What Is Data Analytics? - ITU Online

What Is Data Analytics?

data analytics

Data analytics refers to the process of examining, cleaning, transforming, and modeling data with the goal of discovering useful information, informing conclusions, and supporting decision-making. It encompasses a broad range of techniques and is used in various fields such as business, science, and social science to enable organizations or individuals to make more informed decisions.

Key Components and Concepts Involved in Data Analytics

Data Collection

Data collection is the process of gathering information from various sources to be used for analysis. The sources of data can be diverse and vast. Here are some common sources:

  1. Internal Sources:
    • Operational Data: Data from internal operations like sales, inventory, payroll, and logistics.
    • Financial Data: Data from financial transactions, balance sheets, and income statements.
    • Customer Data: Data gathered from customer interactions, feedback, and purchase histories.
  2. External Sources:
    • Public Data: Data available from government agencies, public records, and open data portals.
    • Commercial Data: Data purchased from third-party data providers, which can include demographic information, consumer behavior, or market trends.
    • Social Media Data: Data from social media platforms that can provide insights into public opinion, trends, and customer preferences.
    • Sensor Data: Data collected from IoT (Internet of Things) devices like weather sensors, wearables, or smart appliances.
  3. Online and Digital Sources:
    • Web Analytics: Data on website traffic, user behavior, and interaction patterns from web analytics tools.
    • Log Files: Data from logs of web servers, databases, and networks providing information on usage patterns, activity levels, and potential issues.
What Is Data Analytics?

Data Analyst Career Path

Elevate your career with our Data Analyst Training Series. Master SQL, Excel, Power BI, and big data analytics to become a proficient Data Analyst. Ideal for aspiring analysts and professionals seeking to deepen their data skills in a practical, real-world context.

Data Processing

Once the data is collected, it needs to be processed to ensure it’s in the right format for analysis. This step may involve:

  1. Data Cleaning: Removing inaccuracies, correcting errors, and dealing with missing values.
  2. Data Transformation: Converting data into a suitable format or structure for querying and analysis. This can include normalization, aggregation, and indexing.
  3. Data Integration: Combining data from different sources and providing a unified view. This often involves resolving data conflicts and inconsistencies.

Data Analysis

This is the core phase where the actual examination of data takes place. It involves:

  1. Descriptive Analytics: This involves summarizing data to describe what has happened. Techniques used include mean, median, mode, and standard deviation.
  2. Diagnostic Analytics: Focuses on understanding why something happened. This involves more in-depth data mining and correlation techniques.
  3. Predictive Analytics: Uses statistical models and forecasts techniques to understand the future. This involves techniques like regression analysis, forecasting, multivariate statistics, pattern matching, predictive modeling, and forecasting.
  4. Prescriptive Analytics: Suggests decision options and shows the implications of each decision. This involves techniques like simulation, complex event processing, recommendation engines, and optimization algorithms.

Data Visualization

Visualization is critical for interpreting the complex relationships in data and involves the creation of visual representations like:

  1. Charts:
    • Bar Chart: Used for comparing quantities of different categories.
    • Line Chart: Ideal for showing trends over time.
    • Pie Chart: Best for showing a part-to-whole relationship.
  2. Graphs:
    • Histogram: Useful for showing the distribution of a dataset.
    • Scatter Plot: Used to identify relationships between two variables.
    • Bubble Charts: A variation of the scatter plot, where the size of the bubble adds an additional dimension to the data.
  3. Maps:
    • Geographic Maps: Ideal for data that has a geographical component.
    • Heat Maps: Useful for representing the intensity of data at geographical points.
  4. Infographics: These are more complex visualizations that combine various types of charts, graphs, and images to tell a data-driven story.

Data Interpretation and Decision Making

The final phase involves making sense of the data and findings from the analysis to inform business decisions, strategies, or actions. This involves:

  1. Interpreting Results: Understanding the outcomes of the data analysis process and what they mean for the business or research objectives.
  2. Reporting Findings: Communicating the insights in an understandable form to stakeholders, which could be through reports, presentations, or dashboards.
  3. Making Informed Decisions: Using the insights derived from the data to make evidence-based decisions, develop strategies, or undertake specific actions aimed at achieving business objectives.

