3 Smart Steps to Junior Data Analyst
Hey! I finally got around to writing this article.Today I want to talk about the stack of professions in the data field. Yes, in the title I mentioned Data Analyst, since I will rest on this specialty, because I have the relevant experience.
Note that I am not writing how to quickly enter the Data Analyst profession, I am writing how to do it correctly, painlessly and smartly!
I have compiled a list of some of the resources that helped me launch my Data Analyst career and that I still lean on when I'm not sure or in doubt about something. This guide is perfect for a beginner who is excited about getting new skills, knowledge and trying himself in a new area, it is also suitable for already established professionals who want to change their occupation and move to another branch of IT. So, I'll start.
For some reason, everyone always forgets this step, although it is the base on which further training is built. It is impossible to work with data without having at least a general understanding of statistics and probability theory. Trust my experience. At my first interviews, I did not have a single question about python, only mathematics and linear algebra in particular. Learn math before moving on to the next steps, and Khan Academy can help you with this. Quite a popular resource. I don’t like all Khan Academy courses (I won’t explain what exactly in this article, it’s all so devoted to something else), but I really like the statistics and probability course here. Good and simple presentation. For me, this is the main criterion.
Khan Academy Math Course
Once you've got the math out of the way, you can move on and start coding.
I started with SQL. Structured Query Language is always needed, everywhere and in every position. It is needed by project managers, developers, marketers, analysts, technical writers, engineers, HR specialists and many others. In a word, everyone.
SQL allows you to make queries to databases, pull out the information you need from huge data warehouses of several hundred million rows.
For a better understanding, imagine a huge Excel spreadsheet, at least a thousand rows. Now imagine the time you spend to find the right record in it, you need a person or an amount of money. Someone will say - Okay, smart guy, I'll press ctrl + f and find the entry that I need. And someone will be right, but if you need to find multiple records with multiple names, age or other parameters. What to do then?
Here SQL comes to the rescue, with which you can find such records in a few seconds. In addition, Excel tables take up a lot of space, they are too heavy to store hundreds of millions of rows. For the sake of experiment, try to open a file with at least one hundred thousand lines. No, better not try, waste a year of your life on something more valuable.
By the way, if you decide to learn SQL, then I advise you to see my article about the best educational resources for this. The most crucial of them are given below.
Hacker Rank Interface
Moreover, there is a Discussion tab. So if the challenge looks hard for you or you don't understand where the problem in you query is, you can use this tab to look for hints or even full correct queries.
Hacker Rank - Discussion Tab
Most recently, I wrote a review article on Hacker Rank, it will be especially useful for those who have never worked with this platform. You can read it from the link.
This was my first online training platform amoung the other ones. There are a lot of challenges, challenges that covers all the main topics. There is a great documentation, so you don't need any other web sites to look for hint.
However, sometimes difficulty levels don't correlates with the real tasks difficulty. Sometimes, the challenge with 7 difficulty level easier that the challenge with 4 diffuculty level.
SQL Academy Challenge Page
Unfortunately, SQL Academy is not beginner frienfly. There is no other options to get hint or answer except buying premium account. So, the only thing you can do is to look for documentation on Guide page. It's not bad, but sometimes documentation is not full and you just waste your time.
SQL Academy Guide Page
In general, this a good variant with rather challenging tasks, but be ready to google in case you need a hint.
And then there's the programming language. As you probably know, there are a lot of programming languages and each one is used for its own specific purposes. Why python? There are several reasons for this:
Its versatility. Programmers joke - if you don't know what programming language to learn - learn python. If you don't know what programming language will be popular next year - repeat python. And indeed it is. Python is used in many areas - in working with data, in writing complex algorithms, and even in developing functionality for a website.
Its simplicity. Python, when compared to other programming languages, is a fairly simple language. It has a simple syntax and understandable logic. Just look at the meme, which compares the syntax of Java (another popular programming language) and Python.
Java VS Python meme
Again, if you decide to learn python, I have an article on useful resources to help you do it.
Data Quest is one platform with many free courses. In fact, this is another alternative to the above resources, but the courses here are more focused on working with data.
Data Quest Courses
This is a great resource for those who don't just want to learn python, but already know what career path they will choose after learning this programming language - Data Analyst/Data Scientist/Data Engineer.
Data Analyst Course with Python
On the site you can find full-fledged free courses where an absolute beginner will be taught data professions. During the course, students create a portfolio for themselves. So at the end, it is already possible to look for a job.
The resource is very similar to the previous one and is perhaps the most famous among others on this list.
I will say right away that in order to study whatever you want without restrictions, you will have to buy a monthly subscription. It's up to you to decide if it's worth it or not.
Data Camp Prices
Data Camp presents a huge range of data skills courses. Here you can literally learn everything - just learn python, and get a new specialty in the field of data.
Data Camp Courses
As in the previous resource, here you can learn a profession in the field of data from scratch, understand what you are interested in and whether you generally like it.
Data Camp - Get a New Job Courses
As a result, a good resource, but paid. It's up to you to decide whether it's worth the money, I'll tell you from myself - it's worth it.
Know that if you have gone through the previous three steps, then you already have an excellent foundation on which to build something, but getting all these skills is not enough, you need to practice combining them and applying them on real datasets, work with real data. Kaggle will help you with this.
I will say right away that Kaggle is not exactly a learning platform. There are very few courses here and, to be honest, they are not presented in the best possible way. Even for me, a person with experience, some things seemed too confusing.
The courses here are quite superficial and boring. Someone will ask - why then did you put this resource in the selection. Everything is very simple - I will answer. Kaggle is a huge sandbox where everyone has the opportunity to publish their datasets, as well as the code for them.
Competitions are held on datasets, internal prizes (medals) are given for various achievements on the site, and the community is such that you can not leave this site for hours.
In fact, it's a Data Analyst paradise, as well as a great platform where you can build a great portfolio with the knowledge and skills you've already acquired. That is why I placed this resource at the very end.
If you have read the article up to this point, you definitely have great ambitions and may have developed fear and insecurity in front of a huge amount of complex material. This is true - there really is a lot of material, but they were selected in such a way that it was easy for a beginner to delve into and figure it out. Of course, you can add another programming language to these steps, add a few more data analysis software (note that I don’t mention their name - I don’t want to burden you with this information even more so that you don’t get scared), but believe me, to get a base and the coveted position of Junior Specialist, the study of the resources I have given will be quite enough.
Good luck and don't be afraid. The most important thing is to start!