Getting asked for Advice on being a Data Analyst

I got a message on LinkedIn from a former colleague of my from Arizona Priority Care asking me:

Wanted to pick your brain on something. what do you think the outlook is for a data analyst? Debating a masters program in that and covers a few things but also includes certifications in SAS. Trying to decide if that will “pay off” in the long run or if I should explore different disciplines.

This was a really good question and I thought about it a bit. My response was:

I think Data Analysis (or Data Science, or Analytics) are all going to play a huge role in business going forward and that it would be a smart move to get a masters degree in one of those. I would avoid any certification programs though, just because they can be less rigorous and don’t seem to have the same weight as a full degree.

SAS is an interesting language, but I’d investigate what companies use SAS and make sure that you’d like to work for them (or in the industry). Many companies are turning towards open source Data Analytics tools (like R and Python). But in general, don’t get too hung up on the tool (SAS, Python, R) but really understand what you’re doing with them. Why would I choose this Standard Regression over Two Stage Least Squares. When do I wan to use a Logistics regression model and why. What does the output tell me, and what is it missing.

Developing that understanding will allow you to really standout.

Good luck with your decision. Let me know which direction you decide to go in,



I hope that I was able to help my former colleague and was super happy that he reached out to me.

I wanted to write this into a more public form just in case in helps someone, or just in case I look back on it at some point and it helps me.