Each of these components is crucial for ensuring that the data analytics process is effective, from initial data collection to making informed decisions based on the insights derived from the data analysis.

What Is Data Analytics?

Lock In Our Lowest Price Ever For Only $16.99 Monthly Access

Your career in information technology last for years.  Technology changes rapidly.  An ITU Online IT Training subscription offers you flexible and affordable IT training.  With our IT training at your fingertips, your career opportunities are never ending as you grow your skills.

Plus, start today and get 10 free days with no obligation.

Tools To Use For Data Analytics

Data analytics involves a wide array of tools, each with its own strengths and limitations. Here are some of the top tools used in the field, along with their pros and cons:

1. Excel


  • Ubiquity: Excel is widely used in business environments, making it a familiar tool for many users.
  • Flexibility: Offers a range of functions for data analysis, including pivot tables, formulas, and charts.
  • Accessibility: Doesn’t require advanced technical skills; most users can start with basic functionalities and improve over time.


  • Scalability: Not suitable for handling very large datasets as performance can significantly degrade.
  • Advanced Features: Lacks some of the more sophisticated statistical and analytical features available in specialized software.

2. R Programming


  • Advanced Statistical Analysis: Provides extensive capabilities for statistical computing and graphics.
  • Open Source: Free to use, and has a large community contributing to its libraries.
  • Flexibility: Allows for customization and is highly extensible through packages.


  • Learning Curve: Requires time to learn, especially for those not familiar with programming.
  • Memory Usage: In-memory processing means it can be less efficient with very large datasets.

3. Python


  • Versatility: Can be used for a wide range of tasks beyond data analysis, such as web development and automation.
  • Libraries: Has powerful libraries like Pandas, NumPy, and SciPy for data analysis and scientific computing.
  • Community and Support: Strong community support with extensive resources and documentation.


  • Learning Curve: Like R, it requires learning programming concepts which might be challenging for non-programmers.
  • Speed: Can be slower for certain types of tasks compared to specialized statistical software.

4. SQL


  • Data Manipulation: Excellent for complex querying, data transformation, and manipulation directly in the database.
  • Industry Standard: Widely used in the industry, making it a valuable skill for data professionals.
  • Performance: Can handle large amounts of data efficiently with well-designed databases.


  • Limited Analytics Capabilities: Primarily used for data retrieval, manipulation, and management, not for advanced statistical analysis.
  • Complexity: Some complex queries can become quite involved and hard to manage.

5. Tableau


  • User-Friendly: Known for its user-friendly interface and ability to create complex visualizations with ease.
  • Data Connectivity: Can connect to various data sources, including cloud databases, Excel, and web data.
  • Interactivity: Allows creating interactive dashboards that are easy to share and understand.


  • Cost: The professional version comes with a substantial cost, which might be a barrier for small businesses or individual users.
  • Limited Data Preprocessing: While it’s great for visualization, it’s not meant for data cleaning or intensive data manipulation.

6. Power BI


  • Integration with Microsoft Products: Seamless integration with other Microsoft services like Azure, SQL Server, and Excel.
  • User Interface: Intuitive and user-friendly interface with drag-and-drop features.
  • Cost-effective: Offers a free version, and the paid version is generally less expensive than other similar tools.


  • Data Size Limitation: The free version has data capacity limits, which might require an upgrade to the premium version.
  • Complexity: Some users find it less intuitive than other visualization tools, and DAX (Data Analysis Expressions) can have a steep learning curve.

Each tool has its own set of advantages and limitations, and the choice often depends on the specific needs of the project, the size and complexity of the data, the user’s technical proficiency, and the organization’s infrastructure. It’s not uncommon for data professionals to use a combination of these tools to leverage the strengths of each.

Microsoft SQL Mega Bundle Training Series

Microsoft SQL Server Training Series – 16 Courses

Unlock your potential with our SQL Server training series! Dive into Microsoft’s cutting-edge database tech. Master administration, design, analytics, and more. Start your journey today!

