Why the time is ripe for a career in Data Analytics: Skills needed, job roles and how it can make industry-ready

Sarita Digumarti is the Chief Learning Officer at UNext Learning. She is responsible for academics, content and delivery for online degrees, certifications and enterprise (B2B) programmes at UNext. Prior to assuming her current role in UNext Learning, she was the COO and Co-founder of Jigsaw Academy. She also worked as a Group Manager for 5 years and as an AVP for 1 year in Genpact LLC and with GE Capital International Services as an Assistant Manager for 8 months in Bangalore. She holds an M.B.A. in Finance from T.A. Pai Management Institute and a Master in Arts, Quantitative Economics from Tufts University.

We all know that the lion is considered the King of the Jungle. This is because the lion is on top of its game. Imagine if you could be on top of the game in the Data jungle!

Data is everywhere and has slowly seeped into every facet of our lives and work in today’s world. According to Statista, global data generation is predicted to grow over 180 zettabytes by 2025. Companies cannot afford to miss anything crucial by not collecting and storing it. This is why Data Analytics is at the forefront of businesses across industries. It has become pivotal because it aids in improving business, decision making, and providing the most competitive advantage. And needless to say, there exist a plethora of opportunities for professionals who possess expertise in Data Analytics.

Why This Is The Right Time For A Career In Data Analytics?
Proficient Data Analytics professionals are in high demand as organizations seek ways to harness the power of Big Data. In the aftermath of the Great Shuffle and India’s employment crisis, the need for skilling and upskilling has reached skyrocketing heights, with an increasing number of recruiters looking for skilled professionals. According to the recent Monster.com report, in 2022, 96% of businesses plan to hire new employees with relevant skills to fill future Aig Data Analytics-related roles. It will most likely be the most sought-after position in 2022.

Having said that, Data Analytics is not only the most in-demand job in today’s market, it is also a profile that offers lucrative packages. According to PayScale.com’s survey, an early career Data Analyst with 0-4 years of experience earns INR 4 lakhs to 7 lakhs annually, while a mid-career Data Analyst with 5-7  years of experience can earn up to INR 8 lakhs to INR 10 lakhs annually. And this number goes on increasing with years of experience in the domain.

Sounds interesting? Let’s dive into the skills you’ll need to master and the diverse roles you can explore in the Data Analytics domain.

Skills Required For A Job In Data Analytics

Programming Skills

Having a solid command over Programming Languages, such as Python or R, along with Database Querying Languages, like SQL for Data Analytics, will give you a competitive edge when showcasing the value you can bring to the table to potential employers.

Data Visualization

It is critical to visualize and communicate data, especially in companies where Data Analytics professionals are considered the people who assist others in making data-driven decisions.

Business Detail-oriented Skills
In addition to handling complex data, Data Analytics professionals should also understand how their recommendations will affect a company’s bottom line and help enhance business processes and strategies.

Communication Skills

The capability to articulate how insights can help them increase revenue for the business is a must for Data Analytics professionals.

Top Roles To Explore In The Data Analytics Space

Data Analyst
As the job title suggests, Data Analysts precisely do the same – they analyze the company and industry data to identify opportunities. They can be found in any sector, though their job titles may vary. (Some jobs will have industry-specific titles, such as Healthcare Data Analyst)

Data Scientist

While Data Scientists perform the same tasks as Data Analysts, like collecting and analyzing data and communicating actionable insights, they are often a technical step above them. They are responsible for understanding Data from a more informed standpoint and using it to make predictions.

Business Intelligence Analyst

The primary task of a Business Intelligence (BI) Analyst is to find patterns and value in the organization and industry data. They must be capable of analyzing data, working with SQL, and performing data visualization and modeling.

Apart from these three roles, you can also venture into other career opportunities in this domain like Data Engineer, Quantitative Analyst, Data Analytics Consultant, and more.

While the figures in this article represent the state of career growth in Data Analytics in India, there are opportunities for Data Analytics professionals worldwide. Whether your goal is to get a full-time job in a new industry, advance in your current career, or work for yourself in this booming field, pursuing a certification course will help you get there.

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How Can End-To-End Assessment Solutions Help to Streamline the Virtual Hiring Process & Prepare for the Next Recruitment Cycle?

