Imagine you’re a John Carroll University economics major, well-versed in solving the problem of prediction with economic theory, but unsure if you have career options that involve data analytics. Or imagine you are a John Carroll marketing major, aware that every consumer product maker is using analytics to connect the dots in the hopes of linking the right messages to the right customers.

At some liberal arts colleges and universities, students would look to so-called tech boot camps for summer or post-bac skill building as they approach graduation and the job market. John Carroll University and the Boler College of Business has partnered with Podium Education to create opportunities for students to fortify their portfolio of data analytics skills and credentials as part of their larger program plan.

Forbes Magazine (December 17, 2021) quotes interim dean of the Boler College of Business Scott Moore in an article that looks at a new partnership between John Carroll University and Podium, a provider of targeted online programs in data analytics.

Moore says: “Podium has taken the boot camp approach and provided a way for universities to include it in the regular curriculum. It brings boot-camp relevance to these courses which are also relevant to employees. It gives students the practical aspects of building in-demand skills.”

JCU Analytics Edge

JCU’s Analytics Edge builds an analytics foundation with courses in Excel and Tableau. The courses support students who have little to no data analysis or coding experience. They learn skills, such as how to query and aggregate data and answer questions using data. They can then move on to more specialized courses and add a Data Science Minor or the coming Business Analytics Minor planned for 2022.

For someone enrolled in marketing, the joint JCU-Podium data analytics offering refines their ability to anticipate customers’ future wants and expectations based on past behavior. Such data-driven insights sharpen graduates’ capacity to create and test customized offers and messages, whether in broad campaigns or in segmented and targeted offers. It also boosts their resume with clear credentials that demonstrate in-demand skills, as the value of data analytics in business continues to rise.

Enrollment is now open for Spring 2022 for a variety of JCU Analytics Edge courses. Boler’s Business Analysis with Excel course covers how to utilize tools like Excel to analyze real-world datasets and solve real-world problems.

The Data Visualization with Tableau course moves into tools like Tableau that allow students to become a data storyteller. They learn to apply key design principles and create digestible and dynamic data visualizations. Completing the course earns John Carroll students a digital badge as a Tableau Specialist and prepares them to earn the Tableau Specialist Certification.

The Value of Data Analytics

Podium’s Head of Data Science and Curriculum Chair, Robert Alvarez, Ph.D.,designs the Podium courses and also provides instruction. Dr. Alvarez served as Artificial Intelligence advisor at NASA’s Frontier Development Lab, as Supply Chain Data Scientist at Intel, and he also has taught Machine Learning and Data Science at Santa Clara University.

For someone enrolled in economics, the case studies used in the JCU-Podium data analytics offerings (from such companies as AirBnB, Google, Spotify and Kiva) illustrate the difference between the traditional econometric approach to causality and the pure pattern recognition that comes from machine-learning becomes clear. From an employer’s perspective, someone who can toggle between the two approaches to prediction becomes even more valuable.

According to the Forbes article, the Podium course that uses a data set from Netflix, asks students to explore what programming they would offer in different countries based on their analysis of the viewing habits of people around the world.

Moore says the benefit of partnering with Podium is that it allows John Carroll University to add this component to the curriculum without capital investment and the long-lead time that it normally takes a college to add a new program.

A recent Workforce Report from LinkedIn suggests that the national shortage of professionals with data science and analytics skills is more than 150,000 people. The World Economic Forum’s The Future of Jobs Report 2018 identifies that data analysts are needed across industries, from healthcare to financial services.