Business analytics is a job which has been around ever since the concept of earning money was invented, but only recently has it gained a great impetus, ever since we’ve seen a considerable surge in the amount of data which is being produced. In the simplest sense, the main role of a business analyst is to increase the profit margin of any firm in any industry. Earlier people did that by only using the intelligence of their minds by coming up with schemes and tactics. However now since we have computers to do our thinking and advanced algorithms which can predict our behaviour, we don’t need to solely rely on our mind. Thanks to big data we can now use Artificial Intelligence to predict consumer behaviour, which will help us to increase our profits.

Business Analysts use the power of machine learning algorithms to make predictions and recognize patterns. They are often also known as data scientists. All of the data that is produced is fed into a machine learning model and it’s the job of a business analyst to make sense of the output. All this data wasn’t available before so it’s a fairly new field and companies don’t necessarily need you to have a specific degree to qualify for the job. That’s the best part about it, anyone can do it! Of course, having a background in mathematics or computer science is definitely a plus point, but even if you don’t have any experience it’s completely fine. There are plenty of courses, online and offline, which provide business analytics training for beginners.

Should you even do a business analytics training course?

Traditionally speaking, from a very young age we are told to earn as many certificates as possible. More certificates mean better job prospects which means a higher salary, which makes sense because employers look at our certification for credibility. However, that case is not entirely true when it comes to the field of data science. Since it is such a new field where everything is about the practical application of the knowledge, instead of having certificates as a top priority, recruiters tend to look at the kind of projects that we’ve worked on.

Your projects should include applications of different machine learning algorithms, like Linear regression or decision tree. You could even step things up and decide to implement deep learning in Computer Vision or Natural Language Processing. Make sure to display your top three to four projects.

However, this being India, everyone values a certificate more than anything else. Also having a certificate will never decrease your chances of getting a job but only increase it. So it’s best to go through a business analytics training course but not having a piece of paper will only make things more difficult, not impossible.

Should you do a paid one or free?

Speaking strictly from a personal experience, since I have audited online courses as well as purchased courses that provide me with a certificate after course completion, I would like to say that if you’re self-motivated you could do either. Although one should keep in mind that free courses are a lot less engaging than paid ones.

 What I mean by engaging is, there are no teachers present to solve your every doubt that you have, you have to solely rely on the discussion forums and search for the answer if you’re lucky you will find it. Otherwise, you will have to google and solve your error. On the other hand, if you’re doing a paid course you will receive a more personalised experience by having a mentor to guide your journey. This can be a huge catalyst in your journey as a data scientist.

In free courses, the lectures are generally pre-recorded and are very short, not above 10 mins at the most and no one is there to keep a track of whether you’re watching it completely. The interpretation is completely up to the viewer. Paid business analytics training courses have much larger videos generally. Depending upon your course the lectures are mostly over an hour. Some courses even have live lectures where you can clear your doubts at the very moment.

Also after completion of a paid course, you receive a credible certificate. Make sure you’re doing the course from a reputed institute because many new courses are popping up and it would help you to stand out. Google, Amazon AWS, IBM have their courses which they have released to the public. Doing one of those will help you get into the respective company

What modules should you look for in a course?

If you’ve opted for a business analyst training for beginners course than I am assuming you have little to no experience in coding. So, the first thing you should look for is whether the course teaches you python. If alongside Python, it also has an R module present in it, the course has a good introduction into coding for machine learning and statistical analysis.

Does it teach you all the Supervised learning algorithms? In supervised learning, the dataset that is used to train a model is labelled. Majority of the industry level models are all supervised models. Does it cover Unsupervised learning, is another question you should ask yourself? In unsupervised learning, the training data does not have any label. It is greatly used for clustering tasks. Forming clusters or groups within the data, helps data analysts to find patterns or trends in the data. Similar data points with similar features are brought in closer together

Deep learning is a more complex form of machine learning. It has a higher learning curve but is an integral part of a data scientists repertoire. In order to learn deep learning, you will also need to learn TensorFlow or Keras, which are libraries in Python that provide a framework to create neural networks.

All of Machine Learning is based on statistics which in turn is based on maths. So having a module that teaches you the maths behind all the algorithms is important. You will have a deeper understanding of the algorithms which will help you while finetuning the hyperparameters. You will also sound a lot more confident during an interview and be able to answer the questions like you know what you’re talking about.

So now that you know how to go about selecting a course make sure to be persistent and don’t give up halfway through.  In the long run, a business analyst training course will only help you in finding a job. All the best.