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Whether you’re just getting started or you’re just trying to better understand a few key topics, the new Data Essentials course is a great place to learn about data and the technologies we use when working with it. These introductory lessons were developed by the SparkED team as a tour of relevant topics that provide context to the systems, formats, and even errors you might encounter when analyzing data. The first 2 lessons are available now in the Academy section of Community with more to come throughout the year.


In the first lesson, we define data to help demystify exactly what counts as data these days. We then examine some common filetypes and datatypes before touching on metadata. Finally, we review common visualizations and the benefits they provide for sharing your findings.




In the second lesson, Data and Devices, we cover some basic hardware components of computing devices before jumping into the software components that breathe [artificial] life into that hardware. We also briefly touch on computer languages and take a look at some examples.




Throughout the year, we will continue to release lessons on other topics like: Databases, the Cloud, Data Analytics, and Data Stewardship. If these topics sound interesting, be sure to check for new content in the second half of 2022. We hope that these lessons will help you (or someone you know) to get more comfortable with data and build a solid foundation to continue learning and analyzing!