The Value of Data Driven Jobs & The Skills You Need to Land One

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Feb 13, 2019

Feb 13, 2019 • by Rebecca Smith

Can you look at numbers and data and see that it tells a story? If you said yes, then you’d be a great fit for a data-driven job.

Data is everywhere. Companies are watching our every move, from places we visit to website searches to find information.

They just can’t figure out what to do with that data. They need someone to interpret it for them. That’s the reason why companies are willing to pay top dollar for someone to come in and explain what all of those numbers mean. 

Read on if you’d like to know what the top data jobs are and how you can get one to start your successful career in big data.

Top Data Jobs

The use of data to drive decisions has occurred in every department. Marketing, HR, accounting, and IT. The data that’s collected can be used to make employees more productive and make better marketing and sales decisions.

HR Data Analyst

An HR Data Analyst looks at HR issues from a data-driven perspective. The main problem they try to solve is “How do we get the most out of employees for the least amount of money?”

HR Analysts also help companies discover where there are areas that need more workers. They can spot if IT needs more support, which can lead to another hire.

While this isn’t seen as an entry-level HR job, it is something that you can work up to with the right skillset.

Data Scientist

A data scientist isn’t a mad scientist that hangs out in a lab coat. A data scientist develops models and ways to collect the data.

The Chief Marketing Officer says that there’s an issue attributing online sales to an ad campaign. A data scientist can create the data model to collect the data to determine what ads are driving sales.

Marketing Analyst

Marketing analysts work with data to discover what marketing efforts are working and which ones aren’t.

They aren’t programmers and don’t develop models the way that data scientists do. Rather, they interpret data.

They’re skilled in looking at tools like Google Analytics to find out more about the marketing efforts of the company.

For example, they can look at Google Analytics to find out how people are getting to the website. They can then look deeper to find how long they’re staying on the site and if they abandon the site before making a purchase.

Skills Needed to Get a Data-Driven Job

It doesn’t matter what your background is or what department you’ve worked in, data-driven jobs are for you.

You Love Numbers

Do you thrive in an environment where it’s just you looking at numbers? Some people just prefer to look at data. The key to understanding data isn’t just about looking at numbers, it’s understanding what they mean for the big picture of the business.

For example, if an HR Analyst finds that employees are more productive during certain times of the day, they can make certain assumptions that would impact the rest of the business. They can recommend that meetings aren’t scheduled during these productive times.

That can drive even bigger profits for the company’s bottom line.

Critical Thinking Skills

Sometimes, you can look at data and it forces more questions than it answers. Your job as an analyst is to ask those questions. You also have to be sure that you understand the underlying assumptions when you interpret data and communicate those assumptions.

An example would be how data is used to drive decisions at Instead of relying on assumptions and gut feelings, they turned to data to make decisions. You can read more here about that. 

Presentation Skills

You need to be compelling in front of a crowd. You’re likely to have to make a presentation about your work at some point.

Your presentation skills can determine how far you go in the company. You want to be able to present information in a way that people can understand. You also have to have a strong, confident presence in a room full of executives.

Data Visualization Skills

The data that you collect is supposed to tell a story about your company and its customers. When you present your data, you need to be able to present it in a way that people can understand.

Just having statistics and numbers in a PowerPoint will put people to sleep. You’re going to want to turn that data into charts and infographics.

People can understand and process data about 60,000 times faster than text. You’re going to have to know how to take that data and turn it into easy to understand information.

You’re Confident in Making Recommendations

A big part of your job is to guide the higher-ups in your company to make the best decision possible. Some people thrive under this type of pressure, while others wilt.

You will be asked for your opinion as to what kind of direction your organization can take. That can happen from someone in the C-Suite of the business, which can have a huge impact on your organization.

You have to have the confidence to stand by your recommendations. The thing about data is that it may seem black and white because you’re dealing with numbers. Your job in interpreting the data is to say what those number could mean, which can be a murky, gray area.

Again, you’re dealing with a lot of assumptions in working with the numbers. You need to be sure as to what those assumptions are and how they impact your interpretation of the numbers.

Data-Driven Jobs Present a Lucrative Opportunity

Companies depend on data more than ever to make decisions. Actually, they depend on the person interpreting the data to make decisions.

There’s a lot riding on your work in a data-driven environment, no matter what department you work in. If you have the presentation skills, can think critically and have the confidence you back up your recommendations, a data-driven job is for you.

If you want to know more about how you can find the job of your dreams, take a look at these articles for job seekers.