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How to Become a Data Analyst

Do Data Analysts Code?

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Some Data Analysts do have to code as part of their day-to-day work, but this is not typically required for jobs in data analysis. That said, while basic data analysis functions can be performed without writing code—interpreting Google Analytics data, for example—the rise of big data has added a layer of technical difficulty to the Data Analyst’s role, which means coding is now much more likely to come up.

What Languages do Data Analysts Use?

When it comes to data analysis, writing code doesn’t typically mean building an original piece of software from scratch. It’s much more likely to involve deploying packaged algorithms in statistical programming languages such as R, Python, and SQL, or writing scripts to transform data and generate visualizations.

A big, unwieldy dataset can’t yield the information a Data Analyst needs until the Analyst defines how that information should be manipulated. This is typically something determined on an as-needed basis, as it depends on the parameters of the dataset and the information required. All this makes the process more complicated than simply clicking a button—producing these queries does constitute a form of coding, in the fundamental sense of “generating a unique set of instructions for the computer to execute.”

Data Analysts are also frequently involved in data visualization, using languages like R to create high-quality interactive maps, charts, and more. Several software packages make it possible to develop highly sophisticated (and unique) visualizations—and any time you step off the beaten path, trying to extract something from data beyond a surface-level abstract, you’re likely looking at writing code.

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