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Should Data Analysts Gain Technical or Business Skills … Why Not Both?

If you’re looking to grow your analytics skills, should you focus on technical acumen such as database modeling and statistics, or business strengths, like working with stakeholders and communicating goals? It’s a question I get often from aspiring analysts, and a good one—they see that providing value to the organization is indispensable to their desired role, and that crunching the data is just a means to the end. And after all, one can only focus on growing in so many areas…what’s the better knowledge investment?   To answer this question, I’d like to (appropriately enough) cite data from research advisory Gartner: by 2022, 90% of corporate strategies will explicitly mention analytics as an essential competency.  Data is now a core lever to creating business value. Craig Mundie, senior advisor to the CEO at Microsoft, put it like this: “Data are becoming the new raw material of business.”   Mundie’s declaration echoes that of British mathematician Clive Humby, who stated that “data is the new oil.” As more experiences become digitized, more data is collected. But that data is only useful when it’s been “refined:” not only cleaned and transformed, but placed into its proper business context.    This close pairing of data

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