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Though I may be a little biased, Analytics and Data Science is one of the most exciting sectors in business now. As a recruiter, I have found Data Analysts are some of the most passionate and knowledge-hungry people in business. Due to this, one of the most common questions I get asked by candidates from entry-level to Chief Data Officer is, what are the most sought-after skills hiring managers are looking for right now? So, here are my top 3 skills to develop to get hired into the best jobs in data!


  1. SQL!
    Structured Query Language (SQL) is used so regularly across the industry, it should almost be seen as essential if you want to achieve in data right now. You don’t have to be a developer or coding expert to utilise SQL to enhance the quality and depth of insight you can offer the business. Everyone in analytics should be learning how to write robust queries, joins, and tables.
    It is so easy to get left behind in this skillset, so even if you have taken a brief break, it is well worth brushing up on your skills. Every hiring manager I speak to looks for SQL skills as at least desirable, so help yourself to compete for the best roles by developing this as a priority.


  1. Communicating your insight
    I think most would agree that communication skills are crucial in any job, but at times candidates are surprised how crucial this is in data. The key advice I am constantly reminding candidates of is to highlight their softer skills in interviews alongside their technical prowess. Having the ability to engage stakeholders at all levels and communicate data trends and insight in a simple way to non-technical business partners will make you an extremely valuable team member. This is what will lead to the best progression through any business. That ability to affect change, winning the hearts and minds of decision-makers and getting them to buy into the benefits of being data-let will offer the fastest path to being a Head of Department.


  1. Proactive vs Reactive Insight
    As an extension of communication, the importance of offering proactive insight as well as reactive cannot be overstated. Reactive insight refers to answering business questions when asked – this will support the organisation’s planned strategy and prove or disprove what they need evaluating so that they can push ahead with planned action. Whilst this is obviously valuable to an organisation, the candidates that offer the most benefit to a client will be able to also deliver what can be seen as “proactive” insight. Proactive insight means using data to look for trends and patterns that the business is not aware of, what those trends mean and what the business should do about it. The ability to advise on what the business should do, and offer quantitative evidence of the resulting benefits will add huge value to an organisation across all areas of their business that there is sufficient data
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