Navigating Online Learning in Analytics

Navigating Online Learning in Analytics

Online learning can be one of the most effective methods for increasing your analytics learning and skill set. However, with the many options available to you in online learning, it can be an overwhelming process to begin. It is extremely important to know how to navigate through the available options as you design your online learning plan.

Here are a few tips for determining where to start your online journey.

1. Be Realistic About Your Learning Needs

Online learning catalogs allow you to pick your desired course level. It’s important to first determine the appropriate skill level for you, whether you’re at a beginner/fundamentals level or an intermediate level, especially if you are new to the study of analytics. I recommend starting simple with a basic course to reduce the possibility of feeling frustrated with a more advanced course. I assure you that completing each course, at each level, will help you gain confidence in your analytics skills.

Be realistic about the time you have to devote to learning the new skill.  Often we get excited about learning something new.  Then, when it gets hard we fade.  Be realistic about what you want to accomplish in the time you have allotted for yourself.

2. Determine Your Budget

Before jumping into a class, it’s important to determine 1) how much your company will contribute to the cost, and 2) what your personal budget allows. While there are some great free classes to get you started, the more advanced classes come at a cost. This requires that you do some number crunching and determine how to pace your learning. I believe that investing in yourself will always pay off!

3. Choose Your Curriculum

Deciding what learning platform to use and what courses to take can be overwhelming.  You can expect to find more than 1,000 options for data science courses. Some websites will guide you in choosing the right courses based on your skill level.  To help you get started, here are a few websites that many analytics professionals use to increase their skills: Coursera, DataQuest, Khan Academy, and Udemy.

To determine what classes to take, I recommend for my coaching clients that they start by identifying the one area of analytics where they expect to receive the most benefit. This decision depends on the needs of your company, the jobs you are applying for and your interest level in data science or other areas of analytics such as visualization.

4. Apply Your Learning

Unfortunately, taking classes alone does not build your skill set, but it’s a start. Analytics leaders look to hire candidates who are experienced in applying their learning. I recommend making use of your current position to apply a data set, or practice what you’ve learned to solve a problem. I’ve found that most managers are happy to support someone who is interested in learning and applying data science skills!

If you don’t have access to data in your current position, you can find data sets on a Google search.

Execute Your Plan

A well-crafted navigation plan is key to finding success in the overwhelming world of online learning in analytics. It’s important to approach this process strategically beginning with a careful review of your learning needs, budget resources, preferred area of learning, and possible outlets for applying what you learn. After that, the learning will take you from there!

If any or all of this process feels overwhelming to you, I’m here to help.  Just fill out the Contact Me page and we can talk more about the analytics career coaching services I offer.

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