I know when I was struggling with math in school I would often ask the question ‘When will I ever use this’?
My frustrated math teacher would almost always respond with ‘Everything is math, everybody needs to know it’.’
Now, you can argue all day about the utility of learning number theory or other abstract mathematical concepts, but it’s hard to imagine surviving the modern age without at least basic arithmetic. In the same way the information age practically requires basic knowledge of computers. As businesses become increasingly more data driven analytics is quickly becoming a skill set that everybody needs to thrive in the modern workplace.
Everything in the modern age can be boiled down to data, and you could make the case that everybody needs to know data. Does everybody need to be an expert? No, in the same way that not everybody needs to take calculus, I can get by with basic algebra just fine thank you. But if you know just the basics of data analytics you will have a fantastic advantage in your workplace and future career.
But don’t take my word for it. Let’s take a look at the data supporting the explosive growth of data analytics.
- In 2014 IDG found that 70% of enterprise companies had implemented or were planning to implement big data related projects and that number continues to grow
- According to Linkedin the #2 skill recruiters will be looking for in 2016 is statistical analysis and data mining. Also included within the top 25 skills are Data Engineering, Algorithm Design, Database management, and Business Intelligence.
- For 2016, payscale.com found that 36% of managers reported that new grads lacked Data Analysis skills. Additionally, knowledge of Hadoop or Big Data Analytics gave an average pay boost of ~11%.
These skills aren’t just for those with sexy titles like ‘data scientist’, these are skills that are increasingly becoming integral to the modern workplace. In the same spirit as learning math it’s often best to master the basics of data analytics to solve problems and to save theories and abstract concepts for the experts.
So where should you start?
My first exposure to data analytics started with a practical problem I had at a part time job in college. My task was to create a monthly report from a mismanaged tangle of Excel files. The task was tedious and time consuming and after several months of data wrangling I knew that there had to be a better way. I taught myself SQL and went straight to the database, saving myself immeasurable time and sanity.
The weirdest part of all, I found out *gasp* data analytics can be fun! Coding and programming aren’t this mystical rocket science only known to tech wizards, it’s a language that anybody can learn to make their life better.
Data1UP is a space to learn data analytics, with an emphasis on practical application rather than mastering multiple programming languages or becoming a full blown developer. Data1Up is a space to share how data is making your life better, or to share an awesome insight you’ve scraped from the massive amounts of data all around us. Who knows, you might even find that data analysis can be fun.