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Why You Need Analytical Skills to Get Promoted at Work

Do you wonder if analytical skills might benefit you in your job? Are ‘analytical skills’ the same as data analytics? Is SQL a useful analytical skill? Read the article to answer these questions.

Analytical skills allow you to better understand problems in your work; good analytical skills bring many benefits to your career.

The term ‘analytical’ refers to a wide range of traits and capabilities, making it sometimes ironically vague and general. This became especially true with the increased use of data analysis – the boundary between the two categories became blurred.

This lack of clarity is especially frustrating if you’re trying to decide what analytical skills to learn. Should you focus on Python, SQL, marketing analytics, probability, or data visualization? There are too many choices!

This article highlights core analytical skills common in many domains. It also helps you understand data analysis in relation to those skills. Finally, it will show you why SQL is one of the best analytical skills to learn.

What Are Analytical Skills?

There are many valid definitions of analytical skills. For example, in career development, we can focus on ‘soft’ vs. data-related analytical skills.

The core purpose of analytical skills is to inform later actions by gaining information about a problem. This process involves accessing, managing, and analyzing information and communicating findings. It requires applying the rules of logical reasoning and empirical evidence to the process.

Analytical skills can be specific to the problem you try to solve, the information you use, or the audience you address. There are analytical skills specific to finance, market research, decision-making, and data science.

Why You Need Analytical Skills

However, there are traits that apply across these domains:

  • Asking questions relevant to the problem.
  • Relying on relevant empirical evidence.
  • Using logical reasoning to generate conclusions.
  • Effectively communicating the analysis with stakeholders.

Having these ‘soft’ skills is critical regardless of your subject domain and the tools you use. It’s been true since people engaged with structured analysis.

However, the importance of technical and data-related skills recently also increased, thanks to the rising popularity of data-driven decision-making.

Analytical Skills vs. Data Analytical Skills

As organizations produce increasingly high volumes of data, the term ‘analytical skills’ became a near-synonym for data analysis skills.

However, data analysis is one area of analytics. Data analysis alone cannot substitute for being ‘analytical’; it requires the complementary skills of reasoning, observing, testing, and raising good questions.

But data analysis skills like SQL are becoming essential simply because they allow you to access, transform, and analyze data. Organizations require the analysis of large-scale complex problems, and many analytical methods require computational methods. To fulfill these requirements, you need data analysis skills.

Why You Need Analytical Skills

Being able to read, write, and calculate on paper was a strong precondition for doing analysis in the ‘pre-data’ era. Today, querying and transforming data stored in databases has become a strong requirement for analysts. For this reason, lacking fundamental data analysis skills can prevent you from using your existing ‘soft’ analytical skills.

Analytical skills occupy an important role in many positions (which often have “analyst” in their title):

  • Data analyst
  • Financial analyst
  • Business analyst
  • Operational analyst
  • Sales analyst
  • Marketing analyst
  • Research analyst

We also observe a continual increase in data availability and problem complexity, both of which require data-related skills. Companies aim to become data-driven by including data in their everyday operation and making it accessible to their employers through data democratization.

This paradigm led to the emergence of a series of data-related roles like data scientist, data engineer, analytics engineer, and machine learning engineer – all of which participate in the analytics lifecycle.

However, analytical skills are also important in many non-analyst roles (like project management and software engineering) and domain specialists positions like marketing or sales.

Self-service data analytical solutions allow a wide range of employees to access and analyze data. You do not have to be a data person to do your analysis. Some employers even require specialists or managers to be analytical and data-driven. For these reasons, analytical skills also benefit non-data and non-analytical positions.

The Benefits of Analytical Skills

Knowing analytical skills comes with many benefits. They allow you to:

  • Make decisions based on empirical evidence, not unexamined assumptions, rumors, and hunches.
  • Enhance your lines of reasoning by finding logical gaps and inconsistencies in the assumptions underlying your decisions and actions.
  • Access specific types of information and analyze it with powerful methods.

These capabilities help you do your job better. Also, they give you a higher-level view of the problems you are dealing with as well as the ability to think creatively about solutions. And this brings advantages to your career:

  • You add value to your team and organization by providing insights and opening up opportunities to improve decision-making and operations.
  • You become self-reliant and autonomous in raising questions, analyzing problems, and communicating findings. You become capable of validating assumptions within your organization and even shaping the discussion about its direction.
  • Your value on the job market increases, either moving you forward within your current career path or allowing you to pivot to a data-focused role.
  • You can expect a higher salary. According to Indeed's assessment, “An analyst can have a higher income potential than a specialist, depending on the specific job title.”

How to Gain Analytical Skills

You can benefit from analytical skills even if “analyst” is not within your job title. If you are a domain specialist, software developer, or manager, it is important to ask the right questions, do your analysis, and communicate your findings to others.

Because organizations store information about their market and operations in the form of data, you also need to have data analysis skills. If you cannot access, transform, and analyze data and if you cannot present your findings, your non-data-related analytical skills will remain untapped potential.

Analytical Skills and SQL

One of the best ways to acquire analytical skills is to learn SQL.

Why You Need Analytical Skills

Knowing SQL allows you to access and transform data and start to do analyses quickly. SQL is one of the most widely used languages for working with data; it’s also very easy for professionals and specialists without a programming background to learn. It is a versatile language with a long list of proven use cases.

The best way to learn anything is by doing it. You’ll meet many analytical challenges in your career; you can overcome them by doing lots of analytical problems in practice. SQL is an essential part of your problem-solving toolkit when it comes to data.

Also, many analytics problems are domain- and tool-specific. You can prepare for them only by exposing yourself to these problems and tools in practice. SQL is the most popular analytical tool among specialists and analysts without a coding background. It’s used in almost every possible setting, so you can be sure that learning how to query data and navigate within databases is not a wasted effort.

Attain Analytical Skills by Learning SQL

If you follow the right approach, SQL is easy to learn. Here at, we designed our courses for professionals with busy lives who want to gain skills quickly. We have taught SQL to non-technical people for years and set up training programs for multiple companies, including Uber.

SQL is a huge topic, but you can quickly learn the most important parts. Our intro-level course, SQL Basics, teaches you the fundamentals of using databases, querying and joining tables, combining query results, and writing subqueries. The 129 interactive courses give you plenty of opportunities to improve your skills and gain confidence in analyzing data with SQL.

Have you decided to give building your analytical skills a go? Then check out our learning tracks that give you a comprehensive knowledge of SQL and teach you how to create reports in your day-to-day job.