Data is everywhere. In life and in business, data helps people process the world around them and make decisions. People have been utilizing data in some form since before we learned how to communicate, and knowing how to collect, analyze and deploy data properly is key to achieving success.
However, many business leaders are finding that using data effectively has become ever more difficult with the expansion of digital tools. Today, humans produce 1.7 megabytes of data every second; though business leaders do not need to manually sift through all that raw data, they do need to know how to use that data to develop business strategy.
Data science is a field concerned with developing skills and tools for finding and leveraging data appropriately. Having some knowledge and skill in data science can be useful in navigating an organization through this data-rich world — but what, exactly, do business leaders need to know about data science, and where can they find it?
Why Data Science Matters
Data in its raw form is usually not particularly useful to the human brain. Like other raw materials, data requires processing, and data scientists deploy the right processing methods to ensure data becomes more comprehensible without losing accuracy or integrity. Business leaders might think of data processing as using data to tell a story, but if the details of the story are manipulated in certain ways, the story might become untrue.
Learning the fundamentals of data science can give business leaders more proficiency in working with data. Leaders equipped with some understanding of data science are more capable of reading the story contained in the data, which includes asking questions that the data can answer. Data can be alot, and data science skills give business leaders the ability to interpret insights and formulate a strategic business approach.
4 Important Elements of Data Science
Business leaders do not need to become data science experts — unless they are pointing their career ladders at data-heavy executive positions, like “Senior Data Scientist,” of course. To be effective in business leadership positions, most leaders need to understand the following four concepts, which serve as a foundation to data science:
Data visualization is the act of presenting data in a visually comprehensible form. Graphs, charts and maps are examples of data visualization, as are infographics and some videos. Data visualization is an important aspect of data science for business leaders because leaders need to be able to interpret the data behind flashy presentations.
Data generation is the act of creating or acquiring data, usually through some kind of research or study. How data is generated impacts what that data is likely to say; for example, research on the effectiveness of an advertisement shouldn’t include only customers previously interested in the company’s product because there would be no telling if the ad had any effect. Leaders who are familiar with methods of data generation are more capable of judging the quality of the data and resulting analytics.
Business leaders don’t need to know how to build databases or wield statistical formulas, but a passing familiarity with important data tools will give them more proficiency in directing their data science teams.
Data Science Roles
What is the difference between a data scientist, a data analyst and a data engineer? Business leaders should be able to explain how different positions in their data science team differ from one another, so they can have realistic expectations from each of their employees, and so they can hire the exact right candidate for the job.
Where to Learn Data Science
Because data science is quite an interesting subject, business leaders would do best to learn the fundamentals of the field in a formal setting. Fortunately, this online data science course offers a top-tier education experience from a leading data science expert at a major university while ensuring leaders have flexibility and space to complete coursework on their own schedule. It is truly the best solution for busy business leaders who need to gain fundamental knowledge and skill in the field of data science.
Businesses run on data. The sooner business leaders prioritize understanding data science better, the sooner they can make more informed and impactful decisions for their organizations.