How to Be a Data Analyst Without Being Good At Math?

You see descriptions of data analyst jobs and you get disappointed by your poor math skills. You adore the charm of data science and the job of data analyst really attracts you but your miserable math skills hold you back. 

What you feel like is a bicycle repair person who isn’t involved in terabyte databases, PhD-level math equations, and machine learning algorithms. 

Nevertheless, you don’t have to worry about that anymore. For the reason that you can be a good data analyst without being so good at maths. 

You must be wondering: how? 

A data analyst job merely requires high school level maths which is not difficult at all. If one knows the basics, they are good to go and become a well-rounded data analyst. There are three topics of math that are needed for this job: calculus, linear algebra, and statistics.

The good news is: one only needs to know statistics for most of the data analyst jobs. 

Now that statistics carry a major role in a data analyst’s job, let us discuss how you can become a pro data analyst with basic knowledge of statistics. 

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Statistics for Data Analysts

Aaron Levenstein, a business professor at Baruch College, says,

“Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” 

Bad news: Statistics is a domain that needs you to learn a lot. If you don’t have a powerful background in probability and statistics, you’ll have to learn enough to come to be a practicing data analyst which is going to take a large chunk of your time. 

Good news: There is not any notion in this space that’s super tough. What you need to do is invest enough time to really grasp and internalize the concepts and the basics and then evolve from there. Do you get the point? Learn the basics of statistics and you’re ready to pitch in the job post. 

Talking about calculus and linear algebra, you need to do the same. Learn the concepts and you’re ready to become a data analyst. 

Calculus and Linear Algebra for a Data Analyst Job 

People who are self-starters can learn math for data analysis by literally  “doing shit.” After I have told you about statistics, now we’re getting on to grapple linear algebra and calculus. 

The fact is if you want to learn or review the basic strategy upfront. You don’t have to read a whole textbook, you can only learn the key concepts initially.

Here are the 3 key points to understanding the math needed for becoming a data analyst

  1. Linear Algebra 

Matrix algebra and eigenvalues. If you don’t know about it, you can take lessons from some online or in-person academy. 

  1. Calculus 

For learning calculus, academies or online lessons are also provided. 

  1. Gradient Comedown from Scratch

Execute a simple neural system from scratch. For this, a shorter crash course may work too. 

Reasons Why Math is a Prerequisite for Data Analysts  

Following are the reasons why math is a prerequisite: 

  • We all know the concepts of data science are more about understanding and picking up things quickly and accurately other than any university major. With rigid math, you pick up reasoning and strategies of the subject promptly and accurately and commonly could have a simpler learning arch than most.
  • Data analysts are basically statisticians, and most of them have graduate-level proficiency in math and statistics. It’s needed for some positions in the field, and it is crucial for correctly relating to algorithms and hypothesis testing.
  • The standard tools such as logistic regression, decision trees, or confidence intervals, carries heavy math. Most employers utilize these basic tools. Due to this, hiring managers are glancing for candidates with a strong math background, primarily for ancient reasons.
  • The training for data analysts in the academy is full of math for historical purposes, assigning the professors that are required to educate stat classes to the students. 

These are the major reasons why one expects to be math savvy to get a basic data analyst job, so sticking to basic math training and standard tools functions for people eager in coming to be hardcore data analysts. 

You can simply stick to basic works. No need to rush over the maths because as we told you, hardcore math is not required. You just have to learn the basic skills and you’re good to go. 

The reason we have started the prerequisite here is to tell you that we can’t skip maths if we want to become data analysts. The entry-level data analysts to intermediate level data analysts consume less than 5% of their time performing mathematics and it’s similar for machine learning too especially when one creates a prototype, with very little time performing any math. Do you get the picture? It’s not any rocket science, just a simple basic knowledge that one needs to focus on.  

The next point of discussion is do you really need serious Math skills to become data analysts. Before digging into that, let me add below some of the top related and interesting articles that can add to what you’re learning from this one. If any of the titles picks your interest, please click and open in a new tab, so you can check them out later. Enjoy!

Is Serious Mathematical Knowledge Required for Becoming a Data Analyst?

Following are the points that answer this question: 

  • The fact is the set of strategies that encompasses all elements of machine learning, the statistical mechanism behind data science does not employ any mathematics or statistical concept beyond the high school level. 
  • Anyone can understand and learn data science very rapidly if one has a powerful background laboring with data and programming.
  • Yet there is a set of strategies formulated by hardcore mathematically trained data analysts that do not employ mathematics nor statistics.    
  • These strategies function just as nicely and some of them have been verified to be compatible with their math-heavy peers with the premium of commonly being more vigorous.
  • Moreover, these strategies are susceptible to discern and direct to easier understandings as it is founded on years of knowledge processing vast volumes of large data in automated mode.

The Bottom Line 

Peter Sondergaard, senior vice president, Gartner Research, says, 

“Information is the oil of the 21st century, and analytics is the combustion engine.” 

Even though these maths-free strategies do promote a math-free data science or ML chance. There is no way to ascertain the industry goals or hopes to give you employment as that exclusively depends on what precisely you’re performing as a data analyst and the company you labor for.

It is feasible to be a practical data analyst without prevailing a mathematical wizard, but on the basis of experience, without a specific level of substantial mathematics attempt to be a beneficial practitioner in the long term on the programs which are on the massive end. 

Hence, it’s crystal clear that no heavy math is essential to become a data analyst. You just need to be strategic and know the basic math which is taught at the high school level. That is! 

What’s the responsibility of a data analyst? 

Data analyst responsibilities comprise performing complete lifecycle analysis to incorporate provisions, activities, and methods. Data analysts will formulate analysis and recording skills. They will also survey execution and quality control strategies to specify modifications.

Do data analysts perform an IT job?  

Data analysts are professionals who interpret numbers, statistics, figures and translate them into simple English for everyone to understand. Since this job role pertains to parsing through data, evaluating it, and comprehending it, it is mainly analytical and not IT-based. 

Related: Do Data Analysts Code? (We find out!)

How can I become a data analyst after high school graduation?

Students who have upheld the high school education in the science stream are qualified to continue this course. You need to do a Bachelor of Science Degree course in Data Science and Analytics.

Here’s an interesting article about how to learn data analytics and a simple roadmap to becoming a data analyst.


Emidio Amadebai

As an IT Engineer, who is passionate about learning and sharing. I have worked and learned quite a bit from Data Engineers, Data Analysts, Business Analysts, and Key Decision Makers almost for the past 5 years. Interested in learning more about Data Science and How to leverage it for better decision-making in my business and hopefully help you do the same in yours.

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