Sujatha Kumaraswamy is the Chief Executive Officer of MeritTrac – a UNext company. She has 21 years of experience in incubating and running new businesses and functions across multiple divisions. Ms. Kumaraswamy’s wide range of experience in managing global, large-scale teams in various sectors has led her in multiple strategic imperatives across different revenue groups. Her focus is on setting the long-term goals, strategies, plans and policies of MeritTrac, with a strong focus on its execution.

During the pandemic, organisations struggled to meet the obstacles that were thrown at them. The workforce shift that was taking place intensified. The concept of working from home has long been discussed, but it is now a reality for smooth business continuity amid disruption. Companies have shifted to virtual campus hiring techniques such as video interviews, digital assignments, and induction via online modalities. However, there were also business difficulties and shifting employee priorities. Workloads grew, but there was growing talent shortage.

Companies were eager to hire and restructure their workforce soon after the second wave ended. Talent acquisition was on the upswing, and this time human capital management was changing. The economy has been going forward since then and the job market has rebounded well, resulting in increased pressure and demand for efficiency from the recruiters. The recruiting sector is one of the few that implemented innovative technologies to improve efficiency, processing, and overall functioning amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, there are challenges that must be addressed in order to optimise this shift. With more applications, the need for more resources increases, as does the need to improve the operation of individual departments to optimise the cycle. Recruiters and employers are under intense pressure to immediately adapt to the new virtual system’s issues. They are having problems evaluating and recruiting a big number of qualified applicants, especially when processes must be run manually. Many businesses struggle to create well-structured, effective recruitment processes. Stakeholders may face difficulties in ensuring effective, data-driven, and optimised recruiting and staff development programmes. Since the pandemic, recruiters have faced an increased demand in hiring activities and higher candidate expectations, giving rise to the need for an end-to-end recruitment plan.

End-to-end assessment solution for effective hiring

End-to-end recruiting involves six main stages – preparing, sourcing, screening, selecting, hiring, and onboarding. With businesses and organisations globally being forced to work remotely due to the ongoing pandemic, the need for an end-to-end solution for effective hiring is being widely accepted.

Data-driven recruitment: The key to resolving all the challenges faced by the recruitment sector is an end-to-end data-driven approach to recruitment. End-to-end assessment solutions with the help of AI can improve the efficiency and outcome of hiring operations.

Bias-free, high-quality results: By fostering objectivity in the decision-making process, employers can rely on algorithm-based predictions to eliminate bias and produce more consistent, high-quality results.

Futuristic assessment solutions: With technological advancements, there are tools available to improve key recruiting metrics. The automation and algorithm will help reduce time and many manual efforts. Going forward, talent acquisition and onboarding new staff will be a seamless process. To stay up to date, attract and retain top candidates, HR teams must incorporate or adopt new assessment solutions for their operations and applications.

Better RoI: Organisations need to invest in end-to-end assessment solutions once. Later, the system will administer both small and mass-scale hiring. The return of investment in hiring the right employees is unquestionable. The selection of the right applicant tracking system can solve many of the recruiting challenges and help streamline the recruiting process.

Lower attrition rate & better productivity: In the long run, in addition to supporting and planning the next hiring cycle, end-to-end assessments will help retain existing personnel by substantially decreasing their workload and making the hiring experience more gratifying. Another outstanding feature is its capacity to forecast problems and provide relevant solutions to teams. This improves an organisation’s appeal to both clients and employees. Recruiters can ensure better quality prospects and increased productivity for existing and new clients by tracking employee performance and potential.

Bottom line

What has been missing, is a single modular assessment ecosystem capable of bringing together the many components of the hiring process into a uniform platform that provides holistic, end-to-end assessment solutions. Investing in a next-generation digital assessment revolution will assist organisations in developing strong workforces, improving decision-making processes, and playing an important part in the formation of new businesses.

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A career in sales strategy

Irrespective of the domain, industry, and enterprise, the fact that Sales is the force that is single-handedly responsible for propelling businesses forward, is undeniable. With the pandemic irrevocably changing the landscape of human interactions, it has never been more prudent to explore the different Sales methodologies to keep the businesses up and running. Today, emerging technologies are at the forefront of this digital revolution in the Sales domain. It brings newer and more reliable methods to identify, target, convert, and close sales.

Why is now the best time for a career in sales strategy? With experience in sales, a dependable repetitive process is often designed that occurs daily, weekly, or monthly that is ascertained to yield success. However, Sales Strategy, or Strategic Sales Management, on the other hand, requires you to handle a wide variety of tasks. Your responsibilities can vary from thoroughly analyzing the numbers to conceiving a success formula to cross-departmental meetings that will be crucial to elevating the sales numbers.

