With the new year upon us and new opportunities at hand, it’s time to get your head in the game. There’s a business intelligence all-star in us all. Whether you’re new to the business intelligence league, have recently been transferred to a new team, or are just looking to up your data game, here are some strategies that can help.
Practice Like You Play
While practice might not always make perfect, it helps you get a little closer in your continuous pursuit. Natural talent can only take you so far, making practice essential to developing skills and gaining experience. Try taking on an additional practice project dedicated to advancing your technical skills. This will ensure your improvement over time and allow you to experiment outside of the common workplace parameters of traditional methods and time constraints.
You should begin by picking out your “play data.” However, it’s important to note that this shouldn’t be just any old data. Find data related to something that interests you, take inspiration from any personal hobbies you may have. This could range from anything such as your music listening activity, your local weather data, or even your fantasy football league.
Practicing your skills with data you have a personal invested interest in will give you the opportunity to play and experiment with new techniques. This will also increase your chances of continuing these development efforts. These projects are also a great way to demonstrate your curiosity when it comes to data, which can be key when looking to get drafted by another organization.
If you’re stuck on sparking an initial idea, try researching open-source data and see if anything catches your eye. Resources like the Registry of Open Data on AWS or the U.S. government’s open data library are great places to start.
You can also see Inzata’s guide on Where to Get Free Public Datasets for Data Analytics Experimentation.
Learn From the Pros
Regardless of how much time you’ve spent in the league so far, there will always be more to learn from those around you. Taking the student approach or possessing the rookie mindset is vital to continuous learning.
Start by looking to those who have demonstrated success in their field. This can be anyone from the higher-ups within your organization to an industry influencer. You can develop these connections by asking an executive to lunch or joining various discussion forums and networking groups.
Additionally, try attending as many training’s, webinars, and conferences as you can. These virtual events are more accessible than ever due to the recent widespread transition to remote work, giving you access to thought leaders across the globe.
There is also an abundance of available content online such as books and online courses. These resources will give you instant access to decades of industry experience and valuable lessons learned through hands-on accounts.
What’s Your Next Home Run?
Your batting average when it comes to tasks and projects is crucial to long term success. You might get lucky every once in a while if you’re aimlessly swinging for the fences. It’s important, though, to make sure you are establishing attainable goals for yourself. You can think of these goals as the next home run you’re looking to hit. Having a clear vision of professional milestones will help guide you in the right direction and ultimately increase your chances of achievement.
Studies show that you’re 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you simply write them down.
One strategy that will improve your batting average is to determine SMART goals for yourself in terms of your role and what you’d like to achieve. Now, these goals aren’t just smart in the traditional sense of the word.
SMART is an acronym for:
- Specific – Make your goals clear and concise. Don’t leave any room for ambiguity or confusion, these goals should be as specific as possible.
- Measurable – Evaluation is essential. You need to be able to measure your advancement towards your goal through metrics or other methods. How will you measure your progress? What metrics or evidence will you track in order to assess your efforts?
- Achievable – Make sure you aren’t setting goals outside of your reach. While these goals should be challenging, it’s important to remain within the realm of attainability.
- Relevant – Your goals should be tied to the broader goals of your organization and what your department is trying to achieve.
- Time-Based – Setting a timeline will help you manage your time and implement a sense of urgency into your efforts.
This strategy is effective in that it sets up clear and measurable targets, increasing your chances of knocking a project or metric out of the park.
Your goals should be challenging enough so that you won’t be able to hit one every game and it’s by no means comparable to winning your organization’s world series, but it’s a small win helping to mark your development as a player.
Around the Bases
Overall, this post demonstrates the many tactics and resources available at anyone’s disposal to immediately up your data game. Finding the BI all-star in you ultimately comes down to how you’re investing in yourself. Improvement is a slow and steady process, make the most of the knowledge around you and experiment with what interests you. Implement these tips and strategies to start your journey to the hall of fame!