Chris Hubbard

@chriswhubbard Market Strategy

November 1, 2013

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5 Easy Ways To Learn More About Big Data

Don't just read about big data, know about it.

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From LinkedIn to blogs and websites around the world, everyone seems to be screaming about big data, but most assume you have at least a basic level of understanding about data to begin with. So where can you go to learn more about the subject of data itself? Here are five paths worth exploring:

1 – Books

A tried-and-true form of education. Whether you go hardcover, softcover, or kindle, books are still one of the best ways to get educated on the cheap. Here are four books on data worth browsing.

1 - Big Data : A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think
“A revelatory exploration of the hottest trend in technology and the dramatic impact it will have on the economy, science, and society at large.”

2 - Big Data Now
Very popular guide to data that is claimed to be “Relevant to anyone who creates, collects or relies upon data. Not just a technical book or a business guide”

3 - The Numerati 
A book about the sheer magnitude of data being produced today, how it’s being produced, harvested, and who is using it to do what kind of things.

4 - Big Data For Dummies
The classic series for everyone. This book focuses more on understanding the components of data, and how to put them to use in your organisation.

2 – Free online courses at Coursera

Coursera shot to fame for it’s free university-level online courses from both local and well-known universities like Cornell and Harvard.  If you’re serious about learning more about big data, you’re in luck. Coursera has 3 courses going on right now, that you can join anytime for free.

1 – “Data Structures and Algorithms“, or “数据结构与算法” offered by Peking University is a 14-week long course that covers fundamental data structures and classical algorithms used in operating systems and computer graphics. This course started October 20th but you can still join.

2 – “Big Data in Education” is a free course being offered by Columbia University that teaches students how and when to use key methods for educational data mining and learning analytics.

3 – The “Data Analysis” course from John Hopkins University, which is also free, started October 28, is 8 weeks long, and will cover the most effective data analysis methods being used to solve problems and achieve data based insights.

 3 – Wikipedia

Another great way to learn more about Big Data and a barrage of other related topics. The Big Data page on Wikipedia explains a lot. The best thing about Wikipedia is being able to explore related topics through in-page links, which can lead to infinite discoveries.

4 – LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn groups are a great way to learn about Big Data, and join conversations on the subject. Here are a few that I’m a member of and would recommend:

The Big Data Group – With 77,000+ members this group is for anyone wanting to participate in discussions around data, analytics, and strategy. You can always find interesting discussions, like this one on “Big Data is like teenage sex”

GIS, Mapping, and Geo Technology Professionals Group – While not specifically about Big Data, you can find a lot of discussions on data and how it relates to other industries like GIS and mapping services. 

 5 – The getchee blog

While some of the resources above are a great place to go for a basic education on Big Data, you can find a lot of in-depth articles here on the getchee blog on how data can be put to use, especially for retailers. Explore some of our other data related posts here.

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