For this 3-part series, we’re talking about the role of a Data Analyst and some of the learning resources that you may wish to consider to help you move forward in your career. There is something here for everybody, from the aspiring/junior Data Analyst through to seasoned professionals. Of course, we are looking at this through a Microsoft lens so our tool of choice will be Power BI.
A role in data:
You could argue that data is one of the foundations on which all software is built and for those in the workplace, most applications would be useless without the data they were built to collect, analyse or serve to their human masters. In today’s world, more than ever, data powers the digital transformation that is sweeping across organisations and society in general.
Data is everywhere – it is now far easier to collect and cheaper to store, making it accessible to nearly every business. Of course, the ubiquity of data has resulted in an abundance of opportunity for those looking to work with it and there are many roles in the market that are involved in managing, controlling, and using data. Some of these are business-oriented, some involve more engineering, some focus on research, and some are hybrid roles that combine various aspects of data management.
Like people, every organisation is different and will define responsibilities in their roles in different ways. In some organisations, the same person might perform multiple roles; so, in their role as database administrator they might provision a transactional database, and then in their role as a data engineer they might create a pipeline to transfer data from the database to a data warehouse for analysis. Regardless, the “DNA” of these roles will be largely similar to the below:
Database administrators (DBAs) are the data professionals that manage databases, assigning permissions to users, storing backup copies of data and restoring data in the event of a failure. They are usually responsible for the design, implementation, maintenance, and operational aspects of on-premises and cloud-based database systems in addition to the overall availability and consistent performance and optimisation of databases. They work with stakeholders to implement policies, tools, and processes for backup and recovery plans to recover following a natural disaster or human-made error.
Data Engineers manage infrastructure and processes for data integration across the organisation, applying data cleaning routines, identifying data governance rules, and implementing pipelines to transfer and transform data between systems. A data engineer collaborates with stakeholders to design and implement data-related workloads, including data ingestion pipelines, cleansing and transformation activities, and data stores for analytical workloads. They use a wide range of data platform technologies, including relational and non-relational databases, file stores, and data streams.
They’re also responsible for ensuring that the privacy of data is maintained within the cloud and spanning from on-premises to the cloud data stores. They own the management and monitoring of data pipelines to ensure that data loads perform as expected.
Data Analysts explore and analyse data to create visualizations and charts that enable organizations to make informed decisions. A data analyst enables businesses to maximize the value of their data assets. They’re responsible for exploring data to identify trends and relationships, designing and building analytical models, and enabling advanced analytics capabilities through reports and visualisations. A data analyst processes raw data into relevant insights based on identified business requirements to deliver relevant insights.
So, if you’ve read the above and still interested in the role of Data Analyst then look out for part 2 of our blog series where we will talk a little more about Microsoft Power BI and the foundational training available to you.