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How to become a Data Analyst in South Africa

Updated on Nov 28, 2021 1516 views
How to become a Data Analyst in South Africa

Introduction

According to Forbes 2020 Report, "the constant increase in data processing speeds and bandwidth, the nonstop invention of new tools for creating, sharing and consuming data, and the steady addition of new data creators and sources around the world, ensure that data growth continues unabated."

Businesses today recognize the untapped value in data and data analytics as a crucial factor in business competitiveness. To drive their data initiatives, people highly skilled in data analytics are in high demand today.

MyJobMag South Africa, the publisher of the top jobs in South Africa, reached out to several data analysts particularly those who just got their jobs recently. The aim is to help aspiring data analysts know the necessary skills needed and the steps to take in order to secure a data analyst job.

For conciseness sake and uniformity, the Data Analysts shared their insights about these two (2) questions. And they are as follows below;

How did you secure your first data analyst job?
What skills must you possess to excel as a Data Analyst?

In no particular order, the responses gotten from each of these Data analysts are thus presented below. Each piece of advice also carries the name, job position, company, LinkedIn Profile, and the image of the Data Analyst. They are as thus as follow;

 

1. Munyaradzi Ronald Mutsvangwa

Data Analyst 

Incubeta

LinkedIn Profile

1. How did you secure your first data analyst job?
  My Data Analyst path wasn't straightforward, I never thought it would be something I could do. I wanted to be a Developer, at the time I was still studying, and on my off days, I would create portfolios for a Front End Development. In my job search, I found it really hard to get a Dev job so I broadened my search. Like many young people out there, I was willing to get any job that would make me enter the door and then grow from there. To secure my first job I would say my projects did help even though it was not really Data work it helped demonstrate that I am an independent learner and with the right guidance I can grow. Many young students believe that only having a tertiary qualification will help them enter the door, but the competition is so fierce. So to have practical portfolios and other certifications free(For example Google Analytics) or paid do help a lot.

2. What skills must you possess to excel as a Data Analyst?
  Great communication skills. Being able to explain the challenges you are facing so your team can assist. Most challenges one faces, are likely challenges your teammates have once encountered. So being able to describe the problem and what you have tried before reaching for help is key.
 - Excel/Sheets and SQL, are the most fundamental skills. Every company has its own tools for data visualizing they prefer but for data cleaning and transformation Excel/Sheets and SQL are key.
 - Data modeling, being able to understand the relationships with the data. That comes with experience and industry since no data is the same. But having an understanding does help a lot.
- Easily approachable and work well with your team. I think most people entering the field think they will be working alone or they have to know everything from day one. Just being able to reach out for help and take criticism well is great. The tech always changes, but being able to learn fast and grow is a bonus.
 

2. Dakalo Tanzwani

Data Analyst

talentCRU

LinkedIn Profile

Dakalo Tanzwani data analyst

1. How did you secure your first data analyst job?

I got the application link from a friend and at that time I was excited about data science and everyone was talking about it and having a  physics background couldn’t stop me from following my dreams.

2. What skills must you possess to excel as a Data Analyst?

You need to be good In sql, Python, reporting tool like powerBI and Microsoft excel. Apart from this tool you need to have a basic understanding of stats and pay attention to details.

 

3. Daleen Fourie

Data and Reporting Analyst

Tshimologong Precinct

LinkedIn Profile

Daleen Fourie Data analyst

1. How did you secure your first data analyst job?

By working my way up in my existing company. If you are not a data expert yet, rely on your expertise of a particular company or industry. 

2. What skills must you possess to excel as a Data Analyst?

Analytical- problem solving skills, an understanding of research methods and technology.

 

4. Alisio Batinti

Data Analyst

Outsized

LinkedIn Profile

Alisio Batinti data analyst

1. How did you secure your first data analyst job?

I secured my first job as a Data Engineer a month after completing university. This job involved data analytics and was not solely engineering. I had to excel in my interviews and test. My second job which was data analytics and research required that I had a proven track record in navigating the data world and building solutions.

2. What skills must you possess to excel as a Data Analyst?

When companies look to employ someone in data fresh out of university they will invest in you if you have a background in Math / Computer Science / Statistics / Applied Math / Engineering / Actuarial Science. Otherwise securing a role as a data analyst can be tough. SQL and any derivative of SQL should be your bread and butter as well as Python or R. Furthermore,  it would help tremendously if you have experience in cloud platforms (GCP, AWS, Azure, Apache) and utilizing or building data tools therein.

