Learn data analytics with online courses and programs
What is data analytics?
Data analytics is a branch of data science focused on gathering insights from data. It comprises the tools, techniques, and processes of data management, including the collection, organization, and storage of data. The main function of this field is to apply statistical analysis and technologies to large collections of data to spot significant trends and solve problems.Footnote 1 As data flows into an organization through many different channels, it's up to the data analyst to wrangle it and shape it into something meaningful that provides valuable insight.
Data science is an integral part of our lives and can improve important organizational and business decisions. Everything from the types of products offered at a local bank to the layout of a grocery store can be decided based on data analysis.
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Why learn data analytics?
Businesses and organizations across all industries leverage their data analytics training to improve operations, increase revenue, and achieve their overall goals.
For example, international shipping company UPS has created the Harmonized Enterprise Analytics Tool (HEAT) to help it capture and analyze customer and operational data. The tool tracks the real-time status of each one of the millions of packages it delivers every day all over the world.Footnote 2 Meanwhile, healthcare company Kaiser Permanente has been using a combination of analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence (AI) to streamline the data operations of its hospitals and medical offices, reducing waiting times and improving patient care.Footnote 3
A professional with the ability to analyze data and execute on their insights can be an asset for any organization.
Data analytics course curriculum
Learners have access to a wide range of online data analytics courses through edX. Whether you’re looking to earn an online data analytics degree or complete a data analytics certification, there are many different options to suit different learners who are either interested in data analytics tutorials or more specialized courses.
Introductory data analytics classes might cover fundamental data science techniques and tools, data collection methods, data visualization, and data processing.
A more advanced data analytics course or master’s degree program may explore the fundamentals of probability and statistics, diving deeper into data analysis techniques and machine learning algorithms. An advanced data analytics curriculum may require or recommend that learners be comfortable with college-level calculus and Python programming.
Data analyst jobs
Data analysts work in a variety of roles and industries, such as in business, in healthcare, or in life sciences. There are many different job titles someone trained in data analytics might hold. Their tasks and responsibilities will vary based on their particular industry and employer. Many data analysis jobs require an undergraduate or graduate degree, however, entry-level positions may be open to candidates with applicable skills learned in data analysis or analytics boot camp programs.
Roles that use data analysis can include:
Business intelligence analysts produce financial and market intelligence by querying databases and generating reports summarizing business, financial, or economic data for review by executives, clients, and other stakeholders. They come up with methods to identify data patterns and trends, synthesize current business intelligence or trend data to support recommended actions, and may maintain a library of model documents, templates, or other reusable knowledge assets. Business intelligence analysts may require a bachelor’s degree or in some cases a master’s degree.Footnote 4
Operations research analysts use advanced mathematical methods to help organizations make decisions in areas including production schedules, pricing, and supply chain management. Operations research analysts work in a variety of industries. In retail, they may improve inventory management by using consumer data to build models that better predict individual purchasing decisions. In healthcare, operations research analysts can develop systems that help healthcare providers assess risk and prioritize patient appointments.Footnote 5
Data scientists take the output of data analytics to study and solve problems. These professionals develop and use a set of techniques to transform raw data into meaningful information using data-oriented programming languages and visualization software. They apply data mining, data modeling, natural language processing, and machine learning to extract and analyze information from large structured and unstructured datasets, and then visualize, interpret, and report data findings.Footnote 6
How to become a data analyst online
There are many different routes to become a data analyst, depending on a person’s education, interest, and goals. A business intelligence analyst may need a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree in data science for more advanced roles.
An online data analytics boot camp allows learners to gain real-world experience and in some cases a data analytics certification.