"Change is the only constant" has never seemed more accurate than now.
The dynamics of how businesses are running are changing with every passing year. Those businesses which are not adapting to the latest technologies are going to get obsolete soon. The same goes for the employees within those businesses.
Those days are gone when you can just complete your formal degree, start a career and then work in the same environment until you retire. Markets are now more competitive than ever.
In this article, we are going to talk about some of the tools and technologies which will help you give an edge over the competition.
Excel is the most basic yet the most essential tool on this list. I am pretty sure everyone is familiar with the name but how good are you at using it will make a difference in your career. It is one of the most widely used software programs in the world, particularly in terms of business software.
Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet program that can help you with:
Organizing data in easy to navigate way.
Performing basic and complex mathematical functions.
Turning loads of data into helpful graphics and charts.
Analyzing and storing data in an organized manner.
Easily automating the standard and repetitive tasks using excel macros.
Managing and manipulating huge amounts of data using pivots and formulas.
Structured Query Language (SQL)
In today's world of ever-increasing data availability, volume, and variety, the most important challenge is to manage, manipulate, retrieve and use the data. Database management is a complicated process, which has been considerably simplified by the SQL programming language. It includes database creation, deletion, fetching, modifying, etc.
SQL is a computer language for storing, manipulating, and retrieving data stored in a relational databases. Although in finance industry you will not be required to create or modify databases but SQL is extensively used in retrieving and manipulating data according the need of the user.
Most of the people consider SQL as a complicated tool to use as it requires writing queries and providing command to the database. But this is not the case. Here are a few frequently used SQL commands you should be familiar with for database work and can see how easy they are to understand and use:
CREATE DATABASE – to create a database.
CREATE TABLE – to create tables.
SELECT – to find/extract some data from a database.
UPDATE – make adjustments and edit data.
DELETE – to delete some data.
MS Excel and SQL both are very essential tools in their own genre. Personally as a risk analyst, I can't finish my day without fiddling with some data on Excel or SQL. But both of them have their own limitations.
At first glance, Excel seems like a perfect data analysis tool. In managing limited data, excel is definitely a "Go-to" application but it has its own limitations with managing large volume of data. Pivots start taking a lot of time when dealing with huge data sets.
Whereas in SQL, you can just retrieve and use the available data from the databases but if you need to perform any further analysis on that data then you'll need another tool for that. SQL cannot do that on its own. One way of doing that is to export that data on excel but again excel has its own above mentioned limitations.
So here Python comes in the picture. Due to large variety of usage, python is becoming one of the most popular programming language among financial institutions.
If you look at the hiring markets, demand for candidates with the understanding of Python is increasing day by day.
Python as an analytical tool is widely used in finance, it can process and analyse large data sets. Libraries like pandas simplify the process of data visualization and allow carrying out sophisticated statistical calculations. Python has clear programming syntax and an amazing ecosystem of tools which makes it pretty useful in any financial services.
Today understanding and managing data is the most important task for any organisation. The volume of data is constantly increasing and to extract knowledge and insights from those structured and unstructured data is a day to day activity for every organisation.
Demand for data scientists and data analytics is increasing exponentially. All these tools mentioned above are very useful in managing data and a "must to know" to grow you careers.
Some other technologies such as Tableau, Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning are also growing their share in the marketplace.