[the following piece originally appeared in Dutch on the personal blog of Kristof, ksmrs.nl. A second piece is in the making and will also appear on the Bannerconnect blog in English]
Kristof Soomers always had a passion for computer-related business. No wonder he has been with Bannerconnect for almost 4 years. Within his role as Data Analyst, he is able to fully put his programming knowledge and creativity to the test by launching cool and innovative projects like Alfred.
At Bannerconnect people have the tendency to say ‘…kan je leren!’ (‘…you can learn that’) after every Dutch word that ends with -eren. The Dutch word for analysing (analyseren) is one of those words. Often there is little truth in the phrase ‘…kan je leren!’ and is the phrase only used in a purely comical way. However, as the title suggests, you actually can learn how to analyse.
When I started working on this article I first did some research on the Web. My first search immediately landed me on a website of one of the many self-study websites that offer courses for payment. In an article on that website, they stated that you can learn to do analyses by learning a programming language. Although my colleagues at Bannerconnect are all very strong analytically, only a small number is currently able to program. Since their analyses are often found to be effective and correct by both internal and external people, it is doubtful whether you actually need a programming language to learn how to analyse.
Sure, having any programming knowledge has many advantages, and not just in the field of data analysis. In the world in which we live now, it’s the expectation that common logic, as used in programming languages, is a widely known matter. However, this is not a requirement for a thorough analysis. If the data is provided in a way you can work with, the use of advanced methods is not necessary.
It turns out that this is the crux. When setting up innovative projects, we often reach a point where we need data that is not available through the “standard” routes. At this point, programming knowledge comes into the frame, and at Bannerconnect we’ve found a solution for this. We have a platform named Alfred where I, as Data Analyst, can develop pieces of software that are made available internally. Since Alfred has been set up as a modular framework, it is very easy to customize reports so that everybody internally can exploit their own creativity and innovation.
By giving everyone access to the data that is important for his/her role and by allowing them to “play” with that data, suddenly everyone is capable of analysing. And although everyone has their own way of doing it, it’s pretty clear that you indeed can learn how to analyse.
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