Excel Skills for Data Analysis

Vital excel skills for data anlysis
Lets start this post with what Wikipedia says about data analysis.

Analysis of data is a process of inspecting, cleaning, transforming, and modeling data with the goal of discovering useful information, suggesting conclusions, and supporting decision-making. Data analysis has multiple facets and approaches, encompassing diverse techniques under a variety of names, in different business, science, and social science domains.


Excel offers powerful features that can be used to analyze data. To curb down on the time required to go reading the help docs that ship with excel and to sort out what an entry level Data Analyst would need, am going to highlight for reference and further exploitation purpose some of these features.

Just if you did not know. Microsoft's text editor: Notepad is a great tool that comes in handy for data analysis. I leave you with the home work of finding out at least five ways in which notepad can facilitate data analysis. Optionally share your tips in the comment section.
Find below some excel features/functions, in no particular order, that will facilitate data analysis.
  1.  As a data analyst, you will certainly have to consolidate multiple lists from different sources and of different formats and data types. Excel's reference functions make life a lot easier on this task. Some of these functions are:
    • VLOOKUP
    • HLOOKUP
    • VBA LOOKUP
    • MATCH
    • SEARCH/FIND
  2. As a data analyst, you would want to display data that meet only certain criteria. The following functions will do just that:
    • SORT
    • CONDITIONAL FORMATTING
    • FILTER
  3. As a data analyst, there are times you will need to compute results based on some decisions or on some conditions of some fields in a data set. Make use of the following functions:
    • IF
    • IFERROR
    • SUMIF
    • SUMIFS
    • COUNTIF (especially when you have used ones and zeroes to segregate entries)
  4. As a data analyst, before you even use excel you may need to:
    • IMPORT DATA
    • LINK TO DATA SOURCE
  5. As a data analyst, your basic function is to get information out of data. Excel provides the following skills for you to present that information (maybe to management):
    • CHARTS
    • PIVOT TABLES
    • TABLES
  6. As a data analyst, you should be able to observe/identify trends, project patterns and forecast possibilities. Make use of the following:
    • WHAT-IF-ANALYSIS
    • ANALYSIS TOOL PACK (plugin).
    • *MACRO
With the above I believe an Entry level or Junior Data Analyst and a newbie to Microsoft Excel will know exactly where to spend more time and of what impact it is to their career.


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