Top 5 Online Resources for Great Data Analytics Courses

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What Is Data Analytics?

Data analytics is becoming a red-hot field, with demand for data scientists and analytics experts continuing to grow strongly in 2019. According to IBM, the number of jobs for data professionals in the US will increase to over 2.7 million by 2020 as more and more organizations seek new recruits with the skills to exploit the power of big data. As such, all professionals working today who want to gain a competitive edge in the job market need new skills – and organizations, too, need to be thinking seriously about upskilling the current workforce if they are to remain competitive in the coming years. Education is key, and both individual professionals and organizations alike will do well to investigate some of the great online data analytics courses out there that can provide it.

The Growing Need for Data Analytics Skills

LinkedIn has been tracking data analytics job opportunities for over ten years. According to Co-Founder Allen Blue – speaking at “The Future Is Now: Closing the Data Analytics Skills Gap” conference earlier this year – data analytics-related jobs represent five of the top 15 growing jobs in America today. However, there are thousands more jobs in the field than there are qualified professionals to fill them, he said. The reason is that demand is no longer confined to high-tech and software industries. Practically all sectors – from education to marketing to manufacturing – are experiencing “massive growth – 15 times, 20 times growth” in data science and analytics-related jobs.

Tsvi Gal, CTO of Infrastructure at Morgan Stanley, was also speaking at the conference, during which he made a point of emphasizing the importance of data science in today’s financial industry. “We [may be] in banking, but we live and die on information. […] Data analytics is the oxygen of Wall Street,” he said, adding that it is also essential to security and protecting the company’s data from “anomalies, threats and behaviors that shouldn’t be there.”

Also present was Bhushan Sethi, Joint Global Leader at PwC, who said that his firm is embedding data analytics in nearly every activity. “It’s in all our products and services,” he said. With clients, “it’s no longer good enough to say, here’s a workable strategy; this is kind of what it might look like. We have to actually visualize what those decisions would be; what are the outcomes; what that means to growth, to financials, to engagement.”

Other speakers from large healthcare, marketing and non-profit organizations all echoed these sentiments – and all were in agreement that finding professionals with data analytics skills was no easy task. In response, several are running their own in-house data analytics courses to ensure employees in every job function have a basic understanding of the discipline. As Steve Kern, Deputy Director of Quantitative Sciences at the Gates Foundation, noted, “It’s not that we need to have everyone out there go and become the next great data analyst, but we need to have people who understand how to consume the data.”

PwC’s Sethi made a similar observation, explaining that his firm was “democratizing” data analytics and taking steps to ensure all of its 55,000 US employees acquired a basic comprehension of it. “I’ve got believe that over the next few years, data analytics is going to be [extremely] prevalent,” he said. “It’s like digital: everyone’s going to need to have a base level understanding of it.”

Online Resources for Data Analytics Courses

The explosion of big data has led to a booming demand for employees who understand it. What this means is that practically every post-grad professional working today – even those pursuing a non-tech career – is going to need to start seriously thinking about improving their résumé with data analytics qualifications. This is especially true as large organizations start providing their own data analytics courses for employees in an effort to upskill their workforce in preparation for the future.

So – what data analytics courses are out there that will help you and/or your employees improve their data skills? We’ve put together a list of five great resources providing data analytics courses available online for 2019. Most of these courses include free and paid learning resources, making them relevant for beginners and intermediates as well as experts.

  1. LinkedIn Learning

Let’s begin with some great introductory data analytics courses. LinkedIn Learning provides an impressive range of courses, video tutorials, and learning paths available for both individuals and entire teams or companies.

Of note for beginners is Robin Hunt’s Learning Data Analytics, and John Johnson’s Data Analytics for Business Professionals for intermediates.

With Learning Data Analytics, Hunt defines what data analytics is and what data analysts do, and then shows how to identify data sets and interpret and summarize data. The course includes the following:

  • Defining data analysis and data analyst
  • Roles in data analytics
  • Data fields and types
  • Interpreting existing data
  • Data best practices
  • Repurposing data
  • Creating a data dictionary
  • Building pivot charts with slicers

In Data Analytics for Business Professionals, Johnson shows leaders and executives how to use analytics to make data-driven decisions and gain competitive advantage using real-life examples of analytics in action. The course includes the following:

  • Qualitative vs. quantitative data
  • Data analytics success stories
  • Making predictions
  • Asking the right questions
  • Collecting data
  • Understanding averages
  • Forecasting
  • Cause and effect

LinkedIn Learning provides hundreds of other data analytics courses and videos for beginners, intermediates and experts, all of which can be accessed as a Premium monthly subscription for $29.99 or as an annual subscription for $299.88.

  1. Coursera

Coursera offers a number of data analytics courses from a range of providers covering the full spectrum from beginner to expert.

