Data Analytics Courses Online: The Best Start to a Variety of Career Paths

Data analytics is a broad field that comprises statistics, computer science, and business. First, it is the processing of data in ways that are accurate, and that generate relevant conclusions; second, it is the communication of those conclusions in a way that allows people to understand them and to know how to respond. Data analytics courses online are a great way to gain entry into such an in-demand job field.

You can take a course to get a sense of the field, or you can even work towards a master’s degree online. Furthermore, even if you are not interested in a data analytics career, these courses would look great on almost any job resume.

edX is an online course website that has individual courses, Professional Certificate programs, MicroMaster’s, and master’s programs. A MicroMaster’s is often a step on the path to getting an online master’s degree from the university that offers the MicroMaster’s, and it is also a credible resume component, much like a Professional Certificate.

Generally, one must pay to get a verified certificate for an individual course; there is a total price for a MicroMaster’s, Professional Certificate, or master’s. However, this price is often less than the sum of all of the required courses’ prices.

All of the site’s courses are created and curated by top universities worldwide; therefore, the courses are well-conceived and the material is current. Almost all courses are self-paced. All courses mentioned in this article are in English, although edX does offer courses in other languages too. To find data analytics courses, you can search under the Data Analysis and Statistics or Computer Science categories under the Courses tab or make a search in the search bar.

Finance, marketing, and business:

The most obvious field of application for data analytics is market research. Marketers need to reliably and securely collect huge amounts of data – online and in-store customer transactions, social media activity, and surveys – and somehow decide what works and what does not. In this digital world, there is more data available than ever, with the future promising astronomical data growth.

However, to be useful, data has to be collected effectively and ethically. Furthermore, the collector needs to be sure to collect the data that is relevant. Statistical techniques, such as regression analysis, are used to determine cause and effect, and charts and diagrams are used to express results.

An excellent course that covers all of this is Marketing Analytics: Data Tools and Techniques, a course offered on edX by Wharton (University of Pennsylvania’s business school). The course is intermediate in level, so it is not ideal for even the ambitious beginner. It is part of Wharton’s online Digital Marketing Professional Certificate Program, which comprises data analytics courses online, as well as business management online courses. It is estimated to take about 4 hours per week for 6 weeks.

The course progresses from the basics of data collection, to regression, to conjoint analysis (in this context, a statistical process used to draw conclusions about customer preference), and finishes with social media data analysis. The course is relevant to business managers, investors, consultants, entrepreneurs, advertisers, and even non-profit managers. The only prerequisite for this course is basic undergraduate-level mathematics, so it should not be too hard to catch up even if you did minimal college math.

Cutting-edge technology and computer science:

Data science is becoming more and more a part of computer science. It is poised to take us into the next generation of computing. As in other data analytics areas, one must collect mass amounts of data, process the data to make relevant conclusions, and describe the collection process and communicate the resulting conclusions to others.

A course that addresses this phenomenon is Enabling Technologies for Data Science and Analytics: The Internet of Things (IoT), offered by Columbia University. The course describes the software that is used to allow the Internet of Things to get data from electric sensors. Here, both computer science and a little bit of electrical engineering are involved. Wireless connectivity and cloud computing topics are addressed where relevant, as are advanced statistical methods.

This course uses a variety of outside sources, including scientific journal articles and even novels. It goes into such hot topics as security surveillance, search engine data, and copy detection (determining if a video is a copyright infringement). It also covers sentiment analysis – the processing of linguistics, visual cues, and social media behavior to generate conclusions about subjective feelings in the population.

Despite the apparent rigor of the subject matter, this course is introductory – a thrilling jump into the world of data analytics as applied to computing. It covers many additional topics that are specific to computing: facial recognition, security surveillance, web search engines, and more. This course is part of one of Columbia’s professional certificate programs, Data Science for Executives.

This program comprises data analytics courses online, plus online computer science and business courses. This course is self-paced but takes about 5 weeks to complete and is estimated to require a maximum of 10 hours per week. It offers a high degree of depth and breadth for an introductory course; fortunately, the only prerequisites are a minimal understanding of computer science and high school-level math.

Healthcare industry and policy:

Health informatics technology (HIT) is the attainment, retention, and statistical processing of health data. Healthcare data needs to be securely stored, yet quickly and reliably retrievable when needed. This sort of data processing is not only important to individual patients and providers; it also steers policy and procedure in both the legal and medical communities. Informatics, in general, is the pursuit of optimizing data collection systems and data processing methods. In this context, it is applied to healthcare-related software.