Being a Sales Strategist, one can quickly gather knowledge about the various aspects of how sales, on the whole, contributes to the growth of a business. With physical interactions becoming increasingly scarce, now is the best time to develop competencies in Strategic Sales Management and successfully chart out a career in the same.

1. Adopting emerging technologies like predictive analytics
Zoho predicted that only 33% of sales teams use Data Analysis to prioritize leads. Effective use of data can do wonders for sales strategies. As customer interactions occur daily, it’s easy to collect data regarding customers, sales patterns, product experience feedback, etc. Analyzing the same can be a game-changer for predicting, preparing, and implementing effective sales strategies.

2. Impeccable communication skills
According to a report by Leadsquared, when discussing with salespeople their everyday challenges, 34.48% of them said communication is the biggest challenge, & the inability to understand customers’ sentiments (during one-on-one interactions) was a huge concern. Building sustainable relationships are the key to making a successful sale. It is necessary for the customer to clearly understand how the product/service is beneficial to them. Therefore, strong communication skills play a vital role in being able to converse confidently with the customers and convey the same to them.

3. Customer empathy
A respectable organization will never try to sell something they don’t need to a customer. There is always a solid inbuilt ethic about not scamming customers out of their money or cold calling them without personalization.
A report by PWC states that 32% of customers claim they’d walk away from a brand they love after just one negative experience. Identifying and empathizing with customers is imperative to become an integral part of a dynamic sales team.

4. Identifying competition
Like a football game, observing the competition and predicting their moves is crucial to score in sales. A successful Strategic Digital Sales Professional must recognize the unique selling points of their product or service compared to the competitors. They must strategize newer ways of staying ahead of the curve and protecting the business interests.

5. Digital sales strategies
Digital sales are the new age approach and necessity of the Sales domain. According to a report by Forbes,91 percent of buyers report they are more likely to shop with brands that engage with them. Incorporating various digital tools like personalized emails, messages, WhatsApp texts, etc., can bring in an immense amount of customer interest into the brand.
These creative collaterals can be leveraged to capture the potential customers’ attention immediately after marketing and branding events, increasing the sales conversion rates.

Different job roles and responsibilities in sales strategy
♦ Sales associate
An entry-level sales representative or a Sales associate works on the ground level. They will be responsible for direct selling and must possess excellent communication skills.
♦ Team leader
A Sales Associate who showcases outstanding performance with great vision easily and quickly transitions into a Team Leader position. The responsibilities here include individual performance and scaling up the team’s performance to achieve the charted-out target.
♦ Regional manager/ Branch manager The position of a Regional Manager or a Branch Manager can vary based on the organization’s size. The people in this position are directly responsible for recruiting salespeople, deciding individual compensation, and regularly training their employees to increase their effectiveness with the customers.
♦ Executive leader The Executive level usually includes the likes of Director of Sales, Vice President of Sales, etc. They are responsible for strategizing the organization’s vision and mission into profitable initiatives. Providing guidance, setting organizational goals, and ensuring every valuable initiative is successfully completed form an integral part of their responsibilities.


As times change, so does the approach to a problem. When the pandemic challenged the existing Sales methodologies, the approach to the sales domain was altered drastically, giving rise to new trends and techniques. Being able to adapt to the same is of utmost importance to charter out a thriving career in Strategic Sales Management.
(The author is Vice President – B2C Sales at UNext Learning)

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EdTech Is Essential To The Aspirations Of People In Tier I To III Cities

Sarita Digumarti is the Chief Learning Officer at UNext Learning. She is responsible for academics, content, and delivery for online degrees, certifications, and enterprise (B2B) programmes at UNext. Prior to assuming her current role in UNext Learning, she was the COO and Co-founder of Jigsaw Academy. She holds an M.B.A. in Finance from T.A. Pai Management Institute and a Master in Arts, Quantitative Economics from Tufts University.

Historically, learners migrate to big cities to pursue higher education degrees due to the possible unavailability of quality education in their regions. To some extent, distance/correspondence education tried to take education to individual households but could not achieve its goal altogether. The advent of digital technologies enabled digital learning, which proved to be very useful during the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, learning from home or remote learning has become an integral part of education – from kindergarten to research studies.

