I learned programming for the first time in my undergraduate course with C++ programming. At that time, it was very attractive and lovely. It was amazing that I could write a few lines of code and execute it to get a specific result. There was never a situation where I could use programming in business analysis work. Until I met R in the Google Data Analysis Certificate Course. In this course, I learned how to use R Programming. How to analyze data, draw a graph, create a table, etc. with just a few lines of coding, all this was very interesting. Although I’m no professional in this field, I’m sure I’ll learn a lot more in the future. What is very important in programming is not just mastering the coding. Before that, the analyst should be able to design the desired algorithm to perform the desired activity. Coding is like talking to a computer in another language. Mastering that language and all its words is not enough, but you must know what you want to say. You must know how to express what you mean so that he understands. This is the analytical and logical thinking that I am good at.
One of the skills I acquired over the past years was presentation skills. The first time I had to report to the project manager in an official meeting, I was very nervous and anxious. Now that I think about that day, I see that my presentation was very simple and amateurish. Presenting has been a part of my duties and I have tried to do better in this field every day. Teaching was a very precious opportunity for me to learn different ways of presenting. I presented reports in front of different audiences. Many of them were employers and shareholders of the companies I worked for. Some were managers of government organizations to whom I had to submit reports. I can claim that I have very good skills in presenting and attracting the audience. I have always tried to learn skills such as body language and expression techniques so that I can talk with the audience with more confidence. Although I used different software, the most important tool I always used was PowerPoint. I made very good reports by it. In the Google Data Analysis Certificate Course, I got acquainted with the Tableau tool. After completing the course, I found Tableau training videos online and tried to improve my skills to work with it. Although I still have very little actual experience with this tool, I can definitely claim that I have learned how to work with it and can use it. Of course, there are many other tools that I hope to learn in the future. The characteristic of a professional analyst is that he/she should be familiar with all the tools and can use the necessary tools in any situation.
It has been more than 20 years since I first worked with Excel. I still remember my first impression of Excel. A crowded and strange environment full of small cells that I don’t know exactly what their roles are and what I should do. But now I feel that I cannot be successful without Excel and other similar spreadsheets. I learned Excel and others by myself by working with them, reading tutorials, watching training videos and asking others. Every time I learned a new ability from it, I improved several levels in my work. I analyzed various data with it. I made very attractive analytical reports. Even when I was the sales manager of a manufacturing company, I used it to create a simple management dashboard to provide sales reports. I am still learning macro to improve my skills in working with Excel. Every analyst knows that there are limitations that prevent professional analysis with spreadsheets. Reduced efficiency in very large data, complex and long formulas, etc. are some of the problems that should be accepted in the case of spreadsheets. But when I got acquainted with SQL in the Google Data Analysis Certificate Course, I realized that these weaknesses can be solved with the help of SQL. In this course, I got acquainted with functions, SQL work environment, formula writing, and other concepts and applications of SQL. I did many hands-on activities. After completing the course, I participated in another online course by the W3school to learn more in this field. Although I am at the beginning of the journey, I am sure that in the future I will laugh at my being an amateur these days.
In all the years that I have been working, I have used data analysis many times and have gained insights for formulating strategies or making decisions. But I have never worked professionally in this field. In 2022, I got acquainted with Google’s Data Analysis Certificate Course and managed to complete this course in 6 months. This comprehensive course included various topics. The 6 steps of data analysis in this course were Ask, Plan, Process, Analysis, Share, and Act. Each step taught during one course. I did many examples and hands-on activities during each course. I successfully completed the mid-term and end-of-course exams and managed to obtain the certificates of each course and the comprehensive certificate. My analytical thinking skills, which I gained from 15 years of work experience, as well as studying mathematics at the Bachelor level and industrial engineering at the Master level, came in very handy. Now I can claim that I have acquired skills in the field of data analysis. I have become interested in this field and have decided to become an expert in it. Since the Google course, I have learned other things and I have realized that there are many other things that I can learn. Analyzing data makes me feel good. I feel like a professional detective, deciphering a mystery through some numbers and raw data. The time to discover the truth and gain insight is like finding the answer to a puzzle and is very exciting.
Officially, for the first time, I faced the challenge of problem solving when I studied applied mathematics as Bachelor. I can confidently claim that I learned well how to behave when I face with a problem. In every problem, there are some logical and correct facts and propositions that must be drawn between them in order to solve the problem. I did this many times in math problems and I never imagined the day would come when this skill would be useful in a business environment. In many of my projects and work experiences, I have come across many situations where I had to provide solutions for challenges and problems. Maybe there were no numbers and mathematical expressions in many of them, but the logic of both was the same. There are facts and realities when dealing with business problems. Shareholders’ needs, market trends, sales performance, market share, competitors’ performance, production rate, etc., all express assumptions and realities. The art of an analyst is to be able to create a correct and logical connection between these logical propositions in order to solve the problem. Maybe in some situations, the issues become more complicated, but with a systematic approach, a solution can be found for every problem. In various situations, problem solving skills have come to my aid and I have been able to propose significant innovative solutions to solve problems.
Strategic thinking is a familiar term for all those who have experience in business analysis, strategic planning and management. Therefore, the concept of strategic thinking is not the subject of this text. I want to tell about my ability to think strategically. About 15 years ago, I got acquainted with the concepts of strategic management in university. From that day, I felt that I had a special interest in this field. After a year, I got a job where my job was as an assistant analyst for business analyst and my job was to analyze the gold jewelry manufacturing industry of Isfahan(Iran). It was then that I used all my knowledge to formulate the best plan. This project was the beginning of my entry into the practical field of business analysis. I used various models and methods such as SWOT, Value Chain Analysis, PESTEL, Porter 5F, etc. in various projects and over many years. I worked in different industries and businesses and gained more experience every year. I applied my knowledge and experience in strategic management classes and tried to convey the real concept of strategic management to students. My most important achievement from all these years was to change my thinking. After all these years and going through different experiences, I learned that I have to think strategically at every moment and in every situation. For every decision, the factors affecting it and the results of the decision must be carefully analyzed. In any situation, I should not neglect the goal and vision. In any situation, I should focus on long-term goals, not short-term gains. With this thinking, strategic planning is not only effective in the business world, but also in personal life. In this way, I will definitely come across these phrases:
• A bad decision could have been made here, and I made a good decision.
• Bad things could happen and not happen.
• These resources could have been used less, but now they are allocated in the best way.
The peak of my enjoyment of strategic thinking was when I came across the book “Strategy for You” by Rich Horwath. This book was very interesting and had a great impact on improving strategic thinking in all stages of my life. I translated this book into Farsi with the help of one of my friends so that others can benefit from it.
In data analysis, the analyst must first of all be able to use the best approach in data analysis by depicting all factors affecting business, considering long-term goals and analyzing the effects of decisions. With this method, it can extract deep strategic insights from raw data that meet the needs of all stakeholders.