Becoming a Data Analyst

I truly learned the power of data-driven decision making and how important story-telling and data translation are in preventing people’s fear of data.

Agency life is much different than working internal.

You work is for revenue, so it’s important you work smart, build a level of trust, and develop clever ways of saying ‘no’ or sharing bad news in an optimistic format so that you are not hindering the business relationship.

Here, it was that I developed a sense of maturity and confidence in my work, and a passion for data analytics.

To this day, I am still passionate about the power of data in business.

What also fascinates me about data is that what people do and what people say are not the same.

For example, I often say I am going to work out everyday and eat healthy this month — find me a week out baking cookies and taking naps.

This is especially true in purchase decisions.

You might say “ugh I hate all the spammy emails I get in my inbox,” until one day an email from a company that offers you an undeniably good deal.

Spoiler alert, that company likely used behavioral data to serve up that deal to you.

After 2 years of working in agency life, I realized how much I missed a good, healthy company culture so I moved over to Procore as Senior Marketing Business Analyst so I could help this growing company make sense of their data to drive effective Marketing campaigns.

What are things I should do to figure out if data analytics is for me?Be curious & Expect anythingData analytics is similar to a science experience.

You can see something happened, and make a hypothesis about why.

If there is anything I have learned, nothing is what you assume until you prove it right or wrong.

Try to prove all options right or wrong.

I would also advise not to stop at the first answer you get.

When you start an analysis, be open to any possibility.

To me, it’s kind of fun when I’ve proved myself wrong over and over; I start to get creative.

You’d be surprised what else you discover in this workflow.

Know your audience; Anticipate the next questionIf you are showing numbers, don’t stop there.

Be prepared to explain any anomalies.

In my analysis, these are 3 things I try to answer before presenting data.

What happened?.a trend, spike in volume, lower conversions, something performed badly, or something performed wellWhy did it happened?.Behavior differed from expectation, data flow changed, something broke, something was improvedSo what?.Are you going to stop or continue that tactic?.How do we fix it?.How do we keep the momentum?Visuals & storytelling matter: Practice this in your data prepOnly show the story you want to tell; it should be the one that drives action.

Don’t assume your audience can pick up what you are trying to say by slapping on a table full of numbers.

Use colors on your charts with conditional formatting or graphs that are simple to digest.

Be okay with saying ‘I don’t know’.

Don’t make up an explanation or hint at something unless it’s proven in your data set.

Remember it’s okay not to have every answer, especially if your data set is incomplete.

If you don’t have the answer, reach out to subject matter experts for ideas.

If someone proposes an assumption, offer to dig deeper after the meeting.

Don’t tell people they are wrong (even if they are)Let’s be real, I love to be right.

Data can help you be right, but be mindful of how you present it.

Telling people they are wrong is not tactful — it dampers the working relationship.

Go from a know-it-all to a learn-it-all mindset.

This advice was validated in the book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie.

It’s important to use data to help win your case, but don’t lose an ally in the process.

Use the power of statistical significanceRemember when you were in high school and you asked when you would ever use math in the real world?.Well, statistics is integrated into analytics.

Showing lift is only relevant if your data set is large enough and the difference is significant.

Don’t drive changes where results have only a marginal lift or minimal improvement from your control group.

Statistics drives confidence in your decision-making.

TLDR: Anyone can practice analytics!.If you have a drive to problem-solve, investigate and be open to the unexpected, you are well on your way.

I still have a lot to learn in my career so that I can become another ‘woman in data’ success story.

Thanks for reading.

Personal thanks to Stephanie, Julian, Dmytro, Tyler, David B.

, Leslie, Samantha, Matt S.

, Deanna, Salil, Maxim, Brandon P.

, Tom N.

, Shawn, Dani, Dilia and all those who have put their 95% confidence level in me!.. More details

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