Q: My daughter wants to pursue a data analysis course. Could you give me more information on it?

Data Analytics (DA) is the process of examining raw data with the aid of specialised software to reach meaningful conclusions required for decision-making. DA started its journey since informatics took centrestage and continues to gain importance with the changing digital scenario.

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To take informed decisions managers need to have data that is analysed in a meaningful manner. DA can be used to optimise business decisions, improve performance, and reduce cost by identifying more efficient ways of conducting business. It is also used to analyse customer trends and satisfaction and respond accordingly.

Manufacturing companies can use DA to identify bottlenecks in production while content companies use DA to keep you clicking and watching, and advertising companies use DA to ensure that you get to only view advertisements that are generic to your needs. Similarly travel, hospitality, healthcare and retail industries analyse copious amount of raw data to identify trends and offer solutions to improve profits.

Data Analytics is extensively used in the financial world, including the popular Six Sigma program. If you are not measuring something, be it your weight or deliveries or number of defects, it is not possible to optimise it.

A postgraduate degree in DA is a natural choice for students with a STEM inclination. Contrary to popular belief, a degree in DA is not just about data mining. It focuses on data operations and advanced analytics apart from system architecture. It provides in-depth knowledge of transforming raw unstructured data into a usable asset by applying programming skills and tools.

One closely related, equally important course is Business Analytics. Here the focus would be on transforming data into specific competitive insights for business advantage. This course equips you with technical and business skills and such people are usually the link between the IT section and the rest of the company.

In India, you could pursue the Post Graduate Diploma in Business Analytics at IIT Khargpur. Tata Consultancy has collaborated with institutes (St. Xavier’s, St. Joseph’s College, University of Rajasthan) for a master’s degree in Big Data. Another promising course is the Master of Business Administration (Data Science and Data Analytics) at Symbiosis Centre for Information Technology.

In Dubai there is a course of Big Data and Visual Analytics at SP Jain School of Global Management which includes data mining, machine learning, cloud computing and algorithmic functions. RIT in Dubai also offers a post graduate qualification in this field.

In the US, Carnegie Mellon University offers MS in Computational Data Science. In the UK, London School of Economy, University of Leeds, University of Warwick offer courses of Data Science and Analytics.

Sanjeev Verma is an international education counsellor. Got a problem? Our fantastic panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to friday@gulfnews.com.