A Day in the Life of a Data Analyst
Every Data Analyst will start their day a little differently though one can assume coffee would be a common denominator ahead of the daily inbox check. Getting prepared for the day, Data Analysts will go through their emails and reply to as many as possible before the daily Stand-Up meeting with their team.
Occurring around 9-9.30am, the Stand-Up meeting is a daily fixture on a Data Analyst’s schedule. It provides everyone involved with an opportunity to check in and see how everyone is doing, and whether there are any questions or problems people need help with.
The morning will typically continue with deep work, which to clarify for non-technical readers means digging into big data, designing new dashboards, maintaining existing dashboards, debugging and testing out new functionalities. This would be punctuated by meetings with stakeholders and others in the business regarding anything from new dashboards to the data quality being presented on an existing dashboard, and of course communicating new opportunities for process improvement.
After a break for lunch, perhaps one or two further meetings will be on the schedule, but the afternoon is likely to have more of a focus on preparing reports. This aspect of the job is equally as important as the hands-on data diving, automation and analysis of data systems, as the Data Analyst must be able to explain his or her conclusions to the business in order to make a valuable impact with those findings. Being able to interpret the data and then explain how it can help the business is a critical aspect to working in data analysis, as the results of patterns and trends identified in the data will inform important business decisions and fundamentally drive the business ahead of its competitors.
The idea is to show senior management how the data could be applied to their business model. Understandably this will vary depending on which industry a Data Analyst is working in, the specific project they’re working on and of course what kind of data they’re working with, whether its information gleaned from social media channels, sales numbers or inventory data.
Data Analyst jobs will encompass everything from setting up an analytics system to offering training to others in particular areas of data. Generally working with IT teams, management and possibly the Data Scientists on staff also, Data Analysts spend much of their time mining and cleaning data from primary and secondary sources before analysing it and interpreting the results using statistical software and programming languages, most commonly including Tableau, Excel, Python, Sequel and Power BI.
As the role of Data Analyst continues to evolve, experienced analysts will likely see some data modelling and use of predictive analytics techniques creep into their day-to-day activities.
The average Data Analyst will finish for the day around 4.30-5pm, depending on where in the world they are working and the norms in that region. They may take some time ahead of that to check through some emails and get prepared for the following day and in some cases a project may require them to log back in (at home) later in the evening but generally speaking this is what a typical day in the life of a Data Analyst would look like.