From PwC is the Data Analysis and Presentation Skills: the PwC Approach Specialization – a 21 week (at 3-4 hours per week) program including five courses: Data-driven Decision Making; Problem-solving with Excel; Data Visualization with Advanced Excel; Effective Business Presentations with PowerPoint; and Data Analysis and Presentations Skills: the PwC Approach Final Project. The course is designed to help enrollees understand data, apply data analytics tools, and create effective business intelligence presentations to present data to stakeholders in a way that gets them engaged in your story and motivated to act.

John Hopkins University provides the Data Science Specialization program – a ten-course introduction to data science delivered over 43 weeks (at 4-9 hours per week). This Specialization covers the concepts and tools you’ll need throughout the entire data science pipeline, from asking the right kinds of questions to making inferences and publishing results. In the final part of the course, you’ll apply the skills learned by building a data product using real-world data.

Other data analytics courses on Coursera worth checking out include the Big Data Specialization from UC San Diego (30 weeks at 3-6 hours per week), and the Statistics with R Specialization (27 weeks at 5-7 hours per week) from Duke University. Most Specializations run on a subscription basis, costing between $39 and $79 per month.

  1. EDX

Another great resource for data analytics courses is EDX.

From Columbia University is the Statistical Thinking for Data Science and Analytics course, which runs for 5 weeks at 7-10 hours a week. The course is free, though you’ll be charged $99 if you want a verified certificate at the end of it. Enrollees will learn how data scientists exercise statistical thinking in designing data collection, derive insights from visualizing data, obtain supporting evidence for data-based decisions, and construct models for predicting future trends from data.

A more specialized course is Marketing Analytics from Berkeley, University of California, taught by industry expert Stephan Sorger, who has held leadership roles in marketing and product development at companies such as Oracle, 3Com, and NASA. This program is divided into four courses, including Marketing Measurement Strategy, Price and Promotion Analytics, Competitive Analysis and Market Segmentation, and Products, Distribution and Sales. The price for this one is $896.40.

For more advanced data professionals is the Machine Learning for Data Science and Analytics course, again from Columbia University, which requires a 5-week commitment at 7-10 hours per week. It’s a free course, though certificates are $99. Designed to be an introduction to machine learning and algorithms, enrollees will develop a basic understanding of the principles of machine learning and derive practical solutions using predictive analytics.

  1. DataCamp

DataCamp works on a monthly subscription basis and provides an impressive range of online data analytics courses, many involving key programming languages R and Python. All courses can be accessed via a monthly subscription of $29 per month (or $25 per month if you commit to a full year). There is a free option, which gives users access to the first chapters only of all available courses.

Picking out a couple of the data analytics courses of note – the Foundation of Predictive Analytics in Python teaches enrollees how to build a logistic regression model, and how to use this model to make predictions and present findings to business stakeholders.

For R, there is the Predictive Analytics Using Networked Data R course, the Human Resources Analytics in R: Exploring Employee Data course, and the Marketing Analytics in R: Statistical Modeling course, to name just three.

See here for the full list of data analytics courses from DataCamp.

  1. Pluralsight

For $35 per month or $299 for a year you can gain full access to the extensive range of data analytics courses at Pluralsight. Businesses can also enroll their employees for professional training on advanced analytics for the enterprise for $579 or $779 per user per year.

Pluralsight offers a range of data analytics courses, many of which are specific to certain tools, such as Adobe. A good place to start, however, is with the Data Analytics: Hands On course. This course covers everything from the basic concepts of data analysis to data warehouse design and data visualization principles, and includes demos for enrollees to put theory into practice.

Other great courses include Data Science: The Big Picture – exploring everything from Internet of Things to big data and machine learning – and Big Data Analytics with Tableau. This course explains the evolution of big data systems and the various architectures and popular vendors in the space, before diving into how to access these systems and visualize big data using Tableau software.

Final Thoughts

In today’s business world, data has become an indispensable asset. However, many organizations still lack the capabilities to analyze and categorize all the data they collect and store. In order to do this, they need a workforce trained in data analytics, creating a huge demand for professionals with these skills. As large organizations begin developing their own in-house programs to upskill their employees, the pressure is piled on to all businesses to bring their workforce up to scratch, and any individual professional looking to advance his/her career will equally need to ensure they have the skills to successfully compete in the data-driven job market of the future. The time is now to educate yourself and your employees – and with so many fantastic online data analytics courses and learning resources becoming available, you have everything you need to get started today.

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Terry Brown

Terry is an experienced product management and marketing professional having worked for technology based companies for over 30 years, in different industries including; Telecoms, IT Service Management (ITSM), Managed Service Providers (MSP), Enterprise Security, Business Intelligence (BI) and Healthcare. He has extensive experience defining and driving marketing strategy to align and support the sales process. He is also a fan of craft beer and Lotus cars.
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