What are the best analyst qualifications and training to get ahead?

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What is the best training for becoming an analyst? What types of ongoing training or certifications are necessary to be an effective analyst?

What do non-traditional career paths look like?

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Dustin in Charlotte, North Carolina

72 months ago

Six Sigma Green or Black Belt- Gives you a good business stats backround and improves your ability to lead teams.

CFA- Very hard to get. Requires you to have no life for 3 years, but the payback is big. Easier to just go get a masters in finance.

MBA

Statistics.com has an advance business stats certificate program.

Excel- A must. Pivot tables are probably the most used Excel function, so its a good one to learn. Good to learn Visual Basic too.

Data mining

Minitab or a similar stat program

Economic indicators- Good to understand these indicators and where to get the data. Wharton School of Management has a good book out on this. You can pit alot of this data against company specific data, which can help you understand company specific trends relative to what's happening in the economy, which can help you help your managers to plan ahead, which will make you very valuable.

History- reading history, both economic, general business, and industry specific can make you wiser than your age.

Good writing skills- understand the basics of good writing. If you’re a bad speller like me, than utilize spell check a lot! Even though writing technique is nothing and originality is everything, your peers do not think the same.

Strategy- read the Art of War and Michael Porter books. Don't do SWOT, because a 1st grader could do it and its static. Also, Henry Mintzberg's The Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning is a good book. There are a lot of strategy books out there and most of them are not worth your money. Other notable books are: Scenarios The Art of Strategic Conversations, Thinking Strategically and War and Decision. War and Decision is not a strategy book, but it gives great examples on how to strategize. Marine Corps books on leadership, strategy and tactics are good and contain a lot of wisdom.

WSJ

Talk to important and successful people. They have a wealth of knowledge.

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Dustin in Charlotte, North Carolina

72 months ago

What do non-traditional career paths look like? Analyst can either add a lot of value or take away value. If your salary gets big and you haven't moved up the latter, unless your adding tons of value, your likely to get replaced by a younger and cheaper paid analyst.

People who move to the top, either bring in a lot of cash to the organization or their involved in the production of the product. So an analyst who wants to move up in the organization should try to bring incredible insight that adds a lot of value or lower costs through ad hoc projects (This is where Six Sigma skills help).

Analyst is a fun job and if your good at what you do, you could become a Director of Research or a Senior Analyst, and the pay is great. Just make sure you add value or its off with your head. It can also lead to other middle managment jobs if you add lots of value and the right people like you.

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