Xiaosong Zhai leads our data gathering practice, preparing curious information for ingestion into our Advanced Business Database. Today, he talks to us about the importance of understanding the data you process - whether you're a pro data analyst, a hobbyist investigator, or even new a user of the Trade Data Connect program through our partnership with the World Trade Center.
In the era of big data, data literacy becomes a workplace ability!
In the world we live in today, with so much instant information being generated every day, how do we interpret it all? And not just interpret it all, but how do we use it to make informed and insightful decisions? That's by developing your "data literacy"
More and more companies are relying on and using data, and for these companies, their employees need to work with data on a daily basis. Therefore, these companies need a "data literate" workforce that can leverage data to create more value for the business.
The result of the lack of "data literacy" is that companies have difficulty in understanding the real business situation and cannot effectively and quickly know the potential risks and opportunities, which greatly hinders business development.
How many of us have been swiping through the news on our cell phones when our attention is suddenly drawn to other news and we start to wonder, "Is this the right news?" Or how many of us have read a newspaper or other paper and wondered if the information was true or false?
In the world we live in today, how do we interpret all the instant information that is generated every day? And not only interpret it all, how do we use it to make informed and insightful decisions? That is by developing your "data literacy"
The four skills of data literacy?
First: the ability to read data.
Let's say we're shopping online. At first, we have no idea which one product is right for us. So our first step is to read the information and data provided by the Internet. When we choose a product, we read the information provided and try to understand it to make a more informed decision.
The same thing happens with any data set, must be able to understand what we are dealing with to take further steps.
Second: the ability to use data
The ability to use data means that we are comfortable with the data that is presented to us. For example, here at rel8ed.to we deal with great loads of records from open sources, our ability to to use and interpret the data allows us to identify scams, errors and save our clients from misleading information. The ways in which we manipulate diverse types of data enables us to see things from different perspectives and find solutions.
Third: the ability to analyze data
If we go back to our online shopping example the purchase decision comes down to the third skill of data literacy, the ability analyze data.
Data analysis is about understanding the "why" behind the information, as much as it can be about "so what". I always say that we need to look beyond the surface to understand deeper and come to an understanding.
In this day and age just having information is not enough. If we go one step further and we interpret the pieces of information that are presented to us, we are able to take one step towards better decision making. For our example that would mean being able to interpret what might be behind the reviews of "Brand X" and "Brand Y" on a particular product and really understand what they are saying. Maybe that shinny and expensive rice cooker is just not that great.
Fourth: The ability to question the data
Analysis also means the courage to ask questions. With the prevalence of social media today, we should question the veracity of many of the things that we see and hear. At the end, having the courage to ask questions and understand "why" is about curiosity and the desire to learn. Once we question we will most likely be able to endorse a position based on facts and figures. Then, oceans of data will not seem so daunting anymore.
rel8ed.to believes that to develop data literacy there are four main skills that must be developed: reading, using, analyzing and questioning data. These skills enable everyone to understand all the information and then make the best possible decisions. If you would like to know more about rel8ed.to and data literacy Engage With Us.
This post was written by Xiaosong Zhai.