Math Department hosts Google data analyst at colloquium

Megan Behnke, Reporter

On Monday, Feb. 10, the UWO Mathematics Department held their first colloquium of the semester, bringing in UWO alumni to discuss data analysis.

VP of Finance at Crucible Metal Solutions, Inc. Nick Charles to talk about data analysis, along with Manoj Ashwin, a data analyst at Google, via video chat were among the guests.

Charles said the first part is defining data, then taking that data and getting some type of information out of it. “We have a whole bunch of facts right here,” Charles said. “And we have to somehow irrigate those facts into some meaningful information for the people in charge.

At my company, it’s the owner of their company, that we’re trying to take all this data and figure out one way.” Charles said right now, they are in the phase of descriptive analytics. “Descriptive analytics is really taking all this historical data, and trying to get some meaningful information from it,” Charles said. “But we’re really not doing any type of prediction stuff with it just yet.

You’re really not fitting a model for the data or predict anything at this point. We’re trying to get there, but we have limited resources.”

Charles said when it comes to getting a master’s degree for data analytics, one thing that still confuses him is the difference between data science and data analytics. “There are data science programs out there and data analytics programs out there,” Charles said.

“We went to a data analytics program, but yet it was voted No. 1 data science program in the country. I think it’s a little blurry at this point of what is data science and what is data analytics.” Ashwin gave his own perspective of the difference between data science and data analysis.

“It’s dependent on the company and the role,” Ashwin said. “The reason why it is so sexy is because it’s a combination of three key things. One is technology, lots of coding and so on.

Second thing is lots of statistics. The third thing is about business knowledge. All these three things together make a data analyst.” Charles said a resource on the internet that he would like to keep learning more about with data science and data analytics is Data Camp. “If you are interested in learning more about the data world, I think $30 is a good deal,” Charles said about Data Camp. Ashwin said a good resource he’s found about data analytics is Kaggle, a Google subsidiary. “What they have is they have so many datasets for you to play out,” Ashwin said.

“It’s a nice program which has data sets and not only coding but they’ve done all these analytics and send data out in forums. And it’s free.” Charles said in his opinion, had he gone through those Data Camp modules, his content knowledge would probably be just as extensive as the master’s degree program.

“I think, content-wise, you can learn everything you want from these resources that are out there,” Charles said. “But then after that you kind of have to somehow get a connection with somebody at the employer to put your foot forward for an interview.”