Going over ads for open positions in the last couple of years reveals the emergence of a new profession – the Analyst. Due to its relative novelty, different companies have different titles for this position: Business analyst, data analyst, product analyst, to name only a few. These different names all describe the same profession, which can be referred to as the Data Craftsman.
The strength of the Data Craftsmen and Craftswomen lies in their ability to approach data in a holistic way. Great familiarity with Excel or the knowledge of writing SQL queries aren’t going to cut it. Data craftsmanship is all about understanding the full product cycle and about making that cycle better.
What does that mean in the day-to-day practice? What are the daily tasks that Data Craftsmen encounter and how can they perform them to reach maximum results? Here’s a helpful overview:
A major part of the analyst’s job is querying the database, i.e., posing different sets of questions about the product’s functions. Once you have your queries running, the challenging part is to produce meaningful insights from the available answers. That’s why the Data Craftsman must be able to focus on the important data and not be distracted by interesting information that may not be of great relevance to the original question.
Analysts often deliver their insights to people who are not very comfortable with numbers and stats, so it is important to know how to visualize the data in a way that makes sense to them. This can be achieved with the help of Excel charts or by using special visualization software such as Tableau. Make sure you choose the most suitable chart style to help you convey the message in the best way possible.
In order to know what data to pull, you need to know the product inside-out. Although it’s rather hard for an analyst to experience the company’s products from the perspective of a real user, you must do your best to experience the product as a regular user and familiarize yourself with its features. As Data Craftsman, you are expected not only to analyze the behavior of users, but also to suggest new ways to improve the product.
A good Data Craftsman or Craftswoman must understand the company’s business model and constantly work towards improving it. Knowing the business model puts you in a better position for increasing profits from individual products. Whether you’re working within a freemium model, an in-app purchase model or an enterprise model, it is crucial to look for the right opportunities to increase revenues.
The everyday work of the Data Craftsman includes a fair amount of statistics. In order to know how to conduct tests, how to measure results and how to present an insightful analysis, a firm grasp on the basic terms in statistics is an absolute must. If you were hoping to bid farewell to words like significance, confidence interval or variance, you better be willing to let them back into your world.
Data Craftsmen and Craftswomen must have a true and genuine passion for data, as well as a curiosity for discovering new insights. One of the ways to keep your curious instincts alive is never to take anything for granted and always question what you know. Asking the right questions and challenging existing decisions are both crucial in understanding the product’s pitfalls and its potential.
If this job description sounds appealing to you and you are considering a career as a Data Craftsman or Data Craftswoman, you will be delighted to hear that you don’t need a specific academic background. But you have to be enthusiastic about data and about numbers, and you need to believe that your insight and perspective can make a real difference.
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