 

5. Ramadikela Matlebjane

Data Analyst | Data Steward

Hollard Insurance

LinkedIn Profile

Ramadikela Matlebjane data analysts

1. How did you secure your first data analyst job?

Well to answer your first question, I had to ensure that I have the right qualifications in place and that is my BSc degree in Mathematical Statistics. What that degree assisted me with were my problem-solving and analytical skills which are vital in any data-related role.

2. What skills must you possess to excel as a Data Analyst?

In terms of the skills that one should possess; I would say they need to be great problem solvers, have an eye for details and in terms of technical skills SQL and excel are widely used and would recommend they have at least those two in place then can develop into other programming languages as their career progresses. Also, one important aspect that people miss a lot is the fact they need to be patient and love getting their hands dirty because data is never perfect.

 

6. Brendon Mpofu

Data Analyst

Elucidate AI | Data Engineer

LinkedIn Profile

Brendon Mpofu

1. How did you secure your first data analyst job?

I started by learning basic programming through online resources and did a few simple projects to gain some "experience". After that, I started applying for data analytics and data scientist jobs mainly through LinkedIn. After a few months of searching, I landed my first job as a data analyst at a telecommunications company.

2. What skills must you possess to excel as a Data Analyst?

I would categorize this into 2, technical skills and transferable skills.
 
Technical skills required.
i. Python or R
ii. Spark - if one will be working with large volumes of data
iii. At least one BI tool e.g PowerBI, Qliksense,Qlikview.
iv. SQL
 
Transferable skills required:
i. Analytical -just having that ability to think analytically
ii. problem-solving

 

7. Delysia Naidoo

Senior Data Analyst 

VMLY&R

LinkedIn Profile

1. How did you secure your first data analyst job?

My journey into the exciting field of Data Analysis was not the traditional route, I studied Marketing and Communications and started my career in the Media Industry, and worked in mostly business development roles. Looking back, this experience has assisted me tremendously in my current role, as I have the keen ability to merge data insights to business-based requirements, to answer key questions or spot trends from a business perspective. Whilst during my honors degree I was very interested in the field of research and at that time decided to transition my career from marketing into the field of data research. A position opened up within the company I was working for and I jumped at it. This was over 6 years ago and I have been thriving, learning, and having so much fun within this exciting and fast-paced industry of data. I believe my journey is a prime example of how you need not follow a traditional path and that you do not need to be mathematically strong to enter into the field, although it is important to have good knowledge in technical subjects to perform tasks accurately, these can be learned with determination. If you have a passion for working with data and investigating trends, then the additional work you need to do to bump up your knowledge will ultimately work in your favor and make you the best data analyst that you can be.

2. What skills must you possess to excel as a Data Analyst?

The necessary skill you should have is not one that can be learned, you should enjoy working with large sets of data (excel sheets or databases), you should have a keen eye for accuracy and very attention to detail as this is where the bulk of your work as a data analyst will lie. You should possess a lot of patience and know that the majority of work is in the cleaning and preprocessing of data before it can be used in any analysis work. There are many online courses that will get you up to speed on the technical training needed to use the various analytical tools provided to perform daily tasks, however with the speed at which this industry is moving, it is important to keep your finger on the pulse and keep abreast of new and emerging tech. The strongest skill you would need to possess is to be an eternal student because you will always be learning and applying the latest skills.

 

8. Kelebogile Mooketsi

Data Analyst

Absa Group

LinkedIn Profile

kelebogile mooketsi data analysts

1. How did you secure your first data analyst job?

I started working as a learner in a Bankseta program called Financial Markets and Instruments for a year. I was in a team called the Information Middle office team. When my learnership expired I applied for a Data Analyst position and since then I have been equipping myself with skills to help me progress in my career. 

2. What skills must you possess to excel as a Data Analyst?

For one to excel as a Data Analyst one would need to learn soft skills and technical skills/knowledge. The soft skills would include stakeholder management, patience, emotional intelligence. The technical skills include things like learning how to use excel, learning programming languages like C#, python, SQL, and other Microsoft programs like PowerBi. One must always be curious and not be afraid to fail /make mistakes. As one learns through failure and mistakes to be better.

