Data – it’s everywhere. But do you know how to find it – or even more importantly, how to use it?
If you’re looking to get started with data analytics, you’ve got to know the basics. How do you find data and gather it from various sources? How do you visualize it to inform your business decisions? And most of all, how do you collect and interpret data in a holistic fashion so that you can build a story and a picture that will best serve your business?
As someone who knew very little about the complex field of data analytics, I found myself wondering how to best enhance my training in this area to grow my business. Fortunately, I stumbled upon a course on Skillshare called The Art of Data Analytics in Everyday Life.
This course, taught by a skilled data analyst and engineer named Tyler Pernes, is a relatively new course – yet it’s still incredibly helpful for beginners who are just getting started. I spent some time working my way through the course modules – here’s what I thought.
What is Data Analytics?
Data analytics sounds like a complicated, convoluted hard science, but the opposite is actually true. Once you understand the basics of data analytics, you’ll realize that it’s not nearly as intimidating as you once thought.
Data analytics is simply the process or science of analyzing raw data to help you draw conclusions about that information.
Although this can be done in a manual, more hands-on fashion, it usually refers to a variety of processes and techniques that are now automated into mechanical processes and algorithms to make understanding the raw data a bit easier.
Using these sorts of data analytics techniques – and leveraging them for your business – can help to reveal various metrics and trends that might otherwise be lost. You can use this information to increase your business’ overall efficiency.
It doesn’t matter what sector you work in. almost all industries use data analytics, including travel and hospitality, healthcare, retail, and more. If you’re thinking about a career in data analytics or just want to get started on the journey to understanding data analytics for your own business, this course is a great place to start.
What Kinds of Content Does the Course Cover?
This course is perfect for individuals who are just getting started with data analytics. It goes over all the basics of the practice in a simple, step-by-step process that is not too challenging for a total “newbie” to understand. You’ll finish the course with the foundational skills necessary to pursue a variety of analytical projects in your personal life as well as in your professional career.
The course begins with a very basic overview of Tyler Pernis’ background and what data analytics actually is. He underlines his goals for the course and tells his students what he hopes they will get out of the content. He explains that the class is a good choice for anybody at any stage or level of understanding data analytics.
What is Data, and Who Really Cares?
After the basic pleasantries are out of the way, Pernes goes on to give us some more information about what data actually is – and why you should be. Data, of course, is ust information. Why is it important? He explains that it’s not necessarily the data itself that matters, but instead what you choose to do with it.
The biggest roadblock that most people face, when working with data, is that they have a ton of information at their disposal but just don’t know how to interpret it – or what to do with it.
Process Flow: Science Side
The first main part of the course deals with data fundamentals, starting with the data process flow. According to Pernes, this is the “science” side of data analysis. You will prepare the data in a structured way so you can glean value from it and use it to build your business. He goes through a basic overview of how to read a spreadsheet and how to understand what the various numbers represent.
Process Flow: Art Side
In the next section of the course, you will learn how to leverage the data you have prepared in your spreadsheet. You have a structured data set to work with, so now you need to figure out how to leverage it to help you reach your overall goal. You can do this manually, of course, or you can get Business Intelligence Tools (BI Tools) involved. These will connect to data sets and help you build various visuals so you can understand data without having to look at and decipher a table.
For this section of the course, Pernes uses the program Tableau. Tableau is just one of several different tools that you can use when you’re working with data analytics, and Pernes emphasizes that he only uses Tableau because that is what he has experience with – you can choose any other tool your heart desires.
Project Overview: Haptracker
Next, the instructor will walk you through the various steps required to analyze your data. He creates a sample dashboard called Happiness Tracker that will help you keep track of your data. You’ll learn how to evaluate and analyze your sources of data and give a few examples of how you can use Google Sheets (versus Excel) to do it.
Haptracker, Part I
This section of the course will teach you how to dive right into building a data analysis project. You’ll build out each of the science steps and use an extraction tool or draft app to help you work with your data. Pernes goes into extensive detail during this section of the course, showing you a step-by-step approach that you can follow to work with your data.
Haptracker, Part II
This module is essentially a continuation of the last section of the course – all in all, these last few modules are some of the longest, so you’ll want to spend a significant amount of time on them. That way, you can rest assured that you are finishing the course with the detailed understanding that you are meant to have.