The possibilities to help people are endless in this field. Healthcare informatics is having an increasing impact on research to optimize clinical and surgical practices; medical scientific development – procedural, technological, and pharmaceutical; outreach to under-served populations; and practitioner-patient interactions. As telemedicine (digitally-provided medical treatment from a distance) becomes prevalent, more and different data might become available.

Therefore, healthcare data analytics is a gateway to helping the under-, or even, un-served populations of the world. Within the United States (or any other country, for that matter), healthcare distribution is one of the biggest policy issues; therefore, if your ambitions are political, this field of study is a gem. From a business standpoint, the fact is, everybody everywhere needs healthcare, so this is one of the most lucrative areas worldwide. Delivering the right devices, practitioners, and medications to the right people at the right time is quite possibly the most ambitious business goal in the world.

With so much debate over healthcare policy and so few truly feasible answers as of yet, the field of healthcare alone is poised to create tremendous demand for data analytics specialists. A course that delves into this hot topic is Health Informatics Technology in Population Healthcare Analytics, offered by Doane University. This course is intermediate in level and has some prerequisites, so it is not ideal for beginners. The course outlines the final fantasy – improvement in population health – and the health informatics technology (HIT) needed to assess and attain such improvement.

This course really looks at the problem on the level of society, not just on an individual hospital level. This course does have more prerequisites than most – at least 5 years of work experience in a healthcare-related field, or a bachelor’s degree; and some acquired understanding of economics and finance. However, on the positive side, if you are taking this course successfully, you are probably getting somewhere. It is self-paced but is estimated to take about 3 weeks, with a maximum of 10 hours of work each week.

This course is part of Doane University’s Certified Lifestyle Medicine Executive MicroMaster’s program, which comprises online courses in economics, business, medicine, and law – all offered on edX. This program counts towards Doane University’s online MBA, which puts you on track for a career in hospital administration and other executive business and policy-making roles.

These three examples of data analytics courses online merely suggest the range of levels and topics available in data analytics courses online. Data analytics careers have the potential to cross over into almost any other academic area or career sector. edX is an ideal place to seek both data analytics courses and relevant courses in other areas, since it offers courses in computer science, data science, engineering, language, business and management, and the humanities. It is a way to get a degree from Harvard, MIT, and others – something that may have seemed an impossibility before.

The variety of courses from different universities allows you to, in a sense, craft your own program – all while potentially fulfilling the requirements of a resume-boosting course or even a top-notch master’s program. In fact, if you have any interest in technology or business and aspire to have a lucrative, on-demand career, data analytics courses online are, arguably, the best way to get where you want to go.

Comments 7

  • I did not realize that there were so many educational opportunities available.  I think I would really be interested in the healthcare informatics.  This is something close to my heart and would be very interesting.  I am not sure how I could turn this into a career, but it would certainly be educating.  Could this type of education be used to start an information blog possibly?

  • Wow, I knew that this was a great area of expertise to study and there seems to be so much opportunity in todays world for this field.   But in the past it seemed such a tough field to get into and the costs of going to college appeared overwhelming.

    This program through EdX offers an opportunity to get your feet wet in an area, to test your abilities and you don’t have to go away to school to start.  This is what we need for our young people who are just getting started or for those who are looking to expand their knowledge in a current career…

    Thanks so much for your post.  You lay it out in a way that makes me want to recommend this to others as a good starting point for looking into new careers or career advancement.

  • Yeah,  data science is applicable to any field of study and it makes the field  more professional . Most times,  you don’t have To be a compute scientist to be a data analyst. 

    The good thing is that to become certified analyst has been made so easy by online courses and just about any body interested can enroll and take the courses at will.  

  • Good afternoon Ernst,

    Your post is very technical and in many parts above me. Being already 68 I grew up without technology and only got a computer in 2013. In my life I travelled quite a bit and studied languages.

    When I came upon the part where you talk about healthcare which is one of the most lucrative areas worldwide I agree. Sadly I have the impression that often the health of the people is not important as a healthy person does not generate money. I understand that when there are so many sick people more technically skilled people are required. 

    The good ideas you forward in your post on data analytics courses will be surely helpful for the younger generation but for me I think I am a bit too old.

    Regards, Taetske

    • I think you are never too old to learn new things, especially if those things belong to the new way of living that defines our time.

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