Job Roles For Data Analytics

Data analytics is a vast field with a variety of specialized roles. Here are some of the key job roles along with their definitions:

  1. Data Analyst
    • Definition: A data analyst is responsible for collecting, processing, and performing statistical analyses on large datasets. They discover how data can be used to answer questions and solve problems. Data analysts translate numbers into plain English and often communicate their findings through the use of data visualization.
  2. Data Scientist
    • Definition: A data scientist analyzes and interprets complex digital data, such as the usage statistics of a website, especially in order to assist a business in its decision-making. They use a combination of analytical, statistical, and programming skills to collect, analyze, and interpret large data sets. They then use this information to develop data-driven solutions to difficult business challenges.
  3. Data Engineer
    • Definition: A data engineer designs, constructs, installs, tests, and maintains highly scalable data management systems. They develop, construct, test, and maintain architectures such as databases and large-scale data processing systems. Data engineers also ensure that the data pipeline is scalable, repeatable, and secure, and can serve multiple users within the company.
  4. Business Intelligence Analyst
    • Definition: A business intelligence analyst uses data to help figure out market and business trends by analyzing data to develop a clearer picture of where the company stands. They provide historical, current, and predictive views of business operations and build BI tools and dashboards to aid in the understanding and communication of business metrics.
  5. Machine Learning Engineer
    • Definition: A machine learning engineer designs and creates systems and algorithms that have the ability to learn and make predictions. They focus on developing systems and algorithms that can learn and make decisions from data. This role often requires advanced skills in statistics, programming, and data science.
  6. Quantitative Analyst / Data Modeler
    • Definition: A quantitative analyst or data modeler specializes in the application of mathematical and statistical methods to financial and risk management problems. They often create models to predict the performance of financial instruments or to simulate scenarios for strategic planning.
  7. Data Visualization Specialist
    • Definition: A data visualization specialist turns complex data sets into clear, understandable, and graphically appealing representations. Their main goal is to make it easier for users to understand the significance of data by placing it in a visual context.
  8. Business Analyst
    • Definition: A business analyst helps guide businesses in improving processes, products, services, and software through data analysis. They identify and articulate the need for change in how organizations work, and facilitate that change by connecting business and IT teams.

These roles often require a blend of skills in computer science, mathematics, statistics, and a strong understanding of the business or domain they are working in. Each role has its unique set of responsibilities, but all contribute significantly to the organization’s ability to make data-driven decisions.

Key Term Knowledge Base : Key Terms Related to Data Analytics

Ad-hoc ReportCustom reports created on the fly to address specific questions or issues, often without a predefined schedule or format.
AggregationThe process of combining various pieces of data to summarize or create a comprehensive overview, often used in statistical or data analysis.
AlgorithmA structured set of instructions or a systematic procedure designed to perform a specific task or solve a problem, commonly used in data processing and analysis.
AnalysisThe detailed examination, dissection, and interpretation of data to identify patterns, draw insights, or support decision-making processes.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)The emulation of human thought and cognitive processes by machines or computer systems, enabling them to perform complex tasks, learn from experiences, and make autonomous decisions.
Business Intelligence (BI)A technology-driven methodology for analyzing data and presenting actionable insights to aid corporate stakeholders in making informed business decisions.
CloudA network of remote servers hosted on the internet to store, manage, and process data, providing on-demand computing resources and services.
Cluster AnalysisA method of statistical analysis used to classify objects or data points into relative groups or clusters based on their characteristics and similarity.
DataInformation in the form of facts, figures, or details that are collected, stored, and used for reference or analysis.
Data AnalyticsThe technique of systematically applying statistical or logical tools to describe, summarize, and evaluate data.
Data MiningThe technique of exploring and analyzing large datasets to discover meaningful patterns, trends, and relationships, often using sophisticated algorithmic processes.
Data ModelingThe method of creating a visual representation or diagram of a data system or its parts to communicate the relationships between data points and structures.
Data VisualizationThe technique of representing data through visual elements like charts, graphs, and maps to help users understand trends, outliers, and patterns in a more intuitive manner.
MeanThe statistical measure that represents the average value in a set of numbers, calculated by dividing the sum of all values by the number of values.
MedianThe middle value in a sorted list of numbers, which separates the higher half from the lower half of the dataset.
ModeThe value that appears most frequently in a data set, representing the most common or frequent observation.
QueryingThe process of making requests for information or data from a database using specific queries or commands.
Recurring ReportsRegularly scheduled reports that are generated and presented periodically to track and analyze ongoing activities or performance metrics.
Regression AnalysisA statistical method for estimating the relationships among variables, often used to determine how dependent variables are affected by changes in independent variables.
Standard DeviationA measure of the amount of variation or dispersion in a set of values, indicating how much the individual data points differ from the mean or average.
Structured DataData that is highly organized, formatted in a specific way, and usually stored in databases or spreadsheets, making it easy to search, process, and analyze.
Text AnalyticsThe process of extracting meaningful information and insights from textual data using various methods, including data mining, natural language processing, and statistical pattern learning.
Unstructured DataData that lacks a predefined format or organization, often making it difficult to collect, process, and analyze without specialized tools and techniques.
ValuesDiscrete pieces of information, often numerical or categorical, that are used in data analysis and can be manipulated or processed by machines.

