To say that the world runs on data is a *huge* understatement. Google is essentially one of the world’s largest data aggregation platforms, while Amazon is collecting reams of consumer behavioral data — all of which is going into things like retargeting ads that throw internet users’ personal info back at them (sometimes in highly creepy fashion, BTW).
While there’s no disputing the seemingly crushing, all-encompassing nature of Big Data, there’s also a huge flip side. Big Data analytics adoption skyrocketed in 2018 alone, and it’s no surprise that hosting platforms like Amazon Web Services and Big Data analytics technologies like Tensorflow are more popular than ever. Enterprises both big and small are hopping onto the Big Data train, which means data analysts are becoming more indispensable than ever.
Because without these analysts to pull, sort, interpret, and ultimately apply all that data to their organizations’ projects? All of it would be indecipherable. And if you’re thinking about joining their ranks, don’t fret: It doesn’t have to be intimidating given the proper guidance.
Here are three handy tools you can learn to jumpstart your nascent data analysis career:
1. Microsoft Power BI
Enterprise business intelligence software has progressed to the point that it’s replaced entire IT departments, and this is largely due to Microsoft’s Power BI. This user-friendly software’s platform enables anyone to interact with corporate data without breaking a sweat, allowing users to easily aggregate, sort, model, and visualize data in an intuitive interface — a far cry from past BI tools, which were so hard to use only IT specialists would approach them with a broom.
2. Microsoft Excel
You know it, you love it — but are you aware of its fullest operating potential? More than just a glorified spreadsheet application, Excel is a powerful data analysis tool that’s as nimble as it is robust. Learn advanced functions such as VLOOKUP, PivotTable, and Macros, and you’ll be able to slice and dice data like an absolute pro. A tip: if you’ve also learned to use Access, you can link Access to Excel to auto-generate updated reports in multiple Excel sheets — a handy trick that will save you untold hours (and countless headaches).
3. Microsoft Access
Access is Microsoft’s database management tool and offers users an easy way to manage large data sets (a very loose way of describing it would be “Excel on Steroids”). You can use the platform to store a ton of data for reference, reporting, and analysis, which makes it a powerful way to manage large data sets. Plus, if you’ve learned the complementary programming language Access VBA, you’ll be able to code extra functionality into your Access databases (for instance, adding a button to a form that opens a related report).
Here’s a quick and dirty way to get started on all of the above: The Complete Microsoft Data Analysis Expert Bundle. This training spans six courses comprising more than 30 hours of premium instruction, including Power BI Essentials, Microsoft Access VBA for Non Programmers, and Advanced Microsoft Excel Master Class. They’ll walk you from the fundamentals to advanced techniques on how to add these tools to your data analysis toolkit.
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