1. Course Introduction


In this lesson, we’ll outline the motivation for this course, and introduce the material that we’ll cover in the following lessons.

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  1. Course Outline (01:05)

    Data can deliver significant benefits to companies, but is often not well understood by people. This course explains some key underlying principles of data, in three main sections:

    1. We’ll learn what structured data is, and how you can use it in data analysis

    2. We’ll learn how to obtain structured data, and how to convert data to a structured format.

    3. We’ll introduce several key concepts relation to databases, which are a common data source used by many businesses.


Over the past several decades, data analysis has become one of the largest growth areas for a variety of companies both large and small.

Through the use of modern technology, companies are able to gather and analyze more data than ever before. Without this data, companies would have to make decisions solely based on human judgment, which is prone to errors, bias, and other feelings.

Collecting and analyzing data, when done correctly, allows companies to make decisions based on real evidence and achieve better results. Well, at least that's the theory. In reality, many people don't know a huge amount about the world of data. Perhaps they can work with an Excel spreadsheet to create a few formulas, and use various data points to accomplish specific tasks.

However, the underlying principles, or the notion of more advanced data analysis is a mystery to them. If this sounds like you, then this course will be helpful.

This course is divided into three broad sections. In the first part of this course, we'll introduce the concept of structured data, and explain how it can improve your ability to analyze data.

Next, we'll discuss how to obtain this structured data. We'll look at various data sources, as well as how to convert unstructured data into a structured format.

Finally, we'll spend several lessons introducing key concepts related to databases.

Databases are a common source of structured data found in many businesses.

They can be slightly intimidating if you're more familiar with Excel as a data source. Now that we've established the plan for this course, we can get started.

In the next lesson, we'll introduce the key concept of structured data.

a b c
Understanding Data
Introduction to Data and Databases


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