The best analytics training provides the technical proficiency and critical-thinking skills necessary to be successful in an analytics position. The term "analytics" is used to describe how an organization utilizes existing data as part of the decision-making process. The data used varies widely, depending on the setting and context of the decisions being made. For example, a research project will use analytics to review data from the study, and a business will use analytics to review customer behavior.
Technical proficiency includes three specific skill sets: software skills, data manipulation and database management. All three of these skills are necessary to effectively create queries, review reports for validity and confirm accuracy of system outputs. A combination of formal analytics training and workplace experience is the most common way to obtain the required level of expertise.
There are several analytics programs available, depending on the industry and the system architecture. User reference guides, online demonstrations and short courses are the most popular ways to complete analytics software training. Take the time to read the prerequisites and make sure that you have the skills necessary to follow the material. The concepts used in this type of work are very complex, and people without sufficient background will become very frustrated. These courses are usually provided by the vendor or the organization that purchased the software.
Data manipulation and database management techniques are solution-independent, and they are essential skills in analytics. This type of training is not tied to a specific software but is offered at a more theoretical level. Courses offered by a university as part of a statistics certificate or program are an ideal way to obtain this type of analytics training. Invest the time to learn the key words and phrases common to this discipline before the class, in order to avoid confusion.
Critical thinking courses are available from a range of colleges, universities and professional associations. Research each program carefully and select the institution that offers accredited programs through a range of delivery methods. Online courses should include a range of discussion tools to encourage communication with both the instructor and fellow students. Classroom courses are usually offered evenings and weekends to accommodate working students' schedules.
There are many books, magazines, free online courses and seminars that cover analytics training topics. These independent-study options are a great way to gain basic information or improve existing skills. Research the background of the author or material creator to ensure that the data is correct and the techniques discussed are accepted within the industry.