Some reading material for the course (other information is posted on Blackboard):

Introduction to Analytics Readings:

Software Tools:

  • Weka data mining tool (This is what we’ll use in class.  Go ahead and download it and install)
  • Alpine Data Labs for data mining (MSiA uses this, but it doesn’t work well enough on PC’s for us to use it.  But, feel free to download it and try it out)
  • KNIME— another open source data mining tool.  I just recently heard from good things about this product.  We probably won’t use in class, but it gives you another tool to test if you are interested.
  • Tableau Public (the public version of Tableau– don’t put confidential data up here).  I tested this on my blog.  We’ll use this later in the class.  For training on Tableau, check out the training videos.
  • If you are curious about Python– I don’t think I’ll be able to teach this in the class, but a lot of data scientists use it.  Here is how download Python 2.7 and get installed and the popular, Learn Python the Hard Way to learn how to program in it.
  • If you are curious, here is R and R-Studio.
  • If you are good with Excel and want to try some Business Intelligence with it, try PowerPivot. (hat tip, Patricio)

Reading on Data Mining and Machine Learning

Reading on Visualization:

Big Data Articles

Creating an Analytics Capability Inside an Organization

  • Read the Optimization Edge, Part II, Chapters 4, 5, and 6
  • Read the Davenport article, Competing on Analytics
  • Davenport also has a few blog posts about organizational structure and analytics.  Here are a few:  Analytics Service Line, a two part article on good structures (Part 1 and Part 2), and a write up of Food Lion.

WSJ Article from May 9, 2013:  “Sorry College Grads I Probably Won’t Hire You

Although not a perfect article, (we need to substitute “analytics” for programming) and you need to think about managing these projects.  Here is a key slice of the article:

I don’t mean that you need to become genius programmers, the kind who hack into NASA’s computers for fun. Coding at such a level is a very particular and rare skill, one that most of us—myself included—don’t possess, just as we don’t possess the athletic ability to play for the New York Knicks.

What we nonexperts do possess is the ability to know enough about how these information systems work that we can be useful discussing them with others. Consider this example: Suppose you’re sitting in a meeting with clients, and someone asks you how long a certain digital project is slated to take.

Unless you understand the fundamentals of what engineers and programmers do, unless you’re familiar enough with the principles and machinations of coding to know how the back end of the business works, any answer you give is a guess and therefore probably wrong. Even if your dream job is in marketing or sales or another department seemingly unrelated to programming, I’m not going to hire you unless you can at least understand the basic way my company works. And I’m not alone.

If you want a job in media, technology or a related field, make learning basic computer language your goal this summer. There are plenty of services—some free and others affordable—that will set you on your way.

Usually, the comments on these types of articles are strange.  But, from a managers point of view, this one jumped out at me.  I’ve found that managers who know the language of analytics and something about databases do a better job at managing.  That is what I’m trying to do in this course.  Here is the quote:

Have you ever worked for a “manager” who didn’t know how to program? It’s terrible. It’s so terrible I’d recommend new graduates make sure they don’t end up working for a Baby Boomer manager who can’t program or speak intelligently about database management, building reusable code or using modern web tools to manage projects.

Programming is simply part of the modern workplace – there are things people should know how to do regardless of whether they work in HR or in the engineering department. I think the advice is sound – learn to program in 2 languages, and at least dabble a bit in database management. You don’t need to be able to program well, but you should understand what can and cannot be done with programming.



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