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How to become a data literate professional?

Organizations are still struggling to transform despite all the data available. Data is key to unlocking business value. Businesses need to look at their growth, risk, cost, and other factors to enable employees to create the essential value needed to ‘talk’ about data and be more data-literate.


As a data literate professional, you need to be able to understand and use data effectively. To become a data literacy consultant, you need to have a good understanding of data types, data cleansing and analysis, and data visualization. You also need to be able to communicate your findings understandably.

Data literacy

Organizations feel compelled to use data within their company because they have access to a lot of data. This can give rise to valuable insights. While companies are exploring advanced analytics and the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning, they still struggle with successfully implementing solutions to day-to-day business. This is not because there are technical limitations in the data analytics field. Instead, innovation and developments happen at an incredible rate. This is due to the disconnect between data experts or analysts and business people who need to understand analysis and convert it into business intelligence, actions, and ultimately value. This gap can then be filled by further education for the organization on data as fuel, which will give insights that improve the work. Additionally, it is possible to educate the data experts on how analytics affect business. Businesses should no longer make decisions based on gut feelings. They must act upon solid data. This means that an organization needs to focus on four cornerstones in data literacy – understand, engage, analyze, and reason with data.

  • Understand

It is important to understand data before you can begin working with it. Data can be presented in many formats within an organization. These include a pie chart (bar chart), a table, or a pivot. The graph should be easily understood by the user.

  • Engage

Engaging with data requires people to know how it works and what information is in it. This includes understanding the data structure and its origins, as well as the people who are using it. These questions will help to understand the data and their context. To begin, we need to review the data definitions. Data definitions allow you to define the type and expected values of the data fields. This is closely connected to data management. Large datasets have specific definitions and characteristics that are stored in a data library. Engaging with the data definitions can help you understand it.

  • Analyze

Knowing how to analyze a data set is essential for becoming more data-literate. Understanding data is essential for starting conversations. It helps you move from creating information to creating meaningful insights and eventually concrete business actions. These insights are only possible by analyzing the data. The ability to use statistical and analytic methods to provide valuable insights is a skill that will become more important for all (business) roles in an organization.

  • Reason

Reasoning with data is a key aspect of data literacy. Understanding and analyzing data are important. But if you can’t communicate the language of data properly or reason with it in a meaningful way, misalignment will result. Communicating with data can take place verbally as well as through visuals. Visualizations are often underestimated because they can provide great support for your story or help to emphasize what you want.


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