Can you tell me the name of what I want to do?
October 17, 2012 5:24 PM   Subscribe

Career question, think what I'm looking to go into is analysis, not completely sure. Metastable cubic ice crystal details in extended.

I'm working in tech support right now, however I am also the guy who does all the reports. I was originally hired to do the metrics, I do them well, I have automated them, I have given these people data on things they never thought they could measure. I currently spend about 1/8 to 1/3 of my day doing metrics, the rest fielding calls. I've automated a great deal of the process, so some days it is less than an hour, but most days they come to me asking for new information.

The weird thing is, I actually really like the reports. I like pulling coherent information from messes of data. I am a little bored right now at my job because I know the system inside and out and what takes time these days is compiling the reports, not extracting the data.

I am probably near expert level at excel, and while my macros are not pretty, they can do anything I want. I learned Business Objects inside and out on the report end, I do not know the server end, although would be happy to learn. I keep trying to get myself to learn sql, but am not that great at self-directed learning without an immediate goal beyond learning the ins and outs of a system.

I want to do reports like this. I want to analyze for efficiency, figure out where things are going right and wrong. I want to be the one to know how things really are working behind the scenes.

What type of job is this and what sorts of skills should I acquire? Are there courses I should take and what are they? Is one year of doing this and doing it well sufficient to try to get junior grade positions doing this, or is something else required?
posted by Hactar to Work & Money (6 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
A few thoughts on your post...

Once you figure out where things are going right and wrong, do you then want to change them? If so, that is going to require a lot more than analysis skills. You will either need to be a consultant to management with the power to change things or the manager yourself.

I work in high tech product development (hardware, software products for businesses). I've worked with financial analysts who pull together this kind of analysis. There is also a need for this in product marketing -- how big is the market, how many customers might buy our product, etc...

You will probably want to know your way around databases -- Oracle, SAP, whatever your company uses -- so that you can pull out the information you want to analyze.

You might want to take a look at "big data" -- seems like there's a lot going on there these days also.
posted by elmay at 5:39 PM on October 17, 2012

There is an explosion of need for this in healthcare, with clinical and administrative (claims) data. Feel free to memail me if you want.
posted by teragram at 6:24 PM on October 17, 2012 [2 favorites]

It sounds like analytics really is a good fit for you. Based on my experience though, I would say that you absolutely have to become at least moderately proficient at SQL, and preferably very highly proficient. Is there anyone that you work with, or around, that does SQL progrmming? If you can find someone in your company that is already working with it, maybe they can help mentor you, on data that you are already familiar with.
posted by mmmmbobo at 6:33 PM on October 17, 2012

I'm curious to see what other answers say, but I'll throw out some buzzwords that may be relevant to the search: business intelligence, business analytics, data analyst.
posted by hot soup at 7:42 PM on October 17, 2012

I am a System Modeller. It has similarities. I take large complicated systems and try to understand how various changes will impact them.
It involves a lot of data and a lot of trying to pull order out of chaotic data, but also quite a lot of maths and logic. So, maybe another area to look into.

Also, if you don't know any SQL and want to learn a basic level GalaxQl is a very nice little program to run through.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 1:46 AM on October 18, 2012 [3 favorites]

Are you me? Welcome to the fun world of information design and business intelligence!

The fact that you learned business objects, that ugly mass of crude that hasn't changed in 8 or so versions, is a testament to your curiousity and dedication. Our company went for 7.0 to XI 3.1 last year... NOTHING CHANGED! (@_@*)!!!!

Please take a big whiff of Edward Tufte your new grand-daddy. Pray he comes to your town! Go to his class if he does and enjoy every second you can! Take a picture and frame it good!
Then take a massive load of Stephen Few, who runs the Perceptual Edge blog and also has written several books on the information dashboard/design concept. He is an awesome possum! Get some books of his.

Then go get some Tableau Public or get your company to get some real BI and relish every living moment you get to use Tableau!

It is too late for me... our company will going to Cognos after Business Objects, "NOOOoooo..."
posted by Bodrik at 4:23 PM on October 18, 2012

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