1 – Understand your domain
Predictive analytics encompasses a variety of statistical techniques that analyze current and historical facts to make predictions about future events. Key is the ability to know what you’re looking for and where to find it. The best statistician in the world will be useless if they don’t get the context of the business. It takes exposure to your content matter to pick this up. Read as much as you can about your business and industry, stay involved in every conversation that’s even tangentially related, and be patient. Domain expertise will follow.
2 – Simplify Data Capture and Analysis – Make it easy
What differentiates good data analysts from the rest? The ability to do simple analysis quickly and easily, with minimal “friction”, so you can do more analysis faster.
- Set up “one click” access to data.
- Develop Shell scripts to drop you directly as a read-only user in your database
- Setup libraries to get your data from your database into a clean format in your preferred analysis environment
- Try to pick consistent time periods for how far back you look at data
- Memorize your database schema. At the very least, know what tables are named and generally what the relationship between them is. You’ll know what you’re able to be able to find from a database alone and you’ll save a ton of time by not doing
DESCRIBE TABLE Xall the time.
3 – Look at lots of Data
The only way to know what “normal” is when it comes to your data is to look at it, a lot. Be the most voracious consumer of new information and data that you can. Keep finding that next source of information. It doesn’t need to be for any specific investigation of the moment, but it will pay dividends down the line.