Data has become something of a hot topic lately, with everyone, from major social media companies and advertisers to traditional corporations, touting its importance. But as we enter the “data age,” it’s clear that data isn’t just for these specific uses. In fact, data can be helpful to every business, no matter the size or industry. To illustrate this fact, we’ve gathered some information on the field of data science and how it is generally used. Along with this, we looked to the story of Jonathan Cornelissen, founder of a leading data education company, to gain further insight on the importance of data in the modern world.
Improving Decision Making
First and foremost, data is helpful as a tool for making decisions. This idea is applicable to every organization in the world today because each and every one of them generates data. Take the example of a small one-person online business. Even in this case, data is generated through the use of social media, emails, payment methods, product deliveries, and more. The long list of details involved with running even the smallest of businesses can be hugely instructive when it comes time to make a decision on a change to the business itself.
For example, a small business owner might want to find a way to increase their marketing reach, a task they’ve typically accomplished through social media. That person might try to determine the characteristics of past posts that have generated interest (perhaps in the form of likes) and try to replicate that success. To do this, the business owner would need to go back through old posts and get information on the number of likes and how they correlate to different aspects of the post. In other words, they must engage in data collection to decide how to move forward with a new marketing campaign. This is just one small example that shows that any action in business benefits from access to data.
Creation of Educational Platform
That type of thinking pertaining to the importance of data was one of the key factors that led Cornelissen to create DataCamp, his startup focused on educating people on key aspects of data science. The idea came to him while he was studying for his doctorate and was required to teach students how to use the programming language R. The language proved difficult for most of his students to master and reminded the data scientist of his own struggles with the pursuit. He realized that there was a need for an engaging and interactive platform that could help streamline the process of learning the language and working with data in general.
From that simple idea, the founder’s company was born. These days, the startup has grown to serve millions of students, who use its educational resources to learn a variety of skills related to data science. The fact that the company has grown so fast and become so widely used is just another indication of the ever-growing importance of data in modern life. As more and more companies gain a deeper understanding of how data affects their bottom lines, more of their employees are being trained through the startup and bringing their newfound expertise back to their work.
Data Builds Understanding
Data isn’t just useful to improve established procedures for a company; it’s also a key driver of understanding of markets beyond the company itself. For instance, take the same one-person online company as above, and this time, let’s examine what they’d want to do if they were introducing a new product. Some of that decision-making process would involve looking at data from past sales and products to see what performed the best with their customers to date. But the savvy business person would also go outside their own business to examine trends in the economy at large.
To this end, the business owner might want data on products that are currently experiencing high demand. This might provide insight into which new products the company could release that could also be reasonably expected to perform well. Again, without the data to drive this analysis, a business owner would be left to make assumptions about which products could succeed and, in such a case, they run the risk of guessing incorrectly and missing out on a business opportunity.
Data Science at Large
The above examples are simplistic, but they do a good job of showing how, at even the most basic level, data can make or break a company. This understanding has been built into the work that Jonathan Cornelissen has done at his startup since its very inception. That’s one of the reasons he looks to education to help individuals develop fluency in the field with advanced tools.
This is evident in the platform’s focus on high-level data analysis such as can be found through the use of statistical programming languages. Where plenty of data collection and analysis in the past has been conducted through the use of spreadsheets, modern data science is fast reaching a point where such limited tools are no longer adequate for the job at hand. With the options provided by DataCamp for students to improve data fluency, businesses and other groups are becoming increasingly able to make strong use of data to grow companies and increase organizational output.
It’s practically impossible to go about modern life without seeing the telltale signs of data science all around us. The field has grown into a huge industry as social media and other internet companies use information as a commodity for improved economic efficiency. Still, it’s helpful to understand just how important data can be in the hands of everyone, not just large-scale companies. With the above examples, and thanks to work from data scientists like Cornelissen, it isincreasingly clear how everyone can benefit from the ability to work with data to make their organizations function at the highest level possible.