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The growing demand for data analytics

man looking at three monitors

With an ever-growing amount of data available to businesses and increased focus on making informed decisions based on those facts and figures — rather than gut instinct — the field of data analytics is seeing exponential growth across almost all industries.

A new course at SAIT is set to leverage the desire for more data-fuelled business decisions, while giving those with either a programming or analytics background an advantage in this growing field. Python and Data Analytics combines the world’s most popular programming language with the basics of predictive analytics and reporting.

“To be able to speak both languages — on the business side where you understand domain knowledge and processes, as well as the tech side and reading code — these are the skills that will set the path for students,” says SAIT instructor Esther Rajasekaran, who developed the course.

Industry feedback has indicated organizations want more people who understand the reporting component.

Likening data scientists to modern astrologers, Rajasekaran says they can help organizations make informed predictions — something companies and stakeholders are increasingly looking for.

“There is no more gut instinct,” she says. “They want everything with data behind it.”

The fact the course focuses on Python is also something growing in demand. In the last year, Python has edged out other popular computer programming languages, dethroning Java and PHP, says Becki McLean, SAIT product strategist for technology, health and manufacturing. "It's easy for beginners to pick up,” says, adding it’s open-sourced and based on the English language, with plenty of free community support.

The fact it’s Python based will make graduates with this micro-credential even more marketable, Rajasekaran adds. “It also connects to other electronic components and programming languages, so it can plug into a lot of different things. Because of that, it’s used in manufacturing, health care, finance, cybersecurity and more.”

Python and Data Analytics teaches how to take raw data and set up a few lines of basic code to help distill the information into something that can be used to drive informed business decisions. Rajasekaran, who has completed a master’s degree in Information Systems and Data Science and works as a business consultant in the banking world, says it’s this crossover between code and data that makes for a marketable skill set.

“Data is everywhere, but it just sits there,” she says. “Everyone is looking for answers. This is a field that is fast growing.”

Considered a beginner course for data analytics, it’s geared toward students with an interest in coding with a computer science or tech background, says McLean.

“But it’s also for those with an analytics background or experience with other programming languages,” she says.

The course is delivered fully online, using free technology. Find more information and register at coned.sait.ca.

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