 

9. Banele Ngemntu

Data Analyst | Cloud Engineer | Developer

Intellergy

LinkedIn Profile

Banele Ngemntu data analysts

1. How did you secure your first data analyst job?

I secured my first data analyst role through a LinkedIn job advert, detailing a need to hire a data analyst resource. I applied and received the role through a basic interview followed up with a presentation of any dashboards that I have generated.

2. What skills must you possess to excel as a Data Analyst?

The priority for any data analyst is to have an ability to prepare the data for analysis, So the first skill is having an ability to work with a good programming language, preferably Python and R, as well as understanding how to work with databases for data storage.
Then the ability to build interactive dashboards through using tools such as Tableau, Matplotlib, and Plotly graphs on Jupyter notebook, and Power Bi to let the data tell a story. A thorough understanding of statistics is also needed here to understand how to analyze data. 

 

10. Yamkela Lupindo

Data Analyst

Nelson Mandela University

LinkedIn Profile 

Yamkela Lupindo data analyst


1. How did you secure your first data analyst job?

I secured my first Data Analyst job without Data analysis experience. While I was searching for the most required tools within the IT space, I then realized that SQL is the common tool required. And from September 2019 I started learning SQL on
https://www.w3schools.com/. This website gave me enough basic understanding to get me started, and on the 1 November I was appointed as a Junior Data Analyst, and during an
interview process I was assessed on SQL, and luckily that was the only mandatory tool required to qualify for the job. When I started with the job, I was able to build on the basic SQL understanding I thought of myself and I ended up becoming one of the Top performing employees within my level.

2. What skills must you possess to excel as a Data Analyst?

As a Data Analyst you need to have the following soft skills:

  • Analytical
  • Problem Solving
  • Communication
  • Reporting
  • Attention to details
  • Data preparation
  • Collaboration

Based on my experience, I would say those are the key skills required to excel as a data
analyst.
Understanding technical skills is an advantage to automate the Data Analysis requirements, however, before you get to technical skills a Data Analyst must be able to do the following;

  • Tell a story from the data 
  • Reconnoiter the meaning behind the data 
  • Identify the trends within a Data
  • Make decisions based on the data

Must be able to interpret findings that will

  •  Contribute to business strategic decisions
  •  Planning the future of the business

Technical skills are used for the following;

  • automate your finding
  • presentation of your data,
  • to make it easier to sort and structure your data.
  • Data Visualization for presenting the data
  • And the technical skills or tools required are:

Server Skills

  • Structured Query Language (SQL): MySQL, SQL Server, MS Access, Oracle, Sybase, Informix, Postgres
  • R and Python

Data Analytics Skills

  • Machine Learning
  • Statistics
  • Microsoft Excel and
  • Google sheets
  • Programming Skills
  • Python
  • R

 

11. Mbongeni Mzila

Data Analyst

Lulalend

LinkedIn Profile

Mbongeni Mzila data analysts

1. How did you secure your first data analyst job?

I got my data analyst job by applying through linkedIn.

2. What skills must you possess to excel as a Data Analyst?

The main technical skills that most companies look for in a data analyst are advanced skills in SQL, Python, reporting tools such as PowerBI etc, ETL and working with versioning tools such git, bitbucket etc. Some background in Maths or Software engineering can be advantageous but not completely compulsory.

 

12. Wendy Sibiya

Data Analyst

Mr Price Group

LinkedIn Profile 

Wendy sibiya data analyst

1. How did you secure your first data analyst job?

After completing my diploma in Information Technology at DUT while I was still job hunting, I taught myself excel and created dashboards in excel using different datasets from the internet. During that time, I had no idea of reporting tools like QlikSense or MS Power BI. When I got my first interview, I presented my portfolio of the dashboard that I have created, and that how I secured my first data analyst job.

2. What skills must you possess to excel as a Data Analyst?

  •  Structured Query Language (SQL)
  •  Microsoft Excel
  •  Critical Thinking
  •  Data Visualization
  •  Presentation Skills

 

Conclusion

The insights shared above show both soft and hard skills required for a successful data analytics career.

Data Analysts are still in high demand and I'm sure this will contribute to helping you secure your dream. You can also apply for data analyst jobs in South Africa

We will love to hear your thoughts and contributions using the comment box below.

 

 

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