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The Alteryx community brings people with varying levels of experience together to help nurture and grow their knowledge within the field of analytics. As we enter a new year, we reflect on the past and look forward to the future. As part of this reflection, think about the advice you would give to the past version of you, the one who is a student or just starting out in the field? What would you tell them if they asked you “Why does having an understanding of analytics matter?”
We want to hear your answers! We are hosting a raffle from now until January 28 open to anyone who submits their response. To earn one ticket to the raffle, reply to this post with a text response. To earn three tickets to the raffle, reply to this post with a video response. We will leave the thread open if you would like to continue to send responses after January 28, however, they will not count towards the raffle.
We look forward to hearing all of your great nuggets of wisdom! Some of your submissions may be shared more widely via social channels to get the word out even more about why analytics matters! If your submission is chosen, we’ll be sure to reach out and let you know so you can share as well. And if you're not sure how our SparkED program is helping build a strong analytical foundation in learners across the globe (or how you can get involved), check out the SparkED hub!
The impact of data and analytics go beyond just the business. Analytics' far-reaching and long-lasting impact on societal, environmental and humanitarian issues are what keep me going in what I do today: inspire the next generation of Citizen Data Scientists.
We all can be empowered with data, it all starts with that first workflow!
Great questions that I'd like to share my thoughts on.
People always say "data is everywhere" and this could already be the answer, but to be honest, I don't like generic phrases like this. Therefore, I'd like to share what I did in the past before I worked with data 24/7 .
My first job was at a digital healthcare agency for round about 3.5 years.
The first role was in quality management. Main tasks involved testing websites, mobile apps and in general applications
This might not seem like you need analytics, right? Yes, but no. Analytics isn't always just data, but also analytical thinking, which to me means to have a structured way of attacking problems. It means to pay attention to details. When working with data, this means to pay attention to things like left/right join-anchors or typos, but the same applies to testing applications. You need to make sure it works as intended and that there are no backdoors. Paying attention to details is a very important analytical skill you should have.
In the seconds phase I started to manage smaller projects myself.
How do you know if your projects are running well? Data. And what do you do with the data? Right, analyse it. Even though I was a PM and tester, I needed to analyze my Jira-Dashboards, Bug-Trackers and timelines. I didn't felt like working with data, but it was.
In the third phase I analyzed marketing campaigns and website performance.
Even though Marketing in the first place doesn't seem like a place where you need analytics, it highly does. I created Google Analytics Dashboards to see how our marketing campaigns and websites perform.
In the last phase, I was the assistant of the management.
"Fetching coffee for the boss" - right? No. I analysed employee performance, team performance, customers, new products and many other things. Sure, you can be a coffee-holder if you want, but let's be honest. You wouldn't be here if you were. Modern management decisions aren't based on a gut feeling, they are based on numbers that support them.
My second job might not seem like a job that needed analytics too. Writing two books.
Maybe I tricked you here. I wrote two historical math books. Math, that's not fair! But let's say we'd ignore that it was math, and would just say it's an history book. Would I still need analytics? Yes. We analyzed which terms were used in the past, the frequency, the orthography and many other things. It was a combination of NLP (natural language processing), simple statistics and manual work.
Afterwards I started a carrier as a data professional and the things become obvious, therefore I'll skip it.
Coming to an end, let's put it in a simple sentence:
"Even though many jobs don't put analytics and data in their job description, you'll still need it as data is everywhere and you can hardly avoid it in any job that involves digital activities. "
Having an understanding of analytics is helpful in both professional and personal settings. This skillset can be useful and help to propel your career even if it isn't the main focus of your role. Outside of work, having a grasp on analytics is helpful to understand the world around us and to comprehend the information we are given from all different sources.
“Why does having an understanding of analytics matter?”
This reminds me of whenever I’m out with family or friends at a restaurant, and when the bill comes everyone says “give it to Mike – he’s the Math guy”. I have to remind them that what they are expecting of me is not Math. It’s Arithmetic. And I’m no better at Arithmetic than most people. Math is a way of thinking, in a very logical way.
It’s no surprise I’m reminded of this when I looked at the question being posed here. After all, here is what Merriam-Webster has to say about analytics:
And this, to me, is why having an understanding of analytics matters. No, I’m not going to tell you that a career in analytics/data science is awesome (it is, don’t get me wrong). I’m not going to tell you that it fulfills something in me and gives me satisfaction to know some of the things I do in my professional life contributes greatly to “the greater good”, be it at my company or when volunteering (and again, it does, don't get me wrong).
What I am going to tell you is that if you have a good understanding of analytics, you will have a better understanding of the world around you and everyday life. It will make you better thinker. You’ll be able to use deduction skills and even induction skills occasionally to help navigate life. I might even be so bold as to say you will make better more informed decisions both at work and at home. Information is everywhere. And the skills you develop when learning analytics will help you discern, scrutinize, and, well, analyze that information.
So, I don’t have any professional advice for you, and I don’t have any courses or learning paths to recommend in my response here. I merely have a simple answer to the question posed – “why does having an understanding of analytics matter?”: Because it will help you in all aspects of your life.
Great points here ! Adding some more 'wisdom' to those above ..
Understanding analytics in a business environment will help to uncover some hidden insights because most of us can deal with delivering the metrics that are available or easy to get and forget about those that really matter ....because they are just too 'hard' to get.
For me, understanding analytics means understanding the world around us: humanity, environment, society, people feelings, etc. and doing something to enable the change through visualisations, statistical analysis, data modelling, data exploration, etc.
Every dataset encapsulates a piece of information that could be more or less known. If analytics could bring an insight or an 'Aha!' then the main goal is accomplished.
My 'why' comes out of a dearth of data analytics experience, and my own previous belief that I don't need it. I couldn't have been more wrong, as I know see how much the value of data and the quick ability to gain accurate analytics insights can change my understanding of the world, my success within it, and the ongoing progress of our society!
Analytics can be a pretty powerful weapon. Come to think of it, why are we having different results of vaccinated vs unvaccinated in the hospital ICU's being reported by different countries, (I'd say that pretty much only the OECD countries do provide reliable data) ? Surely this (analytics) is not something politicians/authorities should misuse in the name of protecting people's lives. One can pick & choose the data to make it suit one's agenda. I think it's dangerous not only in the case of the pandemic analytics but also in the way the 'green deal' data is being tossed around.. (average temperatures, sea levels rising etc). Nevertheless, it's happening and nobody seems to be able to do anything about it.