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Data analysts are highly-skilled statisticians who study all types of numbers, in the form of graphs charts and tables, and translate the results into a format that their employers can better understand. Data analysts are increasingly in demand, after the results of the McKinsey report into data analytics from 2011, which found that the US alone would need 190,000 data analysts.
There are many sectors that require data analysts, from public organisations and local and national government, to commercial finance businesses and market research companies. Data analysts are sometimes also known as ‘data scientists’ but generally their role is analytical. They interpret compilations of numerical information from graphs, diagrams, charts, tables and data reports, spotting trends or changes and then writing up reports that can be easily understood by politicians, business leaders and other types of agency.
The sort of data that data analysts will be involved in completely depends on the area that their employer works in. General activities will likely include some of the following:
The data that data analysts are employed to study could have results that affect not only commercial business plans or scientific experiments but can also influence policy changes in politics.
Data analysts must have a keen eye for detail and be able to ensure that the information compiled for supervisors and clients is accurate. They could end up publishing information on population trends, the economy, the labour market, transport or crime.