Join Robin Hunt for an in-depth discussion in this video Common mistakes, part of Learning Data Analytics.
- Let's take a look at some of the common mistakes a beginner might make. First of all, don't suggest that we'll do this or won't do that if you haven't seen it yet. I would say if all things are equal, we should be able to do some decent reporting. But don't just assume that it's easy, wait until you've seen it to make the final decision. Not asking enough questions is one of the biggest mistakes a beginner will make. Also be aware of the fact that sometimes you are the only person who understands your question, you may need to find another way to ask it.
Failing to understand record counts and their importance also is a huge mistake to make and often found in beginners. Always check your record count, for example, if your report shows 160 employees and you only have 80, you know you have an issue. These issues can affect the mathematical outcomes as well. I don't know if this is a personal opinion or a mistake a beginner makes, but believing that building pivots is a next-level thing is really not good for an analyst.
Any analyst should be able to look at any data set and build a pivot on it, it's a fundamental skill. Failing to create a data dictionary if one doesn't exist. Of course we would love to have the brain of the developer the minute we started the job, but that doesn't always happen and if they didn't leave a data dictionary behind, that doesn't mean that one doesn't need to exist, it just means you're left with creating it. Don't fail to create a data dictionary. Be careful not to assume what the data means, the decision makers might have an entirely different perspective.
Just work with data as data. Also don't make your calculations harder to use. Sometimes we put them in hard to reach spots, so you want them to keep as close to the source or the raw data as possible. Another common mistake a beginner will make is not learning enough about joins. If you don't know about joins, you can't understand the positive impact or the negative impact to not understanding them. We all make mistakes when we are learning, just keep double-checking and rechecking until you're fully confident.
Remember, people are making decisions on what you report.