An Intro to data for new web developers
Doubtless you have heard terms like "data analysis", "market research", "split testing" and "big data" being thrown around from time to time or felt pressure to make "data driven" decisions - but what does any of this actually mean?
Peel back the trendy marketing terms surrounding this ambiguous resource we call data, and you'll find many small business owners typically in one of two places: either playing a game they hardly understand but spending a lot of money on it, or feeling behind because they are so busy running their business that they haven't even begun to think about data for their business. Before jumping into such topics as creating a data-centered company culture or the value of split testing your web site, let's start with some definitions so that we're all in the same place.
First off - what is "Big Data" anyway?
For being such a common term, it is surprising how few people can give any definition, much less the correct one, for Big Data. The term Big Data is often used to mean all the data generated on the internet that can be searched for trends, but, when the term is used by data analysts and others in that field, they simply mean any data sets that are so large or complex that the usual methods of processing information cannot deal with them. So, Big Data is not one large communal entity floating out there in the ether - instead it refers to the complex collections of information that have become commonplace as internet traffic and the ability to track that traffic has grown. In fact, our current data-centered trend and the role of data analysts exist entirely because the internet started generating so much big data (read here - so many unmanageably large collections of data).
Web Development and Data Science go hand in hand, and as web developers we need to have a good understanding of just how important and difficult it is to record accurate data from our websites. Not only is it a hot skill that looks great on a resume, but it is also true that small clients are leaning on web developers for their data insights more and more, making it almost essential that every web developer know their way around google analytics and other website analytics tools. This article is far too short and shallow give an education on data, but to educate yourself further on the subject, there are courses and tutorials on data science and analytics on most elearning sites like Lynda, Udacity, and edX.
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