February 11, 2021

Purdue adds online certificate program in hot data analytics field

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Professionals in marketing, financial services, the retail industry, project management and many other fields who want to boost or reset their careers can take a leap in that direction with a certificate program in data analytics now offered by Purdue University.

Businesses, nonprofits and government agencies collect large amounts of data from which they want to draw insights. This makes expertise in data analytics a fast growing, sought-after skill, according to observers including the World Economic Forum (WEF), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, LinkedIn and jobs website Glassdoor, among others. The WEF predicts that 85% of major companies will have adopted big data and analytics technologies by 2022, and 96% are planning to hire more people skilled in the discipline.

The Data Analytics Certificate program through Purdue Online, offered in partnership with Experiential Teaching Online (XTOL), is designed to train people to fill those jobs by preparing them to be data analysts in as little as 20 weeks for full-time students,  40 weeks for part-time students.

The XTOL program emphasizes machine learning to automate data analysis. Don’t expect to spend time staring at dry lecture videos. There are no lectures. The curriculum – constructed and maintained by industry experts – is built around seven realistic projects, plus a capstone project, all of which involve predictive modeling and communicating actionable insights to stakeholders who are generally nontechnical. Graduates end up with job-ready skills that equip them for professional success.

“To become a data scientist or data analyst, we believe students should 'be' a data scientist or data analyst while solving real-world problems just as they would daily in such roles,” said Benjamin Manning, XTOL’s senior data science mentor.

Students meet with an industry-expert mentor regularly, along with a small group of fellow students, for group problem-solving sessions, technology demonstrations and discussions to reflect on what they’re learning. Individual help from mentors is available whenever needed.

Prospective students should have a bachelor’s degree. Programming experience isn’t required. Students learn relevant Python programming and statistical skills as needed in the context of the projects they’re completing.

The online Data Analytics Certificate program includes five courses:

  • Understanding Customers.
  • Data Science with Python.
  • Predicting Profitability and Customer Preferences.
  • Deep Analytics and Visualization.
  • Big Data Analytics.
  • A capstone project of the student’s choice. 

Data analytics increasingly drives organizational decisions, from spotting sales trends and developing smarter marketing campaigns to accurately predicting customer loyalty and protecting against fraud.

The expertise gained through the online Data Analytics Certificate program is applicable in advertising and marketing, business, finance, sales, accounting, engineering, information technology, utilities and many other fields, including consulting roles.

The knowledge is important in positions such as data analyst (or any other position with “analyst” as part of the title) and data scientist, as well as jobs making use of data analysis, including managers involved in data-based decision-making and project managers – anywhere in an organization where identifying and addressing predictable outcomes is a key function.

For more information about the online Data Analytics Certificate program through Purdue, visit the course webpage.

Writer: Greg Kline, 765-426-8545, gkline@purdue.edu

Contact: Donna Cumberland, donnac@purdue.edu

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