Data analysis can be applied to any industry from sales to social media to education. With the right training and understanding of digital data collection, organization and interpretation, you can find a variety of roles in many companies. As a data analyst, it will be your role to process qualitative and quantitative data and present useful statistics to the other company departments. First, of course, you need to answer a few interview questions.
What does a data analyst do?
It's vital that a job applicant at least knows what they are there for, so it's very likely you'll hear this exact question as soon as you walk into an interviewer's office. Try to answer as simply as possible, using one or two sentences, like this: "A data analyst gathers various data, organizes it and interprets its meaning in various ways."
Could you explain why you might not be able to meet a deadline?
These things happen, and your interviewer isn't looking for the sort of weak excuses that might work at home when you forgot to it was your night to plan and cook dinner. Don't focus on external issues like sickness or personal struggles. Use the question to show the interviewer how well you understand data analysis. Answer that you might have to wait on specific answers on a project from a client or that a program already in use by the client needs troubleshooting before you could move.
What analysis software do you prefer to work with?
This question lets interviewers see whether you've actually spent time using real analysis software or are just bluffing your way into a good job. Be honest and run through a few quick reviews of different analysis software you've worked with, good and bad. Make sure you don't say something negative about every software package. They'll need to know you are capable of using the programs they are also familiar with.
Could you estimate, right now, how many "I heart NY" T-shirts will be sold in Manhattan this July?
Don't spend time worrying about how correct your answer to a question like this might be. Instead, consider the pieces of data you'd need to work with and create a very basic project model. For example, tell the interviewer that first, you need to estimate how many people visit New York City every June, and which of those shop in Manhattan. Then, what percentage of tourists buy T-shirts? Because you have no real numbers to work with, make some up and go from there.
How do you start a project and what is your process to analyze the data?
The interviewer wants to hear that you have a solid plan and that you are confident in how to attack a problem. Be clear about each step and explain how to get from the beginning to the end of the job, stating that you will take time to look over the project and make sure you understand it. Tell the interviewer that you will check the data, find out if it is valid and of good quality, and then think about creating a model to sort through it.
If you're keen to move into a data analysis career, start with our Udacity Intro to Programming for a good overview of coding that will help you understand data management better.