At the end of the class, Pernes goes through and recaps everything he taught in the class. He doesn’t leave students with too many steps or follow-up actions that should be taken after they complete the class but instead recommends completing projects and giving the course some feedback. If you’re in a rush, this is not a section of the course that you absolutely need to sit through.
The Course & The Instructor
This course is one of thousands available on Skillshare, a popular online learning platform. It is taught by Tyler Pernes, a talented data analytics professional who, needless to say, truly knows his stuff.
The class is divided into eight mini-lessons totaling 46 minutes of instruction. Each lesson is short, with the longest being roughly 17 minutes long. The bite-sized chunks are easy to digest and can be completed all at once, or in several separate sittings.
To date, this class has been completed by more than 2000 students – not too bad considering the relatively young age of the course. It’s best for professionals who are still working at a beginner level and offers entry-level training in skills like analytics, business analytics, TABLEAU, data analysis, Microsoft Excel, spreadsheets, business, and data visualization.
Pernes himself is an engaging and intelligent instructor. Although there is not a lot of information about him available on his Skillshare platform, he is a teacher who is easy to listen to and easy to follow.
The Skillshare Platform
Skillshare is an eLearning platform that has more than 27,000 instantly available online courses. Like similar online course platforms, such as LinkedIn, Coursera, and Udemy, you’ll be able to view courses via a subscription-based model.
There is a free version available to users, too, but many of the features are limited. Some courses simply are not available to users on the free version, while others are accompanied by annoying ads.
I initially signed up for a free trial of Skillshare and decided not to spring for the premium subscription. It’s a bit pricey, and although Skillshare has been around since 2010, I feel that some of the courses leave a bit to be desired – at least, compared to other course platforms, that is.
One of the things I like about taking classes with platforms like LinkedIn Learning and Coursera is that there is a good deal of continuity between the courses. It doesn’t matter which instructor you are learning from or what your level of expertise is – the courses are all set up in a relatively uniform way.
That is simply not the case with Skillshare. I’ve taken several classes with this platform and while most of them have been taught by incredibly proficient, enthusiastic, and charismatic instructors, some of the courses lacked features that were present in others – and that I liked, and missed seeing in these.
That being said, Skillshare has such a large library of courses to choose from, it’s easy to find something that you’re interested in learning more about. The instructors are credible and the videos they use to teach their lessons are often engaging and fun to watch all on their own – even if you don’t end up learning anything!
Every course I’ve taken on Skillshare has also been relatively short (less than an hour or so) so that I don’t feel as though taking these classes is a tremendous undertaking, either.
Related: Skillshare Review
Major Benefits of Taking This Course
Helpful and Clear Learning Objectives
When I take an online course, I like to see that it lists as many learning objectives as possible – and that they are clear and easy to break down into action steps. Learning objectives not only tell me what I can expect to get out of a class, but also what I’m expected to learn by the time the course is complete.
Using these learning objectives is a great way for me to gauge whether I’ve learned all that the instructor wanted me to or if I need to go back to a section of the course to revisit the material. This course came with several clear objectives of its own. Before starting the course, I understand that I would be able to do the following once I finished:
- Gather data from different sources
- Load data into specific storage systems
- Visualize data using a business intelligence tool
- Bring everything together by building a story
Access to Projects and Resources
One of my favorite features of Skillshare is that each class comes with a helpful project feature. Truth be told, some instructors use the projects feature a bit more than others, taking advantage of this platform to provide their students with additional learning opportunities.
With the projects feature, you can upload your own designs and data analysis projects to get feedback from other members of the class, and ideally, from the instructor. Tyler Pernes’ data analysis class is still relatively new, so the only project that has been uploaded here so far is his own. That being said, I’m interested to see whether fellow students upload their own projects as the course gains some traction.
This class includes its own dataset for you to get started with your own project. Pernes also recommends checking out the three Haptracker videos again (which were detailed in his instructions in the course modules) to get a recap on the entire process from start to finish.
In the project that he includes for the course, you’ll use an app to gather data, use a spreadsheet to store that data, build a dashboard with Tableau Public, and then evaluate findings to determine actionable strategies.
He recommends saving your project and dashboard on Tableau Public, which is an open-source community that enables you to share your work.
Neat Discussion Board
Again, this course is relatively new, so the discussion board that’s included is a somewhat underutilized feature. However, it’s helpful to see what fellow students are saying, both before and after taking the course. With the discussion board feature, you can leave a comment and interact with other students in the class.
