What is a Data Analyst

Why should you consider this career?

👋 Hey there !!

Welcome to Career Compass! In this week’s newsletter, I’ll cover What a Data Analyst is, the Evolution of SQL, and Why you must start thinking for yourself.

Let’s get started!

Table of Contents

Read time: 5 minutes

🎯What is a Data Analyst?

A data analyst is someone who gathers, cleans, models, interprets, and shares data to answer questions or solve problems. It’s that simple. Does it mean it’s easy? Nope.

🧑‍💼 Why should you consider this career?

Data analysis is a highly in-demand skill in today's job market, and someone in your line of work will likely use data analysis tools daily.

Did you know there are over 10,000 job openings for "Data Analyst" in the US alone?

Here are 4 reasons why you should consider a career as a Data Analyst:

💼 Business Impact: Analyzing data helps make strategic decisions that significantly improve business performance.

⚒️ Versatility: Data analysis skills can be transferred across industries, providing diverse career paths.

📄 Continuous Learning: With the rise of AI and other tools, the ongoing learning process allows you to improve your skills daily.

💰 Compensation: According to the 2023 Stack Overflow Survey, data analysts make an average of $61,000/year, up to $105,000 in the United States.

If you’re convinced this is your path, check out how to learn Data Analytics in 2024.

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Read McKinsey’s Digital Data-Driven Enterprise of 2025 and learn more about Data.

🎯Evolution of SQL

Structured Query Language (SQL) is a powerful tool for managing, manipulating, and retrieving data in relational database management systems (RDBMS).

It appeared in the early 1970s when IBM engineers Donald D. Chamberlin and Raymond F. Boyce embarked on a mission to revolutionize data management.

⁉️ Why is SQL important?

  • Data Organization since it enables a structured organization within Relational Databases;

  • Data Manipulation because it allows users to manipulate data with clauses, expressions, and statements easily;

  • Data Integration as it promotes connections from multiple sources.

📈 How did SQL evolve?

1970s: Chamberlin and Boyce pioneered the initial version of SQL within IBM's System R project.

1980s: The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) adopted SQL as the International standard.

1990s: Significant revisions, such as SQL-92 and SQL-99 introduced procedural programming support.

2020s: SQL retains its pivotal role in database management.

If you want a free course on how SQL works with RDBMS, check out this video:

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Read this article in Sutori to learn more about the history of databases.

🎯Think for yourself

At the beginning of my data career, I was so focused on perfecting my data analyst technical skills that I neglected developing some other essential areas:

  • Soft skills like teamwork;

  • Analytical skills, such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and domain knowledge;

  • Stakeholder management skills, like communication and storytelling.

➡️ Steps to Achieve Wisdom

Being a data analyst is more than just writing formulas, creating dashboards, and crunching code. That alone will not get you anywhere.
Every step of this ladder requires you to integrate all the skills mentioned above.

Let me share with you three main ideas that will help you develop this mindset:

🔍 Think for yourself: Instead of focusing on answering others’ questions, prioritize independent thinking and problem-solving.

✔️ Always Ask ‘Why’: Rather than following instructions mindlessly, take a step back to evaluate the bigger picture and question how this new information fits in with what you already know.

📃 Take Ownership: Be comfortable in ambiguous situations and take the initiative to drive projects forward.

If you’re interested to see what I did to achieve success, please check out this video:

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Check out this article from James Clear for more information on individual thinking.

👋 That’s it! Thank you!

See you next week.

Mo Chen

👋 Hey, can I ask just one more thing?

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