, including creating charts and graphs, performing calculations with formulas, and using pivot tables to summarise and reorganise data.
- Ease of use: Excel is user-friendly and includes a range of built-in features and functions to help you quickly and easily work with your data.
- Collaboration: Excel allows multiple users to work on the same file at the same time, making it easy to collaborate with others on data projects.
- Compatibility: Excel files can be opened and edited on a range of devices and platforms, including Windows, Mac, and mobile devices.
- Customisation: Excel allows you to customize your data and the way it is presented, including creating custom formulas, formatting cells and data, and adding visual elements such as charts and graphs.
- Large data sets: Excel can handle large data sets with ease, making it a useful tool for analysing and working with large amounts of data.
In addition to technical skills, it is important to have strong communication and problem-solving skills. As a data professional, you will be responsible for translating complex data concepts and analyses into terms that non-technical stakeholders can understand. You will also be expected to use data to identify trends and patterns, and to develop recommendations based on your findings. There are many different roles within the field of data, including data analysts, data scientists, and data engineers. Data analysts focus on using data to support business decisions, while data scientists use advanced statistical techniques to build predictive models and perform data-driven research. Data engineers are responsible for building and maintaining the systems and infrastructure needed to store, process, and analyze large datasets.
To help with those with a desire to develop their skills as a Data Analyst, I’ve pulled together several freely available Microsoft resources to help you get started:
You can download the above learning pathway from our home page.
- Start with a free 1-hour interactive session helping you learn, or get more, from Microsoft Excel – register for a class from a public schedule available to all
- Access the Microsoft 365 Help and Learning site where you can access self-help guides and videos including a range of articles on Microsoft Excel
- Explore a range of Data Analyst Essentials training free of charge courtesy of LinkedIn Learning and the Microsoft Skills for Jobs program.
- Start your journey with Power BI – access a range of self-study content via Microsoft Learn
- Showcase your skills via certification – explore a range of data related certifications available from Microsoft.
There are many routes an aspiring or experienced Data Analyst can take and one size won’t fit all. Still, I hope that this gets you started and helps you on your own learning journey.