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Eamonn Cottrell
Eamonn Cottrell

Posted on • Originally published at

Data Analytics: A Hero's Journey with Google

Cleaning Data

Update: here's the follow-up article after I've completed the whole certification.

Three courses in to Google's Data Analytics Certificate I'm beginning to wonder whether I've undervalued my present skill set or whether I've misremembered courses being difficult in my more impressionable years.

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It seems that my core character attribute of curiosity is perhaps the most unique and powerful trait sought after in the field of analytics [and perhaps too: data science?].

In fact, after completing the first two entire courses, the program seems thus far focused on how to grasp how much data is in the world and how to appropriately, ethically and effectively sift through it.

In My Case

Honestly, a lot of this stuff was covered via my parents (ethics), grade school (curiosity), and early algebra courses (This is perhaps a personal quirk, but I attribute much of my ability to connect seemingly disparate pieces of information and creatively balance business goals to my early training in algebra. The subject was so formative to me that I believe it shaped my thinking back in 7th-8th grade as much as the perilous social circles of the middle school cafeteria.)

Course Progress

I feel primed now with some additional vocabulary about the field and a cursory glance into databases with some simple SQL queries. Otherwise, a heck of a lot of these first courses was review work on spreadsheets which I've been using for years.

I'm looking forward to the next course on processing dirty data. This is where my own knowledge has come up short a few times in my professional life. I am fairly proficient at cleaning up a .csv file for use in Excel or Google Sheets, however, I came across some unusable data a few years ago that I feel confident I would have been able to attack with cunning had I developed a bit of programming know-how at the time.

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There's something supremely satisfying about a well manicured spreadsheet table.

Who is this certification for?

Are you in college? Just graduated? Early in a career? Know a little about Excel, but want to level up your skills and really get your hands dirty with data? Looking to start a career in data analytics?

The certification definitely feels catered toward beginners. Such is the case with so much of the ol' internet's tutorials these days. I still think I'll enjoy the rest of the course, and expect that the learning curve will begin to ascend more as we go along, but by and large the target audience is the beginner.

I remain quite interested simply because data analysis has always been a part of my job, and rounding out some rough edges while also tacking on SQL & R programming sounds like a no-brainer for someone like me.

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Career Prospects for Humans

Will this certificate (or any) land someone or myself an actual job or new career? Yes & no, but mainly: not really. That's up to how well folks will combine the new skillset with their existing network and look for ways to add value to an employer in such a way that only a creative human is able.

In my case, I'll continue to search the horizon for new business or start-up opportunities. I'm far more interested in creating something from scratch using new tools while adding value to my current role than the endless job applications and soul degradation that seem to precipitate career changes.

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Further Reports Forthcoming

I'll be continuing to write about my progress through this certificate specifically as well as my other creative, technology-driven endeavors generally.

Update: here's the follow-up article after I've completed the whole certification.

Thanks for reading, and look forward to talking more soon!

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