Data analysts are positions that companies are increasingly adding to the workforce in an effort to better understand the information they have on their own business and the customer base that they serve. Given the insight that a data analyst can potentially give to a company, it has the capacity to be an extremely important position. However, you may be wondering if you are considering getting a job whether being a data analyst is a stressful position.
Data analyst positions can be quite stressful in many cases, however, the degree to which this occurs does depend significantly upon the culture of the company and how it is going financially at a given time. In industries where companies are not experiencing the growth that they would prefer there is increased pressure upon these positions.
One of the reasons for this is that data analysts can be critical in identifying trends within the business which will allow action to be taken. In periods where the growth is not at the level the company would like, the first place management is going to go is to the data analyst position to see what is actually going on in the company and what can be done to reverse this trend. In these periods stress levels are likely to be high.
Are There Certain Types Of Companies That Will Be More Stressful Than Others?
When looking at prospective employers there are certain signs you can look for in terms of whether the company is likely to be an extremely high-pressure company. The most significant factor of this is the ownership of the company. Within this area there are a couple of significant factors.
The first one of these factors is the nationality of the ownership of the company. Is it an American company or is it a European company or something else? In my personal experience what I have found is that American companies tend to be generally higher-pressure companies compared to European companies which tend to take a more measured approach toward most things.
I have personally worked for five separate companies, one French, one British, one German and two American companies. Generally what I found is that American companies tend to be much more aggressive in their growth targets and therefore apply greater pressure to their employees generally.
The other significant factor is the nature of the ownership. Public companies generally tend to think in much longer-term time frames than other types of ownership. An example of this is venture capitalists which is where private equity firms purchase companies and then seek to maximize their size by bolting other smaller companies on and then reducing costs to maximize profit in preparation for a sale typically in the timeframe of 5 to 7 years.
To achieve these outcomes venture capitalists will often cut costs to an unsustainable level in order to achieve a short-term peak in the profitability of the company for the purposes of a sale. In the circumstances, the level of pressure that is applied to staff is relatively high.
The third significant factor is the industry in which the company is in. Generally, companies that are in relatively competitive commoditized industries that are often depressed and have limited growth will be more stressful to work in simply because accompanies are constantly under pressure to maintain profit levels.
Why Become A Data Analyst?
Given the levels of pressure described above the question then becomes why would you want to become a data analyst at all. Is it really worth it? The reality is that no matter what type of job you get there is going to be pressure. The level of pressure as mentioned above does depend on the type of company.
However, I personally think that being a data analyst is a very interesting job because you become central to the decision-making processes that occurs within the company and as a result of this have a unique understanding of how the companies work. As a result of this, these positions are excellent ways to give yourself an opportunity to advance within an organization particularly when you couple data analysis skills with another type of profession such as accounting, engineering, or chemistry,
If you have an inherent understanding of the cost drivers of a company and also understand the technical aspects of what they do it is likely that you will become extremely valuable to the company. This skill set will often lead to you being an obvious choice to move up into management positions.
Additionally, the skills associated with being a data analyst are readily transferable to an enormous range of industries which means that you will have the capacity to change from one company to the next as required relatively easily compared to other professions. So even if the position that you currently have is highly stressful there is always an opportunity to get another position at another company.
How To Manage High Levels Of Stress Within A Data Analyst’s Position?
Stress in most positions is created primarily because the demands of the position outstrip your capacity to complete them which is pretty much standard practice for most positions these days. However, where the pressure becomes extreme is in cases where the tasks are all critical and demand for these services is coming from many places. So what can you do to actually combat this?
The key to managing high levels of workload is to ensure that you progressively build up structures that allow you to automate many of the common tasks that you are likely to be asked to do as this will allow you to reduce the number of tasks you have to deal with at any one time.
The most opportune time you will ever have to put many of these systems in place is right at the start of when you take on the position. At this point in time, the expectations of you in most cases should be lower than what they otherwise will be once you become more experienced in the position.
This affords the opportunity to identify the areas that can be automated and progressively develop systems to manage these tasks. However, in the longer term, it is unlikely that you will be able to automate everything but ideally, you should be focusing on having a little project on the side to automate more and more of your job as you go along which will increase efficiency over time and ultimately reduce the stress levels associated with the job.