Data analysis is essential knowledge in the job world. Whether you are studying business, economics, or science, data analysis is a must-have skill. As everything moved to virtual due to COVID-19, our free time has expanded. For example, prior to COVID-19 commuting to my university takes 1 to 2 hours due to rush hour traffic. Even though the number of opportunities has shrunk, we can use our time to hone our data analysis skills. While I am not a professional data analyst or majored in statistics, I think my experiences and reflections on learning data analysis would be worth sharing.
The term ‘data analysis’ is descriptive. It refers to processing raw data to produce more clean and organized data to conclude about them. Data analysis is not about cleaning data, but it extends from mining to wrangling to visualizing to many more.
If you don’t know where to start, youtube is one of the best places to start. There are many youtube videos on data analysis for beginners. A simple search will help. However, if you like to learn in a more organized and structured way, various online learning platforms, such as Coursera, Linkedinlearning, EdX, etc., would provide you more in-depth experiences and help you connect with peers.
There are plenty of courses on those platforms that beginners to advanced level students can take. For example, Introduction to Data Analytics on Coursera, Learning Data Analytics on Linkedinlearning, and Data Analysis Essentials on Edx are great courses for beginners.
Practice data analysis
After completing any of these courses, you can use any publicly available data set to practice more. Some examples are data.gov by the US government, global health observatory data by WHO, earthdata by NASA, etc. Many beginners start from excel, then move on to other platforms, such as R Studio, Python, Tableau, and many more.
In our day-to-day life, we need to make decisions based on data. Whether to understand what’s going on around us, build a new skill, or be competitive in the job market, it is the best time to hone data analysis skills from home.
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