Last week, I started learning on-line course about data analysis. It is “The Analytics Edges” in edx, one of the biggest platforms of MOOCs all over the world (www.edx.org). This course says “Through inspiring examples and stories, discover the power of data and use analytics to provide an edge to your career and your life.” Now I completed Unit one and two out of total nine in the course and found that it is the best course for beginners of data analysis in MOOCs. Let me tell you why it is.
1. There are a variety of data sets to analyze
When you start learning data analysis, data is very important to motivate yourself to continue to learn. When you are sales personnel, sales data is the best to learn data analysis because you are interested in sales as professional. When you are in financial industries, financial data is the best for you. This course uses a variety of data from crime rate to automobile sales. Therefore, you can see the data you are interested in. It is critically important for beginners of data analysis.
2. This course focuses on how to use analytics tools, quite than the theory behind the analysis
Many of data analysis courses take a long time to explain the theory behind the analysis. It is required when you want to be a data scientist because theory is needed to construct an analytic method by yourself. However, most of business managers do not want to be data scientists. All business managers need is the way to analyze data to make better business decisions. For this purpose, this course is good and well-balanced between theory and practice. Firstly, a short summary of theory is provided, then move on to practice. Most of the lectures focus on “how to use R for data analysis”. R is one of the famous programming languages for data analysis, which is free for everyone. It enables beginners to use R in analyzing data step by step.
3. It covers major analytic methods of data analysis.
When you see the schedule of the course, you find many analytic methods from linear regression to optimizations. This course covers major methods that beginners must know. I recommend to focus on linear regression and logistic regression when you do not have enough time to compete all units because both of method is applicable to many cases in the real world.
I think it is worth seeing only the video in Unit 1 and 2. Interesting topics are used especially for people who like baseball. If you do not have enough time to learn R programming, it is OK to skip it. The story behind the analysis is very good and informative for beginners. So you may enjoy the videos about the story and skip videos of programming for the first time. If you try to obtain a certificate from edx, you should obtain 55% at least over the homework, competition and final exam. For beginners, it may be difficult to complete the a whole course within limited time (three-month). Do not worry. I think this course can be learned again in time to come. So first time, please focus on Unit1 and Unit2, then a second time, try a whole course if you can. In addition, most of edx courses including this are free for anyone. You can enjoy anytime, anywhere as long as you have an internet access. Could you try this course with me (www.toshistats.net) ?