The demand for Data Analysts is rising rapidly. Data Analyst is a job position that many aspire for, but very few are fortunate enough to bag it, mostly because the vast majority of the applicants lack the proper skills, experience, and practical knowledge.
Getting a job is difficult in any sector. If you are highly educated, with lots of certifications and knowledge, then you will not get many jobs due to your ‘overqualification’. However, if you aim too high with too little foundation to back yourself up, then you are likely to be labeled as ‘unqualified.’
Getting a job without prior experience is a daunting task. So, if you want your dream of becoming a Data Analyst to come true, then the ideal place to begin with, if you have no experience in the field, is through a data analyst internship.
An internship as a Data Analyst intern will give you a competitive edge and set you up for a bright career in analytics and data science.
Who is a Data Analyst Intern?
The job of a Data Analyst intern is an entry-level position in a company. The Data Analyst interns play a supplementary role in the data analytics department of a company by helping and supporting Data Analysts and Data Scientists. They are expected to perform diverse tasks like data mining.
In a nutshell, the primary role of the Data Analyst intern is to perform tasks that are menial, rudimentary, or redundant for an experienced full-time in-house Data Analyst of the company.
Nevertheless, the practical experience gained during the internship is extremely profound as the intern gets a taste of the company’s work culture, the job and also builds contacts.
But it does not end there! The internships are a win-win situation for the interns as well as the full-time data analysts and data scientists.
As interns complete their tasks, the full-time employees of the organization can show the interns more of the key practical aspects of their work. In short, Data Analyst interns are mentored under senior officials in the analytics department of the company.
Often, a Data Analyst intern could be a part of a team in the analytics division of the company and will have pre-defined duties to stay completely occupied for the entirety of the internship.
Let us look into the top 6 skills you should possess to land your dream internship as a Data Analyst.
First and foremost, to be a good and respectable intern is to have a growth mindset.
One aspect of the growth mindset is to realize the value and impact of your actions in the long run. Many Data Analyst interns become very frustrated and stressed out during the course of their internship because their eyes are very much fixated on the prize rather than on the process.
The interns get frustrated because of the uncertainty of their reward despite all their hard work. They tend to work long hours in the office, many times unpaid even, yet, their position as a full-time Data Analyst remains uncertain for a long period.
Having a growth mindset makes them realize that by giving the internship their everything, they are benefitted intellectually and are also making an impact in the long term. If not today, they might get the job tomorrow through the network they have built in the company.
A Data Analyst intern should be able to quickly adapt to changing work environments, workflows, and scenarios.
The job of a Data Analyst is highly technical and software oriented, and in the modern world, technology evolves and changes rapidly. Hence, a Data Analyst intern is expected to be technologically well-versed and also a fast learner who adapts to new processes quickly and seamlessly.
In many companies around the world, Microsoft Excel is the primary software used by the company’s data analytics teams. Hence, the Data Analyst intern should have a good grasp on this software, especially in the following topics:
- Data filters
- Charts and plots
- Pivot tables
- VBA Macros
Microsoft Excel is preferred by many companies and Data Analysts because it empowers you to perform numerous advanced data analysis tasks quickly without having to write any code.
You can enhance your resume by adding certificates. You can improve your knowledge and get certificates by taking up online and offline courses in Microsoft Excel.
Structured Query Language (SQL)
As a Data Analyst in the 21st century, you are certainly not going to be digging through mountains of paperwork. But you will certainly have to be adept at swiftly going through gigabytes and terabytes of raw data from databases. So, how would you do that?
The Structured Query Language (SQL) is a language that Data Analysts frequently use to communicate with databases. SQL empowers Data Analysts and Data Scientists to retrieve, add, or edit information from databases.
As an intern, you do not have to master SQL but having a strong grip on its fundamentals like a relational database, how to query and update, and more.
Knowing programming languages like Python and SAS will certainly provide an incredible boost to your data analyst resume!
SAS is commercial software, while Python is open source. If you are not familiar with programming, then getting started with Python may be a better option because the syntax is more intuitive and less strenuous to remember. Python also opens up doors in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML).
Storytelling and Business Communication
Storytelling and business communication may sound like an odd black and white competition. But as a Data Analyst intern, you should find the sweet spot between the two and dwell in the grey area.
Other members of the company cannot comprehend data the same way as Data Analysts do. Hence, the analysts should have excellent storytelling skills in a business setup that delivers all the necessary information with zero room for error or misinterpretation.
These skills will also be of use when doing PowerPoint presentations in board and executive meetings.
That was just a primer to the skill sets that a Data Analyst should possess. However, they should be enough to get you started on the right path towards success.
The best data analysts never stop learning new things and constantly upskill themselves to work better and faster.