Pursuing a Career in Data

Pursuing career in data

Over the years skilled data analysts have become one of the most sought-after professionals in the world. The reasoning? Supply and Demand. With the mass increase in companies relying on data as a business tool, the need for analysts has boomed. As a result, trends are in favor of those pursuing a career in data.

The pool of educated and experienced data analysts is limited.

On the supply side of the equation, there has been a consistent lack of skilled and experienced professionals to fill the increasing demand. Due to this shortage, even at the entry-level, data analysts can command huge salaries and excellent perks.

What do Data Analysts do?

Right now, some of the top jobs in data analysis involve helping employers make investment decisions, target customers, assess risks or help decide on capital allocations.

As data analysts, you probe through mountains of data to spot trends, make forecasts, and extract information. This, in turn, helps employers make better-informed business decisions. 

The career path a data analyst can take depends, in large part, on what industry holds there interest. As a result, they could work at big investment banks, hedge funds, and private equity firms. They could also work in health care, marketing, retail, and/or insurance.

In general, data analysts are everywhere.

As a matter of fact, financial institutions such as investment banks are a great entry-level career direction. Doors to management can be opened when highly-skilled data analysts excel in this area.

After all, who better to shepherd new hires into the company than you?

Tech companies are big business.

Big tech companies such as Facebook and Google analyze big data to a dizzying degree. To do so, they employ many of the top data analysts for a variety of purposes including advertising and internal and user analysis.

Moreover, it’s widely known that technology changes rapidly.

Due to this, the structural dynamics of tech companies are constantly evolving. New departments are created that incorporate new challenges and pursue new market opportunities.

Data analysts who excel in their existing tech roles are oftentimes the first chosen as leaders of these newly created departments. 

Data Analyst – Education

For those interested in pursuing a career in data, the majority of colleges in the US offer data analytics or data science as both a major or minor. Beyond the bachelor’s degree, there’s also a vast number of data science master’s programs.

That being said, if you’re interested in building your skills in a more flexible or shorter timeframe there are also multiple certification programs and courses available from a variety of educational institutions.

Graduating from a data analysis program with a strong grade point average should lead to an entry-level data analysis position without much trouble.

Alternatively, even a less-focused degree in mathematics, statistics or economics is enough to get your foot in the door.

Data Analyst – Annual Compensation

Some of the top jobs in data analysis can reach as high $100,000 annually during the first year out of college. Experienced professionals are making double that or more.

With that in mind, education is often the most important thing on your resume when applying for a data analyst job. Few people get hired without strong academic performances in math-related fields of study.

Data Analyst Career Paths

Overall, data analysts are good at working with numbers and details. Additionally, they are confident and organized in managing multiple tasks, data programs, and data flows.

You’ll also have strong presentation skills. Typically, with this role, you are required to present your analysis visually and/or orally on a regular basis.

A solid rule, pick an industry that sparks interest. Then pursue the education that backs you up. As mentioned, data analysts are in great demand. Choose wisely and have fun pursuing a career in data.

14 Potential Career Directions:

  • Business analyst
  • Management reporting
  • Corporate strategy analyst
  • Compensation and benefits analyst
  • Budget analyst
  • Insurance underwriting analyst
  • Actuary
  • Sales analytic
  • Web analytics
  • Fraud analytics
  • Credit analytics
  • Business product analyst
  • Social media data analyst
  • Machine learning analyst

For resume guidance, our team at PWU offers Resume updates, Cover Letters, LinkedIn Profile Optimization, Interview Coaching, and Recruitment Services. 

Connect with us here for a free 15-minute consultation. https://calendly.com/powerwritersusa-ca

Building Your Senior Management Team

BUilding your senior-level management team

In the startup stage of every enterprise, it’s a matter of survival to create the most cost-effective operating system.  Naturally, this requires owners to do as much as possible on their own. But with growth comes a massive shortage of time which means eventually, building your senior management team will need mandatory.

Especially if your plan is to take the business to the next level.

Building the best team demands matching people’s strengths to specific jobs.  So while your best buddy from grade school may feel like the right choice, you’ll still need to cross-reference strengths and skills to job requirements prior to signing an offer letter.

When assembling a senior team, you’ll want to take the time and consider all the critical areas of your business. At the rudimentary level, we’ve assembled a thorough recap of senior-level roles. 

