Being able to work with data is a great skill for lots of jobs.
It involves technical knowledge but it also comes down to asking the right questions to discover stories hidden within spreadsheets of facts and figures.
Researchers gather data on all kinds of things from health to exam results, prices and the things we spend our money on. They then analyse the data look for interesting patterns and connections. This could be to see if something is getting better or worse over time or to try to discover relationships between things. E.g. 'When the temperature goes up do people buy more bottled water'? or 'are people with longer working days more likely to suffer from stress related illnesses'?..
Once data has been analysed like this, it can be used to help governments decide where to spend their money, for commercial businesses to design new products or to promote awareness of an issue.
Charities, civil servants, scientists, advertisers, journalists, banks, police, lawyers, teachers, app developers, even sports organisations all rely on data to help them work out the issues they needs to tackle, how to make improvements and how, when or where to reach people.
It's handy then, that Google has designed a simple, interactive course on working with data to help anyone new to the subject get to grips with the basics.
The course is made up of short videos and activities, which get you working directly with online spreadsheets and looking for answers.
It covers everything you need to get started, from understanding the different terms used to describe data, to how to go about exploring it and find all those interesting stories buried within.
You don't need any knowledge of statistics or programming to take the course, so it's a great way to give data exploration a try.
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