New technology paved the way for increased competition in the global marketplace. Today, businesses around the globe compete for local and international clients, and they use data to refine their operations. People who don’t work as information technology (IT) professionals might be confused by popular terms such as big data, data analytics, and data mining. Understanding what data is, where it comes from, and the distinction between data and information enables business leaders to use data analysis to compete internationally. Let’s examine the difference between data and information, how to launch an IT career, and examples of how some companies use data analytics to make business decisions.
How does data differ from information?
Data refers to raw details contained in structured and unstructured data. While data is beneficial, it gains value once it’s analyzed. That’s when data becomes information. Processing data converts it to meaningful information that influences business decisions. Companies use data mining to gather data. Businesses may review databases, social media sites, and other information sources to collect raw data. Once all the necessary data is gathered, it’s analyzed.
In some cases, data analysts use data integration to combine data from various sources. Analysts may also use data virtualization when reviewing data. But how does data virtualization work? The data doesn’t have to be relocated or combined with other data with data virtualization. Instead, data virtualization enables data analytics software to review and manipulate data from multiple sources without interfering with the data at the source. Data virtualization is ideal for large corporations with reports from multiple international venues that need to be preserved for local analysis and should be considered when compiling business-wide reports.
Data analysis involves identifying patterns within the collected figures. Analysts may use predictive analytics to identify trends and project future outcomes based on various actions. Data analysis software converts figures into the information presented in reports, including performance reports and revenue projections. Data visualization software represents information visually, using maps, graphs, and other visual formats.
How can you launch an IT career?
IT professionals are in demand. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports computer and information research scientists will see job opportunities increase by 22 percent between 2020 and 2030, which is almost three times higher than the eight percent average job growth rate for all occupations during that period. The BLS also indicated as of May 2020, computer and information research scientists earned median incomes of $126,830 per year, while database administrators and architects took home median annual incomes of $98,860. The strong demand and high salaries are just two reasons to consider an IT career.
Aspiring IT professionals can pursue an associates degree in information technology to prepare to enter this career field. While completing 60 credit hours, students take courses such as introduction to software applications, spreadsheet applications, and database applications. Students also take fundamentals of data visualization, which covers how to collect and process data and use data visualization to present information.
How do various companies use data and information?
Companies can save money by utilizing resources, reducing inventories, anticipating future demand, and adjusting their operations to meet future demand without investing in products that won’t sell. A power generation company may evaluate large volumes of data to identify the most cost-effective, environmentally-friendly energy source. They may use consumer trends to prioritize renewable energy, such as solar or wind power.
A medical equipment manufacturer may use data virtualization to review figures from health care sources around the globe to evaluate health care trends and determine what diagnostic equipment or medical treatments will be in demand in the next decade. The manufacturer can prioritize appropriate research and development, ensuring their company meets global demand.
Data is raw figures that become information when analyzed. Information enables businesses in all sectors to make informed decisions about their operations, remaining profitable while meeting consumer demand.