Data Analysis. Business Intelligence. Big Data. These are the key terms that are defining an entire industry and redefining how students and job seekers are preparing for their future, or shifting gears in their present careers and positions. Many colleges and universities are now offering majors in these fields. The companies producing the software are giving classes, have established training and certification processes and are giving away free versions of their software to attract new users.

Data visualizations can be effective in so many subjects – science, math, social studies, business. You don’t have to be a database specialist to use these tools. They are intuitive and contagious. When you start to use the tools on a dataset, spreadsheet, text file, or other source, you are immediately empowered and your curiosity peaks. What if I looked at my data this way? or that way? or in combination with this other data? These are questions that you can start asking even if you are a middle or high school student or teacher who has never had the opportunity to use tools like this before.

Let’s say your class did a bird study where you live. What if you mapped those sightings by species, by time of year? What would you find? Maybe you live on an island in the Pacific Northwest like I do where we have bald eagles and osprey. They almost always nest high where they have a view and close to water because they tend to fish. Perhaps a map of that data would show those spots clearly to be in shoreline areas.

Tableau Public offers a bunch of free training course material and videos.

Microsoft Power BI has a Getting Started Guide that is very useful.

Microstrategy has online training.

You can Google search Business Intelligence Certification Programs Online here and see that the list of schools offering these programs is growing by leaps and bounds.

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