These terms cover a wide spectrum of concepts in data analytics, providing a foundational understanding of the field.

Frequently Asked Questions Related to Data Analytics

What is the difference between data analytics and data science?

Data analytics involves analyzing datasets to find trends and answer questions, often with a focus on specific business insights or objectives. It’s more about applying models and learning from the data. In contrast, data science combines domain expertise, programming skills, and knowledge of mathematics and statistics to extract meaningful insights from data. Data science encompasses a broader spectrum of data analysis that includes creating new algorithms, predictive models, and even new ways to analyze data.

How is data analytics used in decision-making?

Data analytics helps in decision-making by providing quantitative and qualitative analysis of data. It transforms raw data into actionable insights, helping businesses to understand the trends, discover patterns, and make predictions based on historical data. This empowers decision-makers to base their strategic moves on data-driven insights rather than intuition, leading to more accurate and effective decisions.

What are the key skills required for a career in data analytics?

A career in data analytics requires a combination of skills. These include proficiency in programming languages like Python or R, a good understanding of statistical and mathematical concepts, expertise in data visualization tools like Tableau or Power BI, and strong problem-solving skills. Additionally, domain knowledge, communication skills, and a keen sense for detail are important to translate data findings into actionable business strategies.

What are the challenges commonly faced in data analytics?

Common challenges in data analytics include dealing with poor quality data, integrating data from multiple and diverse sources, and managing large volumes of data (big data). Other challenges are ensuring data privacy and security, staying updated with rapidly evolving technologies, and bridging the gap between derived insights and actionable business decisions.

How does machine learning relate to data analytics?

Machine learning is a subset of artificial intelligence that uses statistical methods to enable machines to improve with experience. In the context of data analytics, machine learning algorithms are used to analyze historical data and predict future trends, patterns, and behaviors. While traditional data analytics can provide insights and predictions based on past data, machine learning can automate the analysis and decision-making processes by continuously learning and adapting from new data.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

What's Your IT
Career Path?
All Access Lifetime IT Training

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Total Hours
2626 Hrs 29 Min
13,344 On-demand Videos

Original price was: $699.00.Current price is: $219.00.

Add To Cart
All Access IT Training – 1 Year

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Total Hours
2626 Hrs 29 Min
13,344 On-demand Videos

Original price was: $199.00.Current price is: $79.00.

Add To Cart
All Access Library – Monthly subscription

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Total Hours
2626 Hrs 29 Min
13,344 On-demand Videos

Original price was: $49.99.Current price is: $16.99. / month with a 10-day free trial

You Might Be Interested In These Popular IT Training Career Paths

Entry Level Information Security Specialist Career Path

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Total Hours
109 Hrs 39 Min
502 On-demand Videos

Original price was: $129.00.Current price is: $51.60.

Add To Cart
Network Security Analyst Career Path

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Total Hours
96 Hrs 49 Min
419 On-demand Videos

Original price was: $129.00.Current price is: $51.60.

Add To Cart
Leadership Mastery: The Executive Information Security Manager

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Total Hours
95 Hrs 38 Min
346 On-demand Videos

Original price was: $129.00.Current price is: $51.60.

Add To Cart

today Only: 1-Year For $79.00!

Get 1-year full access to every course, over 2,600 hours of focused IT training, 20,000+ practice questions at an incredible price of only $79.00

Learn CompTIA, Cisco, Microsoft, AI, Project Management & More...