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Qualities and skills required of a data specialist

Table Of Contents


A data specialist is someone who performs in-depth analysis of data in the form of graphs, charts, diagrams, tables, and reports. Then, use these data to identify trends and create models that predict possible problems in the future.

In this modern age, data is considered as a valuable resource. Therefore, becoming a data specialist is the perfect career choice. So do you know what qualities and skills are required to become a data specialist? Follow the sharing below from Navigos Search to find out the answers!

1. Data expertise background

First, to become a data specialist for an industry, you must master the expertise of that field. For example, if you are working for an online sales business then you must be knowledgeable about e-commerce. Or if you are in charge of data analysis for mechanical enterprises, you need to understand the operating principles of mechanical systems and materials,....

No matter what industry you work in, if you don't understand the nature of the matters you need to analyze, your work will be challenging and even fall in the wrong direction. Therefore, professional knowledge and expertise is the first requirement of employers when reviewing candidates for the position of data specialist.

Knowledge and expertise is the first important factor
Knowledge and expertise is the first important factor

2. Questioning skills

Problem solving is an important skill that every data specialist needs to possess. About 90% of the workload of a data specialist  requires critical thinking and the ingenuity to ask questions.

For example, if the sales rate of the blue bicycles in a business's outlet is so low, a data specialist needs to analyze where the root cause comes from? Is it because other colors are preferred? Or the blue bikes have a higher price than others?

A data specialist must ask the right questions, use his logical thinking ability to read and understand information, and come up with a plan to deal with challenges, overcome weaknesses and promote strengths. The more sensitive they are to the figures, the faster they will find a reasonable and effective solution.

3. Mathematics skills

Most data specialist backgrounds don't come from math majors but from business administration and marketing. Therefore, cultivating math skills is extremely important.

A data specialist needs to understand and effectively apply knowledge of statistics, algebra, applied mathematics,... They must also know how to extract information from large data sets, be proficient in using mathematical formulas and computer software.

4. Proficient in Excel and database query language

Proficient use of Excel is also a necessary skill for a great data specialist. Excel is a spreadsheet software used by millions of people around the world to store, share information, and perform math, statistics, reports, and visualization. For those who work with data, this is an indispensable tool to perform better at work.

In addition, a data specialist must be proficient in at least one query language. These languages are used to instruct computers to perform tasks related to data analysis. The two most popular query languages today are SQL and SAS. SAS is used in the field of medication, while SQL is commonly used to retrieve data from large databases. If you already have a clear direction, you should study and learn the most used query language in that field.


Proficiency in data languages is an essential skill
Proficiency in data languages is an essential skill

5. Data visualization capabilities

The nature of data - related professions is to research, learn about complex topics and present them in a way that is simple for everyone in the business to understand. Indeed, this is a tough job and not everyone can do it.

To effectively convey information through figures, you must use visual aids such as graphs and charts. These are popular and extremely effective means of illustrating the content you want to express and deliver. Currently, Excel is the most familiar tool. Besides, you can also use other visual tools such as: Google Chart, Canva, Highcharts, Infogram,...

6. Good communication skills

In addition to the ability to turn data into images and visual content, people working in the field of data must also have effective communication and information delivery skills because this job requires coordination with colleagues, stakeholders and data providers.

A data specialist must articulate his analysis and final conclusions because sometimes, the audience is not familiar with those methods and processes. At this point, the data specialist is responsible for turning complex terms into simple concepts and delivering them in an understandable way to colleagues and customers.

Good communication skills help data specialist communicate effectively
Good communication skills help data specialist communicate effectively

7. Knowledgeable about Machine learning

Machine Learning is an application of artificial intelligence (AI), providing systems that learn and upgrade themselves, without the need for programming. Machine learning focuses on developing computer programs through collected data.

Artificial intelligence and predictive analytics are becoming hot topics in the data field. Therefore, understanding Machine Learning will help data specialists succeed and advance faster in the profession, especially for those who want to become Data Scientists. Understanding Machine Learning is not a requirement; however, to become the leader in the field of data, you need to understand the tools and concepts related to this technology.

8. Critical thinking

In the field of data, critical thinking is understood as the use of analysis, survey and objective estimation when it comes to a certain problem to make a feasible judgment. 

To acquire critical thinking skills, a data specialist must maintain an attitude of not accepting the original answer as the final answer, he or she needs to constantly think of different possibilities. At the same time, they need to regularly question what is heard and seen in order to focus on the most important aspect of the problem and ignore irrelevant details.

In addition, while critical thinking is to a certain extent and largely innate, there are a few tips you can try to improve your critical thinking skills. For example, ask yourself basic questions about the problem at hand to help you find a solution instead of getting caught up in a complicated explanation. Also, it's important to think for yourself instead of just relying on what's already there or on existing answers.

9. Statistic

A strong background in probability statistics is an important skill for a data specialist. This knowledge will help them understand, guide, analyze and effectively exploit the data they are dealing with.

Besides, knowledge of probability statistics also helps to ensure valid data analysis results and avoid unexpected errors. The level of statistical knowledge will vary, depending on the specific requirements of the job and the data to be processed.

People working in the data field need statistical skills
People working in the data field need statistical skills

Above are the basic qualities and skills that any data specialist needs to possess. Learning, accumulating more knowledge will help you become a potential candidate, and a great employee when hired. A world of data is waiting for you ahead, Navigos Search wishes you success!

Navigos Search is the most prestigious mid-level and high-level recruitment agency in Vietnam today. If you are aspiring to find a job as a data specialist or any other position, please send us your CV to quickly be notified when there is a suitable job opening, or contact our team of consultant experts directly. Please refer to the information below:

  • HCM Headquarters: 20th Floor, Central Building, 11 Doan Van Bo, Ward 13, District 4
  • Hanoi Branch:V. Building - 125 Ba Trieu street, Hai Ba Trung District
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