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Interpersonal Skills for an Analytics Professional

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Interpersonal Skills for an Analytics Professional

As part of my MS in Analytics program, I had an opportunity to discuss about the need of interpersonal skills for analytics professionals. I thought of sharing this discussion with sas community.


Per Anonymous 2 (2014), Strong technical skills are a given for a data science professional without which it is hard to function. The soft skills are a necessity when insights will move from “the back room to the board room or from “E-suite (employee suite) to C-suite (Chief Suite)”.


Figure 1: Results from a flash survey


Figure 1 shows the flash survey results on communication skills as reflected by analytics professionals. Over half of those surveyed think that their communication skills are strong and only <1% think that their communication skills could be better. After all we are data professionals and we all feel good about ourselves and our communication skills. There is nothing wrong with that. The equation changes quite rapidly when others view/review how we communicate / collaborate.


In a business setting, none of the roles work in a vacuum. The better the listening, written, and verbal communication skills of a data professional, the better his/her chances of getting the ear of C suite or leadership teams.


Value of Interpersonal Skills for Employers:


Per Anonymous 1 (2014), a data science professional must be able to relate to the audience be they leadership, technical or non-technical teams. As data professionals receive inputs from business and provide the result of their work to be used by business, it is only natural that business leadership expects their data analytics teams to be great communicators and influencers. This can happen, if data science team is willing to communicate effectively, collaborate, listen, be a part of the business and understand the business needs through communication and collaboration with different functional aspects of business.


The other critical aspect is to have personal rapport with the business teams by going to team building events or participate in team events where one has an opportunity to mingle with other teams from business. Per Kempe (2013), as communication skills can be learned, it is critical to pay attention to business needs, improve listening skills, and improve intellectual curiosity to be more effective on a continual basis.




Kempe, Shannon (2013) How Data Scientists Can Improve Communication Skills


Anonymous 1(2014) The must-have skills you need to become a data scientist


Anonymous 2(2014) Flash Survey: How do quants rank their communication skills


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