How to become a Data Mining Specialist – A Complete Career Guide
A data mining specialist finds the hidden information in vast stores of data, decides the value and meaning of this information, and understands how it relates to the organization. Data mining specialists use statistical software in order to analyze data and develop business solutions. Thus, data mining specialists must both have a mastery of technological skills (especially programming software) and business intelligence.
Though obviously the practice of looking through data in order to make decisions for your business has been in use for as long as data has existed, the term “data mining” was coined in the 1990s. Since then, the confluence of statistics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the ability to store vast amounts of data has advanced the study of data science exponentially. Data mining specialists are now able to search extremely complex data sets, which are then able to produce relevant insights that would have otherwise been hidden. Organizations in the fields of healthcare, finance, criminal justice, education, retail, manufacturers, telecommunications, and insurance all find ways now to optimize their practices through the analysis of data.
What is a Data Mining Specialist?
The data mining specialist must find patterns and relationships within large amounts of data in order to make predictions about the future and advise a business about strategy. A data mining specialist is able to turn the information he or she finds into actionable insights. These insights could be used for a number of purposes: minimizing risk and costs, increasing revenue, discovering new markets, and understanding consumer behavior better to produce tailored marketing campaigns, to name just a few.
The data mining specialist knows which questions to ask of the data while also understanding the crucial difference between correlation and causation — a correlation simply indicates the relationships between two pieces of data indicate a connection, while a causation directly indicates one piece of information has a direct effect on another. A data mining specialist must also be able to identify outliers and anomalies in the data. All of this is crucial, as you can often come to discover that the data is not always telling you what you assume it is.
What does a Data Mining Specialist do?
Data mining specialists are tasked with a variety of responsibilities within an organization. The data mining specialist uses data analysis programs to research, mine data, model relationships, and then report these findings to the client using data visualization techniques, such as graphs, bar charts, scatterplots, and so on.
Data mining specialists generally work with three types of data which can be categorized as (1) transactional, (2) non-operational, and (3) metadata.
Transactional data, as the name implies, documents an exchange of some sort, generally an agreement or monetary transfer that occurs between organizations like a company and/or individuals. This is the kind that is produced on a daily basis in sales, most obviously, but may also cover inventory, operating costs, and client visits. As a data mining specialist for a business is often looking at who’s buying what and why, this is obviously a key data set.
Meanwhile, non-operational data involves the data produced by an industry that can be mined for insights for a particular company and is often forecast. Metadata, on the other hand, can sort of be thought of as “data about data”, in other words metadata concerns data that is about the design of the databases that are holding all this data that data science specialists are utilizing. Work on metadata will often involve breaking the data an organization has into categories — field name, character length, etc. Data mining specialists need to be comfortable with the different uses and advantages that mining each of these sources allows.
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|School Name||Level||Program||More Info|
|Georgetown University||Master||Master of Science in Business Analytics||Website|
|Concordia University, St. Paul||Master||Master of Science in Data Analytics||Website|
|Johns Hopkins||Master||Online MS in Data Analytics and Policy||Website|
|George Mason University||Master||Online MS in Data Analytics Engineering||Website|
|Utica College||Master||Online MS in Data Science||Website|
|Capella University||Bachelor||B.S. in Data Analytics||Website|
|Southern New Hampshire University||Bachelor||B.S. in Data Analytics||Website|
|Scranton University||Master||Online MS in Business Analytics||Website|
|Drake University||Master||Online Master of Data Analytics||Website|
|Northern Illinois University||Master||Online Master of Science in Data Analytics||Website|