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What Are the Top Skills I Need to Major in Analytics?

Interested in becoming a business analytics professional? There's more to it than number crunching. Here are some skills our experts recommend picking up.

CX Experts generic icon

Dr. Melissa R. Bowers and Dr. Ken Gilbert
Associate Professor of Business; Former Director of Business Analytics
University of Tennessee at Knoxville

The “unicorn” that businesses seek in analytics professionals isn’t a mythical creature; rather, it’s the term used to describe an individual who can bridge the gap between the world of technology and the world of practical application—a rare combination. To succeed as an analytics professional, one must possess a broad set of skills and personal attributes beyond the technical tool kit. Some of the most valuable attributes are:

  • An intellectual curiosity about how things work. The analytics professional often must quickly become a subject matter expert in new areas of application.
  • Ability to communicate technical information nontechnical terms. You must be able to communicate technical solutions in clear, concise, nontechnical terms that every manager can understand.
  • Ability to visualize information. You must be able to organize data visually to glean business insight.
  • Ability to function as part of a team with strong communication skills. You must be able to listen, lead, and lend support at the appropriate times.
  • A fundamental understanding of business. You must be able to leverage data to drive better business decisions that positively impact the bottom line.
  • Ability to think from a big picture perspective. You must have a clear understanding of the interdependencies within any organization so that local optimization does not compromise the overall performance of the organization.
  • A commitment to life-long learning. You must be committed to a life-long learning process to remain abreast of technological advancements in the discipline.

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