The value of analytics education is skyrocketing – thanks to the raising need for analytics professionals to process and analyze the vast amount of digital data being generated everyday by individuals and companies. Plenty of degrees, software tool trainings, online tutorials and multi-day workshops are available out there and it can easily leave an ambitious young person wondering about the right choice. So, what should you do if you want to be the next analytics superstar?
Step 1: Identify your goal
What do you want to do with your analytics education? What roles are you going for? Do you want to be an analyst or a data scientist? Are you an entrepreneur looking to increase your analytical knowledge for better ROI measurement and management? You might be a business professional looking to leverage analytics in your day to day work flow. The first step always involves identifying the destination, so that the best path of the journey can be decided upon.
Step 2: Identify the skill gaps
Based on the goal you set for yourself in the first step, there will be a varied range of skills that will be required to leverage data effectively. For instance, if you want to pursue data analyst dream, the ability to fetch data from multiple sources and collate it is important. You need to know how to write SQL queries and should have exposure to tools such as Teradata and Oracle. Knowledge of Big Data tools like Hadoop is also useful. In addition to the above mentioned skills, you must know how to work with stakeholders through effective communication.
However, if you want to use analytical power as a business professional you need a different skill set. DTD or Data to Decision framework is one of them. You must accentuate it with hands-on experience in statistical techniques that includes profiling, trend analysis, and basic segmentation. Ability to collaborate with data scientists and analysts also helps a lot.
Step 3: Find the best training resources
Having identified the particular skills that will make you the champion of analytics, the next and the final step involves choosing the best appropriate training option. Depending on your assessment and the current level you can go for the following training options:
A degree with major in analytics: Currently, there are many universities that offer a Master’s degree in Analytics in combination with Computer Science, or Statistics. Candidates who are just starting out with analytics with no relevant quantitative background but looking for future data scientist and analyst roles should be the one opting for these degrees. Being a full time degree course, the study material is comprehensive and covers everything about analytics right from the ABCs to the complex topics.
Short-term full time courses: Universities also offer short-term courses, often under the name of continuing education. Those who are already involved in the analytics industry and people with some quantitative background who wants to augment their existing skill set should be the one taking up these courses. These courses are offered in semester or quarterly form.
Professional workshops: Many vendor and consulting firms offer online and offline analytics training. These workshops are the best option for working professionals who want a quick primer on the latest in the analytic industry. Focused on different aspects of the analytics industry, these courses are highly appropriate for business professionals who need better interpretation of available data to make better decisions. The best thing about these courses is their highly focused nature and the pedagogy. More often than not, experienced experts who are in the midst of analytics action are the one delivering the lectures. Thus, you get the inside secrets of the trade.
Self-directed learning through Online Courses: With e-learning becoming a major mode of knowledge dissipation, it doesn’t come as a surprise that there are many online analytics courses beginning to appear on various e-learning portals. While the reliability of these courses is still questionable, but with the progress of time web based courses will be the most preferred method of learning owing to enormous benefits they have over traditional classroom method.
In the end, practice due diligence and be sure to match the skills gaps with the training method chosen by you. With consistent efforts, it won’t be long before you will gain the mastery that you seek and be an analytics superstar.