Globally, education technology flourished as an independent sector during the last two years, thanks to pandemic-induced online education. Incorporating various technologies and tapping new segments, the sector registered a massive growth in these tiring years. With EdTech solutions, institutions could continue their academics by providing quality education to their students, who were distributed across regions during the lockdown.

The increasing internet userbase, expansion of high-speed connectivity, and changing consumer behaviour support the growth of the EdTech industry. As per an estimate by a global market research firm, the EdTech market was valued at USD 254.80 billion in 2021 and forecasted to be USD 605.40 billion by 2027 at a CAGR of 15.52%. The Indian market also witnessed exponential growth. According to Statista, the Indian EdTech industry is valued at USD 2.8 billion and will reach USD 10.4 billion by 2025.

More and more people from tier-2 and tier-3 cities, and rural areas are using digital technologies such as smartphones, e-wallets, digital payment systems etc, and have started exploring the possibilities of learning from top institutions. The smaller towns and villages contain a large youth population, who are eager to acquire degrees or similar qualifications or skills to secure lucrative jobs. The focus of EdTech companies has now turned to providing quality education to these people. They’re unleashing a host of innovations and features to adopt these segments.

EdTech to fulfill aspirations

Let’s find how EdTech is fulfilling the aspirations of people from lower-tier cities and towns:

  • Learn from top institutions: Top-ranked higher education institutions in countries like India are in metropolitan cities. For example, IITs in Delhi, Bombay and Madras, IISc Bangalore, and several other public and private HEIs are in metropolitan cities. Though the Indian government attempted to establish premier institutions in tier-2 and tier-3 cities, a large section of students is from big cities. On the other hand, EdTech companies are trying to take education from top institutions to the fingertips of each learner, irrespective of their location.
  • Affordable education: Online education reduces the cost of education. Education cost puts off the higher education dreams of many brilliant students, especially those outside tier-1 cities. Students are often unable to spend the required money on accommodation, food, travel, and other allied requirements, besides course/tuition fees. In online education, students need to pay only course/tuition fees, that too often lesser than an offline course. Several EdTech companies offer scholarships, stipends, and no-cost EMIs.
  • Study on the go: The major feature of EdTech solutions is high convenience and flexibility to learners. Since all the learning activities are conducted through a learning management system (LMS), learners can access the course content and attempt the assessments and tests at their convenient time. Even working professionals can study without altering their work schedules. EdTech entities focus on developing their LMS compatibility with low bandwidth of internet, thus enabling anytime, anywhere learning.
  • A sense of security: Families in 3rd and 4th rung cities and villages are reluctant to send their children, especially girls, to far-away cities due to security concerns. This remains a key concern for rural women’s literacy. Since EdTech companies facilitate education from the comfort of their homes, parents from lower-tier cities find online learning as the safest mode of education. It enables more students- both female and male- to continue their education without relocating from their homes. Married women and new moms also find it feasible to achieve their dreams through this mode.
  • Outcome-based approach: Along with delivering the best content, the EdTech approach is towards the outcome of the courses, which includes improving the productivity of the learners by enabling future-oriented employability skills. Moreover, online courses are designed with industry inputs. EdTech platforms employ individuals with high practical experience as faculty and course coordinators. Regular interaction with industry experts and leaders is provided to learners. All these help students acquire up-to-date industry insights and build and expand their professional networks to succeed in the future workplace.
  • Higher employment opportunities: Almost all the e-learning providers prepare the learners to become job-ready with required skill sets and offer career assistance or placement support upon successful completion of the course. This EdTech approach enables students from any location to find a suitable job and remain relevant throughout their professional life. Unemployment among the graduates is very high, especially among the rural graduates. A 2017 All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) study found that over 60% of engineering graduates remain unemployed every year. Employers report skill deficiency among graduates. Incorporating industry inputs and focusing on the employability of students will improve employment prospects.

Conclusion

The boom of online education and the EdTech industry is inevitable amid the advancement of digital technology. Countries like ours realised its potential at the initial stage and facilitated EdTech growth with supportive policies. Acknowledging online education as a vital mode of education, the New Education Policy (NEP) 2020 emphasised its significance in improving the gross enrolment ratio (GER) in education, specifically in higher education. By expanding its operations to new geographies, EdTech companies can help the nation achieve a higher GER in the coming years.

In sum, the prospects of EdTech industries to meet the educational aspiration of learners in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th tier cities and villages are very high. We will witness its full potential in the coming years.

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