A Breakdown of the Roles.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO). 

Basically, and without much exaggeration, the CEO is the boss of everyone and everything (but reports to the Board of Directors). Realistically, you’ll either be the CEO or hire someone more suited to the depth of the role. Which is not entirely uncommon. 

Owners are oftentimes ‘too close to the center’ when it comes to determining the company’s executive strategy. Therefore, hiring your own boss is fundamentally in the company’s best interest. 

Your CEO will have the ability to rise above the daily details and decide where the industry and business are headed. An exceptional CEO must be a remarkable strategic thinker.  They must be able to decide the company’s best route for navigating the future market conditions. 

That being said, the CEO’s ultimate skill is in hiring and firing. It is essential to assemble the right management team as support for your CEO. As a result, your chosen CEO will need to be able to identify and hire the best, fire the ones who don’t work out, and run the show all the same.

Chief Operating Officer (COO)

A COO handles a company’s complex operational details. Think about UPS moving three billion packages in the two weeks before Christmas: The company’s COO ensures the business can deliver day after day. Their team creates the systems to track the measurements and take action when the company isn’t delivering as expected.

When ensuring smooth operations become a big part of your business, it’s time to hire someone who revels in measurements, operations, and details.

President

To be honest, the role of a president is a little less specific than other executive team members. Presidents can oversee staff functions–human resources, finance, and strategy–while the COO oversees daily operations. In some organizations, the title of president is a synonym for COO, especially in smaller companies. Sometimes, the president fills gaps left by the COO and CEO. Other times, the title goes to someone you want at the strategy table but who doesn’t have an obvious C-level title.

Additionally, not every enterprise needs a president as many find this title fully covered by the efforts of a CEO and COO.  All things to consider when looking at your own enterprise.

Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

Plain and simple, your CFO handles the money. They create budgets and financing strategies. They figure out if it’s better for your business to lease or buy. Then they build the control systems that monitor your company’s financial health. Money is your business’s blood, and in entrepreneurship, cash flow is everything.

If you don’t know the difference between cash flow and profit–go find yourself a CFO.

Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)

Many current business battles are battles of marketing. Especially when corporate strategy hinges on marketing strategy. As a result, companies have been bringing in a marketing expert at the C-level rather than as a traditional vice president role. 

The CMO owns the marketing strategy–and that often includes implementation of the sales strategy. Your CMO will learn your industry inside out and help you position your product/service, differentiate it from your competitors’, enlist distributors, and make sure customers learn to crave your product.

If your business’s success depends mainly on marketing, you need a CMO. That could be you–but only if you have time to keep up with competitors, oversee the marketing plan, and still do the rest of your job–and do it well.

Otherwise, you need to look for the person with the right kind of buzz for the job, ready to keep up on what’s hot and what’s not.

Chief Technology Officer (CTO)

This role is only really significant if your business or industry is impacted by technology. Specifically, if your company’s chosen programming language affects the overall company strategy. In this case, you may need a CTO.

Is your enterprise tech-based? If so, delve into your professional network and find yourself a strategic thinker rooted in the tech industry. If you are not tech-based, you can sit this hiring process out and keep the focus on the above mentioned senior-level roles.

Building Your Senior Management Team

Ultimately, trust your instincts when interviewing and hiring. You have successfully grown your business to the level of needing an executive team, which is a major win all in itself.

As always with leadership; hire smart, fire fast, keep working that strategy to get the work done.

If you need inspiration for job postings at the Executive and Senior-Level, we’ve got some great site resources available in our Career Help section.

Five Skills Key to Successful Business Operations Management

Operations Management

Over the last several weeks we have been taking the time to highlight some of the larger industries we write resumes for.  This week we will look at the role of the operations manager.  

Original article click here.

You cannot be a good business leader unless you thoroughly understand the business operations in your organization and how it links to its performance. I have noticed one big reason business strategies fail – it is the unbelievable reality that senior leadership many a times doesn’t understand the basics of their business. How it runs and what makes it run. An operations mindset is extremely critical for all leaders – No matter how good you are at framing strategy; it also has to get executed successfully for an organization to succeed. This is where the business operations team can play a big role, by not only providing insights to the leadership on the ways to improve business performance through profitable growth and strategic management of costs and risks but also to reduce the gap between strategy and execution through disciplined process implementation. Quite a few big buzz words there. But it boils down to one thing – to succeed in business, you have to understand and be good at operations. I strongly believe an operational mindset is a mental “muscle” that can be developed. For all those who want to develop this muscle or are thinking of a career in business operations, this post is for them.

