How to Learn Data Mining: Best Online Courses
When it comes to dealing with large amounts of data, companies need data analysts who can mine that data. Think of it as workers digging coal from mines. The coal they dig is transported to factories where it goes through a process of refinement to be ready for use.
In the same way, data mining is the process of converting a large volume of data into useful information. Data analysts typically use artificial intelligence and machine learning to implement data mining. To any aspiring data analyst, that might be a daunting aspect. So, how difficult is it to learn data mining?
The short answer is, it’s not impossible. Learning data mining is not a complicated process. However, you’ll need to follow certain steps to make sure you’re going in the right direction. And that’s what we’re here for.
This article is a beginner’s guide to data mining. We’ll cover the basics of data mining, from its uses to who uses it, before launching into a step-by-step guide to learning it. After that, you’ll be rewarded with a list of the top data mining courses you can take online.
What Is Data Mining?
Data mining or knowledge discovery is the process of converting raw data into useful information through various software programs. The extracted information is used to create predictive models that are, in turn, used by organizations to analyze performance, predict growth, and improve operations.
Data mining is a multi-disciplinary process that combines machine learning, artificial intelligence, statistics, and database technology.
What Is Data Mining Used For?
We see applications of data mining in the day-to-day operations of various industries. Organizations use data mining to guide their decision-making processes. Below are several ways data mining is used across industries.
Data Mining Improves Customer Satisfaction
There are many different types of customers but each has his or her own set of motivations. When it comes to spending money, some form of the following thought process goes into the purchase. What do I need? What do I want? And, of course, what can I afford?
Through data mining, businesses can conduct consumer behavior modeling or profiling and meet the customer’s needs and motivations. These models can be used for any or all of the following:
- Market basket analysis. Data analysts perform data mining to conduct market basket analysis. These include the evaluation of patterns in the consumers’ use of credit cards, mobile banking apps, and cash to complete their transactions. This also includes an analysis of products that were purchased together as part of the same transaction. Doing so helps businesses devise sales promotion strategies.
- Sales forecasting. What’s your projected sales growth? How much do you expect to sell within a set period? How much do you expect to spend? Data mining helps determine whether your sales goals are viable or not and how resources should be used to reach a certain target.
- Managing inventory. As a business owner, it’s important to have a properly managed inventory that can track old and new items and sales. Data mining can help companies keep track of their inventory on a monthly, quarterly, and yearly basis.
- Customer segmentation. Businesses have different kinds of markets and the best way to generate sales is to reach their target audience. Data mining helps companies make informed decisions about their markets. Through data mining, companies can categorize their customers based on demographics, economic circumstances, and lifestyle.
Data Mining Improves Healthcare Management
By analyzing data from patient records, healthcare institutions can determine which treatments and practices work and which ones patients can afford. This ensures that patients receive the healthcare services they need at the right time and price.
Data mining also helps evaluate patterns in the frequency of anomalies during treatments and identify ways to mitigate these in the future. It should be noted that despite the relevance of data mining in the healthcare industry, much of its potential has yet to be realized.
Data Mining Detects Fraud
Data mining helps uncover any instance of fraud, from insurance fraud to identity theft and investment fraud. Data analysts use decision trees, neural networks, and logistic models to mine financial statements and documents and spot any pattern or behavior that hints at fraudulent activities.
Learn Data Mining: Step-by-Step
If you are thinking of becoming a data analyst or a data scientist, then learning data mining should be on your agenda. And if you’re looking for tips to master data mining, you have come to the right place. Below are steps that will help you learn data mining.
1. Learn Programming Languages
You can’t become a data miner if you’re not fluent in any programming languages. The most common programming languages used in data mining are R, SQL, SAS, and Python. There are numerous places online where you can go to learn to code for free.
2. Enroll in Online Data Mining Courses
Most online courses will teach you the process of data mining. So, once you have the first step down, you can go ahead and enroll in a data mining course. Remember to be selective with your choice of program. To help you, we’ve listed our picks of data mining courses in the following section.
