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What is Data Mining? How to Pursue a Career in this Exciting Field

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Companies are now seeing data analytics as a crucial part of strategy development and decision-making. Many businesses have realised the benefits of making the best use of the vast amounts of information available to them, and they know that this process must begin with effective data mining.

But what is data mining exactly? More importantly, what skills do you need to do it, and how can you best pursue a career in this field?

Let’s dive in.

what is data mining

What is Data Mining?

Data mining involves analysing huge sets of data in order to identify useful information. During this process, data mining specialists look for anomalies, correlations, and patterns in the data to make predictions and recommendations that will help companies solve problems, develop better strategies, and improve their outcomes.

It’s easy to see where the mining analogy comes from: analysts need to sift through mountains of material to find a few valuable pieces.

Data mining can be performed on different types of data sets:

  • Relational databases, which are formally organised so that the data can be accessed without recognising the database tables.
  • Object-relational databases use a hybrid approach combining relational data and object-oriented practices.
  • Data warehouses, which draw on data from a variety of sources within an organisation, typically compile enormous volumes of information.
  • Data repositories technically means any destination for data storage, but may also refer to a specific data storage structure within an IT network.

How to Learn Data Mining

Data mining is a specialisation within the broader field of data science. Professionals in this sector require a range of skills, from IT and programming knowledge to business expertise and analytical skills.

However, experts in data mining require a very particular set of skills, notably:

  • Proficiency in data analysis tools such as SQL, SAS, Hadoop, and NoSQL
  • Understanding of domains, as well as data collection and cleaning
  • Basic knowledge of statistics
  • Knowledge of machine learning, deep learning algorithms, and natural language processing algorithms
  • Familiarity with programming languages, specifically Python, Java, and Perl
  • Experience with Linux operating systems
  • Communication and presentation skills

Most roles in data mining require some kind of graduate degree in data science. Along with a number of technical skills, soft skills such as the ability to communicate information are also essential, as a key part of this process is presenting findings to internal and external stakeholders.

A postgraduate course in Data Science is the best way to gain the technical skills needed for data mining. A diploma in this discipline may be enough to secure one of the positions mentioned if you already have experience in a related industry —  but a master’s may be necessary, especially if you’re looking to transition from another sector. The best programmes will also help you to develop the soft skills necessary to excel in this field.

For example, EDHEC Online MSc in Data Management & Business Analytics covers all aspects of data management, with an emphasis on the most recent data science techniques, as well as the design and communication of recommendations.

Career Prospects in Data Mining

The data science sector, and in particular the sub-field of data mining, is growing rapidly, now offering a diverse range of exciting career paths.

Roles that involve data mining include:

The average annual salary for a Data Mining Analyst is $88,414 according to Glassdoor, while Payscale says you can expect to earn around $65,000 a year as a Data Mining Specialist.

A typical day as a data mining specialist may include using data analysis tools to mine data, research trends, and model relationships, then drawing conclusions. You will also report these findings to clients or colleagues, often using data visualisations like charts, graphs, and infographics.

Data scientists, particularly those specialising in data mining, are in high demand in the modern business world. Today, virtually every company needs to deal with vast amounts of data, so they need specialised professionals to help them make sense of it and make the best use of this information.

Furthermore, jobs in data science are expected to continue to grow in the future: the US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 36% growth in the sector between 2021 and 2031.

Develop the Right Skills to Pursue a Career in Data Mining

If you’re serious about pursuing a career in data mining, it’s worth considering a formal, recognised qualification in data science, such as EDHEC Online MSc in Data Management & Business Analytics

You’ll not only gain a thorough understanding of what data mining is, but also become immediately operational in data analytics. This recognised qualification can open doors to a number of rewarding career paths in data mining, data management, or business and financial analytics.

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