Career

My 5 Biggest Mistakes as An Analyst

Photo by Brendan Church on Unsplash

Mistake 1 — Report vs. Analyze

When I started my career, I spent almost all my time on reporting, put numbers into a deck or dashboard, share with my stakeholders, call it a day and leave it for them to make sense of them; that is until I keep getting follow-up questions and realized I need to do more.

Write like an Amazonian
Write like an Amazonian

Mistake 2 — Adhoc vs. Automated

Part of the reason why I spent almost all my time on reporting was because it was really all I could do with the time I’ve got. I was the only analyst on the team, which means I always have a lot of ad-hoc requests coming my way — not a moment of rest!

Mistake 3 — Data>Storytelling

I once overheard a data scientist complaining about stakeholders not understanding their work. It took me a while to learn this, but it is not your stakeholders’ job to understand your work. It’s your job to help them understand and make decisions with your output.

Mistake 4 — Local Maximum vs. Big Picture

During one of my job interviews, I asked a hiring manager how to be successful in my role, what he said stood with me: do what you are told to do at first, learn as much as you can during the process, and then have a big picture.

Optimizely Goal Tree

Mistake 5 — Support vs. Own

Analytics can often be seen as a supporting function. Your bonus is not tied to sales, meaning you don’t own the KPI. But I found a “supporting” mindset can often lead to a “don’t care because it’s other people’s problems” attitude and poor performance as an analyst.

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