Mar 11, 2014

Free Analytics Education? My Personal Development Plan for 2014

analytics education skills


It seems that 2014 will be a great year for analytics professionals. It's not me saying that, but several authoritative sources in the world business. To mention a few of them:


For us, digital analysts, I guess this is all great news. But the other EVEN NICER NEWS - and that's the topic of this post - is that lot of this analytics education is freely available through the internet. Ever heard about MOOCs? I have taken a couple of those courses, and beside the zero cost required to enroll, the QUALITY was the thing impressed me the most. A couple of my previous posts actually came from some fantastic assignments I was given as part of the courses.

Going back to 2014, I'd like to suggest 3 courses starting right this month. I have enrolled to all of them, they look very promising and hopefully will be able to complete them all.

1) Google Analytics Platform Principles
2) Making Sense of Data
3) Doing Journalism with Data




1) GOOGLE ANALYTICS PLATFORM PRINCIPLES


Offered by: Google Analytics Accademy

Starts: March 11 - March 27, 2014 (content available after end of the course)

Content: this is the second course launched by Google Analytics Accademy, and comes after the successfull Digital Analytics Fundamentals, which saw more than 145000 students signing up last October, and over 30000 of them earning a certificate of completion. Google Analytics Platform Principles aims to go deeper into how Google Analytics platform collects, transform and organizes the data you see in the reports. Compared to the previous one, which more focused on how to plan a web analytics project (from a very business point of view), this course looks to be quite technical and specific about how GA platform works.   

Reasons why I am taking it: I am currently working for a digital marketing agency, and deal with Google Analytics on a daily basis. Given the size of the agency, not only I am in charge of data reporting & analysis, but also of the actual technical implementation of the platform for the client. I often find myself in a client face role, identifyng requirements and turning into actions. So, understanding how the GA works in the "backend" is becoming more and more important in order to refine the implementation and offer unique and valuable insights for the client.
  
I also hope to gain a good understanding of the main differences between GA for a website and mobile applications, being the last one an area where I see more and more interest from clients.



2) MAKING SENSE OF DATA


Offered by: Google

Starts: March 18 - April 4, 2014 (content available after end of the course)

Content: the course appears to be an introductory data analysis course targeting general public dealing frequently, even if in different ways, with data. It covers main data analysis activities such as structuring, cleaning, analysing and visualizing data; and topics like exploratory and prediction analysis, at least at abasic level I guess. In terms of tools, the couse will introduce Google Fusion Tables, an experimental web aplication aimed to gather, visualize and share large data tables.

Reasons why I am taking it: I am very interested in using Fusion Tables, understand what type of things I can do (compared to a classic Excel spreadsheet for example) and incorporate it into my daily work. I saw recently an amazing work visualizing Google Analytics data with Fusion Tables and got very impressed.

Of couse I look forward to apply my knowledge in the final assignemnt and hopefully share it on this blog.



3) DOING JOURNALISM WITH DATA: FIRST STEPS, SKILLS AND TOOLS


Offered by: European Journalism Centre & Data Driven Journalism

Starts: from May 19, 2014

Content: this course is about how data is changing the way journalism is done. It covers verious topics such as where to find relevant data, how to explore it and find stories, and eventually transform it into attractive visualizations. In other words, it will teach the essential concepts, techniques and skills necessary to do data journalism and produce compelling data stories.

Reasons why I am taking it: I am not a journalist. I am a digital analyst. Then why this course? I do think, TELLING A STORY is a very important part of any web/digital analyst job. We need to find data, subset relevant one (garbage in/garbage out), clean it, analyse it, turn it into attractive visualizations. But most importantly, think critically. And that is where this data journalism course can be of help.

If you are interested in reading some great pieces of data jurnalism, I recommend start following the data section of The Guardian.


I hope you found this post useful. I have enrolled to all three courses, and hopefully will complete them. I plan to post some feedback soon, ideally some work I will have to perform as part of the class.

Are you thinking to enroll to some of these course? Do you have any other suggestion? Please share your thoughts here, I will be happy to get in touch.