3. Read Data Mining Books and Materials
Because of the intricacies of data mining, enrolling in one course after another may not be enough to help you master the process. This is why you should also consider reading relevant material.
There are many data mining-related books that you can purchase online or at bookstores. If you’re not a fan of long-form reading, check out some websites and blogs on data mining or data analysis. Such free resources can supplement your learning process.
4. Build Your Data Mining Experience with Internship Programs
What better way to reinforce your learning than to train in a professional environment where you can practice? Internships are one of the most effective ways to get hands-on learning experience in data mining. Internships also raise your chances of getting hired by the company you’re interning at or elsewhere.
Best Online Data Mining Courses
Online learning has become the norm. Many universities and schools have moved their degrees and certificates online to assist students in this changing time. You can find a variety of courses that can help you kickstart or advance your career in data mining.
Data Science A-Z: Real-Life Data Science Exercises Included
Offered by Udemy, this short course is designed to teach students about data preparation, logistic regression, and handling of data sets. You will also learn how to perform data mining in Tableau, clean data and look for anomalies, and apply SQL to data science projects.
Data Mining Specialization
This package by Coursera is actually five courses and a capstone project, brought together to teach beginners about data mining.
The upside is that it’s comprehensive. It covers mining techniques for structured and unstructured data. It also includes topics such as pattern discovery, clustering, text retrieval, text mining and analytics, and data visualization. The downside is that it takes eight months to complete. But considering the rewards, it does seem a good investment.
Big Data and Education
This big data course covers the strategies and methods to use educational data to make better decisions in the education sector. You will learn how to apply these methods using Python’s built-in machine learning library, scikit-learn. The course caters to learners of all levels and lasts eight weeks.
Harvard Business Analytics Program
This program is made up of six courses, two seminars, and two in-person immersions. Aimed at industry leaders, it covers data algorithms, AI, machine learning, neural networks, and data structures. If you want to polish your core data analysis skills, this program is a great option. Just be prepared to invest nine months of your time upon enrollment.
Data Manipulation with R
Provided by DataCamp, this 20-hour course gives you a great hands-on learning experience and helps improve your data manipulation skills. You will work with real-world data in real time and analyze it using multiple tables. You will also learn how to combine, merge, and create visualizations.
SQL Server Analysis Services – SSAS, Data Mining, And Analytics
This eight-hour beginner’s course is designed for anyone who has a basic working knowledge of SQL Server. You will go through some hands-on exercises, learn key concepts, and practice test questions for certifications. After the course, you will have a good grasp and knowledge of OLAP, analytics, and data mining.
Data-driven Decision Making
This introduction to data is great for learning about data analytics and big data. You will learn about the roles they play in business decision-making. The course will teach you the framework for conducting data analysis and equip you with the tools most commonly used in the process.
KDnuggets’ course on data mining includes various modules, assignments, and quizzes. You will learn about machine learning and data mining, classifications, and applications such as genomic microarray data mining. This course is self-paced so you can breeze past concepts you already know and focus on the ones you find challenging.
The Open Source Data Science Masters
This is an open-source course for anyone interested in learning data science for free. You will build your foundational knowledge of theory and technologies in the data science field. You will learn math such as statistics, linear algebra for programming, problem solving, and calculus. Part of the curriculum involves computing concepts such as databases, algorithms, and deep learning (neural networks).
Data Science Foundations
This course is designed for aspiring data scientists. It covers topics such as data compilation, preparation and modeling, and data science tools. After completing the course, you will earn a badge that will showcase your knowledge of the field.
Computing for Data Analysis
This course will teach you various data analytics concepts, tools, and techniques and how you can use these in practice. You will learn about storage, analysis, preprocessing, and interactive visualization of data.
Is Learning Data Mining Right for You?
Data collection and analysis have become integral tasks for most businesses and organizations. Proficiency in data mining thus opens plenty of doors across many industries.
According to Glassdoor, the average salary for data mining professionals is $114,121 in the United States. It can range from as low as $78,000 to as high as $150,000, depending on your experience and seniority in the field. The message is clear. Data is a gold mine of insights and opportunities. To extract these, you have to learn data mining.