7 In-Demand Data Analyst Skills to Get You Hired in 2023

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Transitioning to a career in data analytics can mean stable employment in a high-paying industry once you have the right skills.

[Featured image] Woman reviewing data at a desk

Demand for data analysts and scientists in India is at an all-time high, with a projected 11 million job openings by 2026 [1]. India is expected to hold 32 per cent of the world market by 2026, making it a lucrative career path for those interested in data management.

But what skills are the most in-demand in the world of data? 

These seven trending data science skills represent those with the most searches and enrollments by Coursera’s community. To prepare for a new career in the high-growth field of data analysis, start by developing these skills.   

Let’s look at what they are and how you can start learning them.

1. SQL

Structured Query Language, or SQL, is the standard language to communicate with databases. Knowing SQL lets you update, organise, and query data stored in relational databases and modify data structures (schema). 

Since almost all data analysts will need to use SQL to access data from a company’s database, it’s arguably the most important skill to learn to get a job. It’s common for data analyst interviews to include a technical screening with SQL. 

Luckily, SQL is one of the easier languages to learn.

Get fluent in SQL: Develop SQL fluency, even if you have no previous coding experience, with the Learn SQL Basics for Data Science Specialization from UC Davis. Work through four progressive SQL projects as you learn how to analyse and explore data.

2. Statistical programming

Statistical programming languages, like R or Python, enable you to perform advanced analyses in ways that Excel cannot. Writing programs in these languages means you can clean, analyse, and visualise large data sets more efficiently.

Both languages are open source, and learning at least one is a good idea. There’s some debate over which language is better for data analysis. Either language can accomplish similar data science tasks. While R was designed specifically for analytics, Python is the more popular and tends to be an easier language to learn, especially if it’s your first.

Learn your first programming language: If you’ve never written code before, Python for Everybody from the University of Michigan is a good place to start. After writing your first simple program, you can start to build more complex programs used to collect, clean, analyse, and visualise data.

3. Machine learning

Machine learning, a branch of artificial intelligence (AI), has become one of the most important developments in data science. This skill focuses on building algorithms designed to find patterns in big data sets, improving their accuracy over time.

The more data a machine learning algorithm processes, the “smarter” it becomes, allowing for more accurate predictions. 

Data analysts aren’t generally expected to have a mastery of machine learning. But developing your machine learning skills could give you a competitive advantage and set you on a course for a future career as a data scientist.

Get started in machine learning: Andrew Ng’s Machine Learning Specialization from Stanford is one of the most highly-rated courses on Coursera. Learn about the best machine learning techniques and how to apply them to problems in this introductory class.

4. Probability and statistics

Statistics refers to the field of math and science concerned with collecting, analysing, interpreting, and presenting data. That might sound familiar—it closely matches the description of what a data analyst does. 

With a strong foundation in probability and statistics, you’ll be better able to: 

  • Identify patterns and trends in the data

  • Avoid biases, fallacies, and logical errors in your analysis

  • Produce accurate and trustworthy results

Master modern statistical thinking: Get a refresher with the Probability and Statistics course from the University of London. If you’ve already picked up some programming, learn to apply your skills to statistical analysis through Statistics with Python from the University of Michigan or Statistics with R from Duke University.

5. Data management

Data management refers to collecting, organising, and storing data in an efficient, secure, and cost-effective way. While some organisations will have roles dedicated to data management—data architects and engineers, database administrators, and information security analysts—data analysts often manage data in some capacity.

Different companies use different data management systems. As you’re developing your skill set, it can help to gain a broad understanding of how databases work, both in physical and cloud environments.

Learn about data engineering: Get an overview of the modern data ecosystem with Introduction to Data Engineering from IBM. Learn more about the role data analysts, scientists, and engineers play in data management.

6. Statistical visualisation

Gleaning insights from data is only one part of the data analysis process. Another fundamental component is telling a story with those insights to help inform better business decisions. That’s where data visualisation comes in. As a data analyst, you can use charts, graphs, maps, and other visual representations of data to help present your findings in an easy-to-understand way. 

Improving your data visualisation skills often means learning visualisation software like Tableau. This industry-standard software empowers you to transform your analysis into dashboards, data models, visualisations, and business intelligence reports.

Get visual with Tableau: Once you’re comfortable working with data and data sets, practice creating powerful visualisations of your data with the Data Visualization with Tableau Specialization from UC Davis.

7. Econometrics

With econometrics, analysts apply statistical and mathematical data models to economics to help forecast future trends based on historical data. Understanding econometrics is key for data analysts looking for jobs in the financial sector, particularly at investment banks and hedge funds.

Practice econometrics: Learn the three basic methods of econometrics and apply these models to problems in daily life with the Enjoyable Econometrics course from Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Tips for learning data analysis skills

Data analysts leverage these and other technical skills to help inform decisions at their organisations. Putting in the time and effort to learn these skills can set you up for a successful career as a data analyst. Here are a few quick tips for getting started:

  • Set aside time to work on your skills regularly

  • Learn from your mistakes

  • Practice with real data projects

  • Join an online data community

  • Build your skills bit by bit

How to include data analyst skills on your resume

As you add new skills to your data analyst toolbox, update them on your resume as well. Include a “skills” section with a bulleted list of around five of your top data skills. If you list a skill on your resume, be prepared to discuss it in your interview. 

It’s also a good idea to incorporate your skills in context. When you include data analysis projects or previous roles, try to include a sentence on how you used a particular skill to complete a task (e.g., “Wrote a Python script to scrape data using the official Twitter API” or “used Tableau to visualise product sales over time”).

Read more: How to Select and List Key Skills for Your CV

Get started with Coursera

Start building many of these data analyst job-ready skills with the Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate on Coursera. Learn how to clean and organise data with SQL and R, visualise with Tableau, and complete a case study for your portfolio—no prior experience or degree required. You can apply for entry-level jobs directly with Google or one of India's many data analyst jobs upon completion.

Article sources

  1. Analytics Insight. Big Data Analysts and Data Scientists Recruitment Landscape in India, https://www.analyticsinsight.net/big-data-analysts-and-data-scientists-recruitment-landscape-in-india/. Accessed July 28, 2023.

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