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Becoming great at analytics

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Published: 30 December 2021

Student working on a computer

Analytical skills are a vital part of any business and having them will make you a highly desirable candidate for lots of roles.  

It’s essentially the ability to gather, analyse and act on information gathered in your business, paving the way for growth and problem-solving.  

What is analytics?  

Say you work in a grocery shop and you notice that at the end of each day you’ve sold all your apples but still have lots of bananas leftover.  

Analytics can help you work out exactly how many of each product you’re selling, look at the effectiveness of your sales technique and decide what needs to change to sell more apples.  

Analytical skills you should have  

Communications  

You could be the best data collector in the world, finding information on the smallest detail of your business, but if you can’t communicate none of that matters.  

To make the most out of the numbers you need to share implement changes or nothing will change.  

To start, look for patterns in the data, come up with conclusions and talk to the people who can make a difference.  

As a student, you can improve your communications by doing things like speaking up more in class or joining a study group 

Past that, be sure you practice your active listening and writing to get your point across in the clearest way possible.  

Creativity  

It might not sound like the most important skill when you’re crunching numbers and staring at spreadsheets but having a creative eye can help you spot patterns in data.  

It’s also something worth knowing when coming up with solutions to the issues you spot in your analyses.   

So-called ‘out of the box’ thinking is something lots of employers like to see and will set you apart from the competition when it comes to job applications.  

Critical thinking  

Critical thinking is the next step in the analytics process. It refers to taking the data you’ve gathered and doing something with it.  

The main point of this skill is to question your assumptions. Looking at a graph of data, it might be tempting to assume a rise or fall in sales, for example, is caused by one thing.   

Critical thinking teaches you to ask, ‘what if it’s something else?’  

Data analysi 

Often, when looking at analytics, you’ll be expected to work with large data sets.   

Knowing how to use that information, put it into useful formats and present it to others is at the heart of improving in your new role.  

You can get some practice on this during your time at the University of Sunderland in London if, for example, you decide to do surveys for your dissertation.  

Try out this video from Simplilearn to get started with data analysis on Microsoft Excel 

Finally, once you’re feeling confident in your analytics skills, make sure you talk about them on your CV and in the interview.  

Showing off not only that you both have the abilities and recognise how important they are to modern businesses will impress interviewers and help you reach your career goals.  

Whatever you decide to do with your future, the University of Sunderland in London Careers and Employability Service is here to help.    

To have a one-to-one chat with them, book a meeting through Compass. or email careers-london@sunderland.ac.uk. Find out more by following #WeAreSunLon on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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