A simple search of the term “big data” on the Google News search tab will yield hundreds of results of different industries, brands, and governments using big data to their advantage. Heck, there are even think pieces about big data, opining that it is an ancient method for society.

Big data has become a crucial component to do business in the high-tech, fast-paced, globalized economy. If you’re a corporation and you’re shunning big data, then you may not have a prayer.

To compete, survive, thrive, and flourish, you need big data. You just need to know how to leverage it for your own purposes.

Here are five things every student learns in big data courses:

1. The Tools of the Trade

When you enter the world of big data, there’s a myriad of tools and programs to add to your arsenal. In school, you will be taught several of these tools that often go hand in hand with successful analytics endeavours.

These are just some of the suites you will master over time (sometimes certification is needed):

  • SQL, R, SPSS, and SAS
  • Cassandra
  • Cloudera
  • CHAID
  • Rapidminer

Essentially, you will be taught the elementary components of various data science platforms.

2. Making Sense of Big Data

What is the use of having big data if you don’t what to make of it all? It’s great to have access to a treasure trove of data, but if you can’t leverage it properly then it’s useless.

For any organization, it is critical to begin structuring vast amounts of data. Ultimately, you not only need to have the technological capability to unpack all of the data, you need to have a plan to efficiently analyze the immense volumes of information and locate anything that is relevant to your business, marketing plans, or cost-cutting initiatives.

Just because you are incorporating big data into your business model, it doesn’t mean that’s the only step you need to take.

3. Changing the Corporate Culture

It has only been in the last few years that all Major League Baseball teams have embraced data analytics and big data. At first, it was only a couple of teams (and they were successful). Today, it is every team that has adopted this approach. Why? Because it works.

However, they needed to first modify and update the corporate culture. The longtime employees needed to adapt to the changes. If not, the new approach would be resisted, the goals would be abandoned, and everything would return to the status quo.

Every big data course discusses how decades-old businesses may be apprehensive, but with proper deliberations, discussions, and investments, they will eventually be excited.

4. Business Objectives Come First

What comes first in the world of big data? The data or company objectives?

Yes, you are finally imposing big data on the rest of the company, but the business objectives should still come first. Remember, big data and analytics are only complementary tools.

Moving forward, you will need to find away to have big data and mission statements coexist.

5. As They Say: Less is More

Big data has a coquettish appeal. You have collected a vast amount of data about everything and anything. You are therefore tempted to utilize it all. But this is impossible because it can be quite hard to disseminate decent and relevant insights.

In other words, you may locate 5,000 predictors from your big data, but it is extremely difficult to leverage and operationalize all of those predictors. What you should do instead is try to find five and then put that into practice. If it doesn’t work, then try to locate five more.

Big data courses often institute the old adage of “less is more” in all of their materials.

Every business – large and small – is tapping into big data analytics. To take advantage of this worldwide trend, corporations and startups need data scientists, which serves as an incredible opportunity for young professionals trying to find a new career. It begins with big data courses, whether it’s at home or inside of a brick-and-mortar classroom.