So without further ado, here are the five top skills/loves that I believe are must-haves for those who want to enhance the performance and productivity of organizations through understanding and improving their operations:

Must-Have #1 – You love people:

Lee Iacocca said:  “In the end, all business operations can be reduced to three words: people, product and profits. Unless you’ve got a good team, you can’t do much with the other two.” Understanding people across multiple functions and roles and leveraging their strengths is extremely important to meet objectives – in an operational role where you have to work mainly in a matrix structure where you have lots of responsibility but not always the required hierarchical authority, this becomes paramount. You must know how to connect with people and energize and enthuse them. Communication skills, beyond the verbal and the written, the ability to listen and read between the lines is an useful asset to align people to your goals. And all this is not possible unless you have a genuine interest and love for people.

Must-Have #2 – You love numbers:

Does the idea of deciphering lots and lots of rows and columns of numbers spread across sheets give you the shivers ? As they say, the devil lies in the details and to be good at operations, making sense of numbers must excite you. Plenty of common sense plus and an ability to derive meaning out of the different ways numbers can be combined or dissected to arrive at the right performance metrics for early warning signals for the business as well as measuring the results is part and parcel of the operations role. Knowing your numbers and the different levers that can be applied to them makes you the master of the game.

Must-Have #3 – You love wearing multiple hats:

In operations, you have to be put yourself in the shoes of different functions on a day-to-day basis – sales, IT, finance, business, delivery – to be able to understand the requirements from all perspectives and execute on it. A specialist in operations with a generalist bent of mind to connect all the dots in the organization for the right solutions.  You have to become the subject matter expert in many things at the same time. Quoting from an article by Vikram Mansharamani in HBR – there appears to be reasonable and robust data suggesting that generalists are better at navigating uncertainty. Professor Phillip Tetlock conducted a 20+ year study of 284 professional forecasters. He asked them to predict the probability of various occurrences both within and outside of their areas of expertise. Analysis of the 80,000+ forecasts found that experts are less accurate predictors than non-experts in their area of expertise. Tetlock’s conclusion: when seeking accuracy of predictions, it is better to turn to those like “Berlin’s prototypical fox, those who know many little things, draw from an eclectic array of traditions, and accept ambiguity and contradictions.” Ideological reliance on a single perspective appears detrimental to one’s ability to successfully navigate vague or poorly-defined situations (which are more prevalent today than ever before).

Must-Have #4 – You love solving puzzles:

Providing smart and creative recommendations for business process improvement is one of the key areas in which business operations team can be key contributors. As an operation person, you have to identify the problems, dig for knowledge in the vast amounts of available data and then analyze it to arrive at the areas of focus. As per research by Gartner, through 2012, 80% of organizations will struggle to recruit the talent required to meet their business analytics objectives. This needs an inquisitive mind, a persistent approach and deduction skills. If you are a crossword or Sudoku fanatic, you are in the right “zone” here :)

Must-Have #5 – You love WORK:

Back end work, strategic work, boring work, last-minute deadline work, grunt work,  thinking work, transactional work, delegated work, filling in for someone else work – your work landscape in an operations role will constantly be changing and switching. So, you must have a great love for work by itself and in itself in all its myriad shapes and forms. If you are particular about doing only one type of work and consider certain types of work below you – this is certainly not the role for you. The duties and responsibilities in this role are fluid and are different from company to company or even business head to business head. I have rarely across a defined job description that remains constant over a period of time in my career. So, your guiding principles and measuring stick for your work should be based on what you want to achieve, not what type of work is needed to get there. A passion for work coupled with an ability to set your own standards for excellence is crucial in this role.

In addition to the above, a  business operations person must be able to exude confidence, have conviction and be firm on what he/she believes is the right thing to do. It is only then that by focusing on some of the points where structure, processes, people and systems intersect, and engaging and influencing all the stakeholders involved to work on those critical junctions, the business operations team can release benefits that ripple across the organization.

What other skills do you think are necessary for successful business management and operations? What have I missed? Please share your experiences below. I would love to hear and learn from you.