I’ve taken other classes on Skillshare in which the instructor did not take the time to check back in regularly and interact with his students. That’s not the case with this course. Pernes checks his discussion comments regularly and you can see him interacting with fellow students. Personally, I liked this, as it was clear that he cared about the success of his students.
Can Be Taken At Your Own Pace
This class, like all of those offered by popular eLearning platforms like Skillshare, Udemy, Coursera, and LinkedIn Learning, is one that you can take at your own pace. Whether you would rather learn in a more fast-paced manner, flying through the course material, or you prefer to sift through the sections of the course more slowly, taking your time, this class is right for you.
Each module is short, clocking in at less than 20 minutes in most cases. Therefore, you’ll be able to complete all of the course modules in a single afternoon or spread them out as you see fit. The material is clearly and succinctly delivered and also easy to digest.
Came With a Transcript
Like many other classes I have taken on Skillshare, this one comes with a helpful transcription feature. I like having access to transcript audio because it gives me something to go back to and reference after I have completed the course. That way, if there are any gaps remaining in my understanding, I can fill them in on my own without having to scroll through entire chunks of video.
Great for Beginners
As someone with very little background knowledge about data analytics, I found this course to be tremendously helpful. I don’t know that it would be quite as useful for someone who had a bit more training in data analysis, but if you’re new to the field, like me, you’ll find that this is a great introductory course. The language is clear and broken down into simple terms so that it’s not difficult to get an idea of what Pernes is trying to explain.
Did you enjoy Tyler Pernes’ teaching style? Fortunately, he has a few other classes you can take on Skillshare. These include:
- Beautify Your Data: Intro to Data Visualization Using Tableau
- How to Save Time: Automate Your Life With IFTTT
If you simply want to learn more about data analysis and don’t necessarily care who you are learning from, you might want to consider these top courses on Skillshare:
- Excel PRO TIPS Part 1: Productivity by Chris Dutton
- Microsoft Excel Data Analytics Real World Project
- Data Analytics Habits – Practical Best Practice Tips by Edd Jay
- Learn Data Analytics with Stata by Franz Buscha
Complaints About the Course
I had minimal complaints about this course – and funny enough, the primary complaint I had was one that I saw echoed in reviews and discussion posts by other students.
Although Tyler Pernes is a skilled teacher who is able to explain the concepts in his course clearly and succinctly, the audio quality of this course is not the best. Some of the other students recommended that Pernes invest in a better microphone and audio recording system, and although he noted the complaint and said he would rectify it in future videos, the course contains the same choppy audio that is so problematic.
It’s not a huge deal, at the end of the day, since you can always go back through and rewatch (and relisten) to various sections of the course. The modules are short enough so that it’s easy to go back and find what you are looking for in each individual one.
However, it is somewhat of a pain to have to do this when you could get all of the information the first time around. There is a transcription feature included with this course, but because the audio quality is poor, much of the transcription is convoluted, incorrect, and just downright confusing.
One fellow student wrote in her review that she appreciated that the course was designed and structured for beginners, but wasn’t fond of how the main question to answer was not answered with the kind of data that was collected. She also wanted more information on understanding various types of graphs for visualizing certain data types.
However, as an introductory course, I’m not sure that it’s really necessary to get that in-depth on these topics – they might best be saved for a more intermediate or advanced (or even just follow-up) course.
A final feature of the course that I am less than fond of is the fact that there is no self check-up or assessment feature offered to students. This, unfortunately, is something that is true of every class I have taken on Skillshare thus far. There are no quizzes or similar tests to make sure you have mastered the material before moving on to the next section.
For some students, that’s probably not a dealbreaker. After all, quizzes and assessments can be stressful! However, when I take online courses, I prefer to have some kind of assessment at the end so that I can make sure I’ve mastered the necessary material before moving on to the next section.
Who is The Art of Data Analytics in Everyday Life Course on Skillshare Best For?
The Art of Data Analytics in Everyday Life course on Skillshare offers students a phenomenal introduction to the complex world of data analytics. It doesn’t matter whether you’re new to the field or have a bit more of a basic understanding – this is a great course for you.
Although I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to someone with many years of experience, it nonetheless is a good option for most newcomers and business owners wanting to enhance their data use and implementation.