Updated August 31, 2021
By Laura Stevens
And why a data analytics certification could be just the boost your career was looking for.
The amount of digitally collected and recorded data has increased at a mind-boggling rate and continues to explode. To put this in perspective, consider an article from App Developer, which reported that ninety percent of the world’s data had been created between 2014 and 2016, and even more would be created in 2017—dwarfing the accumulation of 5,000 years of human history. We’re now past 2017 and even more data is being generated on a daily basis – so much that it’s nearly impossible to comprehend.
One example of how this avalanche of data has influenced business operations and spending is in the use of consumer data analytics. With the advent of social media, smart phones and online marketing tools, companies now have near-instant access to valuable consumer data to inform their decision-making. They know when and why we buy things and the factors that influence those decisions. Why is this important? Because it allows businesses to track and predict consumer buying trends and identify new markets, giving them a significant leg up on audience targeting. Better audience targeting means less money spent on advertising and greater profit margins. Proper data interpretation can also influence key business decisions and help streamline operations. The challenges lie in knowing how to retrieve the data, determine its validity and application, and make strategic use of it.
What types of roles use data analytics?
This increased dependence on data translates to higher demand for workers who know how to collect and use data within the context of a hiring company’s specific operations and industry. While it’s true data analysis, or data science, is complex and can require years of study to master (as any grad student of this field will attest), there are many occupations that don’t require a degree in the subject, but are evolving to include data analysis skills in their job descriptions. Among these roles are:
1. Market research analysts
2. Database administrators
3. Business analysts
4. Product managers
5. Digital marketers
6. HR professionals
7. Contractors / consultants
These positions are ubiquitous across industries, and while some business sectors are growing faster than others, the outlook for the above roles is quite favorable. (For more on the growing demand for data analysis skills, check out this report from the Society for Human Resource Management.)
Why is certification important?
While learning the ins and outs of data analytics will enhance your skill set, certification can take it up a notch by:
1. Adding credibility to your skill set – it shows you didn’t just dabble in a class or two
2. Laying the groundwork for job growth, a promotion or career change
3. Strengthening your resume with both an in-demand skill and an educational achievement
Finding the right program
Keeping in mind your schedule, career goals and budget, consider these factors to help determine which program is best for you.
Laura Stevens is a marketing communications writer and content strategist. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from The University of Texas at Austin.
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