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Ramp you your data skills in 2020
January 8, 2020

How to take your data skills to the next level in 2020


Staying ahead in a data-driven world requires an ability to adapt to change and continually upskill with the latest knowledge and expertise. The need to not only keep up, but push a level above competitors could make you feel like you’ve stepped onto a set of impossible Escher stairs. But we know you love a challenge! Enhance your skills to leverage BI trends and ensure your business gets the most from its data. Here are a few resources to give you the oomph you need for your 2020 data journey. 

Data science books to boost your brainpower in 2020

Here are 10 books that are a must-read for budding and experienced data scientists:


1. Head First Statistics: A Brain-Friendly Guide. This is an excellent book for those at the beginning of their data science journey. It introduces fundamental statistics concepts, like mean, median and standard deviation in an easy to understand way.



2. Practical Statistics for Data Scientists. Another great book for beginners. It provides an overview of all the main concepts in data science.



3. R for data science. A good resource for beginners who want to learn the programming language R. 



4. Introduction to Machine Learning with Python: A Guide for Data Scientists. Reading this book will give beginners a useful introduction to machine learning. Even though the book includes examples in Python, the reader doesn’t require any previous programming language experience.



5. Introduction to Probability. Those that have a basic grounding in probability will find this book a helpful next step in their learning path.



6. Python Machine Learning By Example. Readers that already possess a basic understanding of Python will gain the most from this volume. The information is supported with examples, which add relevancy.



7. Pattern recognition and machine learning. This book covers the topic of machine learning thoroughly with a particular focus on the mathematical aspect of data analytics. Readers may want to use this resource to supplement a machine learning course.



8. Python for data analysis. A practical guide to learning and applying the basics of data analysis.



9. Naked statistics. Here’s a book that makes statistics come alive! This easy-to-read, humorous volume takes the reader from the basics through to complex concepts.



10. Data Science and big data analytics. The reader will gain an understanding of why and how big data fits into the new digital world. The well-structured content provides the reader with an understanding of the big picture of big data!



Augment your abilities with data science training

Learning what you need to know when you need to know it is a fundamental component of learning and growth in our digital age. Here are a few online training resources that can help you supplement your data skillset and improve the data literacy of your organisation. 


  • Qlik training: Data and analytics software specialists, Qlik, offer various learning modalities on their software and the general analytics field. Their training options include free courses, instructor-led training, virtual instructor-led training and continuous classroom – a self-paced, continuous learning environment. Software-specific training includes:
    • Qlik Sense: Core training is grouped by job roles such as Business Analyst or Data Architect. Or by core capabilities such as creating reports and visualisations, data modelling and embedded analytics with Qlik Sense APIs.
    • QlikView: The same training options are available as for Qlik Sense.


  • Data Literacy Project: the Data Literacy Project, launched by Qlik, is a global community supporting the development of data literacy. The additional founding partners (Accenture, Cognizant, Experian, Pluralsight, the Chartered Institute of Marketing and Data to the People) share the vision of shaping a successful data literate society. 


Image credit: Data Literacy Project


The training they offer is free and ranges from assistance for data literacy newbies through to technophiles. The learning modules begin with an overview of data literacy, then data fundamentals, followed by foundational analytics, data-driven decision making and advanced analytics.


“Technology is not the lifeblood of the fourth industrial revolution, it is the people who are interacting with the technology and the data inputted and outputted from it. It is imperative people have the right skills. This requires more people to be able to read, work with, analyze, and argue with data.”

Kevin Hanegan, Qlik, Chief Learning Officer.




  • DataCamp: DataCamp provides technical training in programming languages like:
    1. R 
    2. Python 

Or topics such as:

  1. Data Science for Business Leaders 
  2. Data Visualisation 
  3. Probability & Statistics 
  4. Machine Learning



Top 10 most in-demand data science skills

According to Towards Data Science, these are the top 10 skills for those who wish to pursue or enrich their data science journey. 


1. Mathematics and statistics: This skill should include statistics and probability, multivariable calculus, linear algebra and optimisation methods.

2. Programming: Of course, you’ll need Python, R and potentially other languages like SQL and Hadoop.

3. Data wrangling and processing: Data is a tricky beast. To get the most value for your business, you need skills in wrangling, cleaning and processing data.

4. Data visualisation: Simplifying data through a visual medium speeds up the time to insights. For more information on best practices in data visualisation, you can delve deeper in our blog

Vizlib data visualisation dashboards


5. Machine learning: Understanding the machine learning framework is vital in data science. This will require familiarity with machine learning algorithms like continuous and variable prediction.

6. Real-world data science experience: There’s no substitute for on-the-ground experience in the data science field as a basis for further growth.

7. Communication: Effective collaboration requires good communication skills.

8. Life-long learner: Keeping up in this ever-changing field requires you to have a life-long learner mentality to succeed.

9. Team player: A team player builds and strengthens their relationships to ensure the whole team wins.

10. Ethics: An ethical approach to data science will ensure you get the true data story to your audience.


“Organizations need to spend time upskilling employees not only training on the latest technologies, like Big Data, Data Visualizations, and Data Science, but also on how employees should consume it, use it, and get insights and value from these technologies. This is a critical piece of the puzzle to properly upskilling the workforce.”

Kevin Hanegan, Qlik, Chief Learning Officer.


Upcoming data science events

Networking and knowledge sharing with industry experts can boost your business to the next level and help you outshine your competitors. Join your BI fellows at upcoming events such as:


  • Data Business Congress: 3-4 February, San Jose, California. This inaugural conference will focus on data creation, management and the value creation lifecycle. Topics include How data can transform the bottom line and The opportunities and risks with data value creation.


  • Gartner Data & Analytics Summit: 9-11 March, London, UK. This conference is a must for data and analytics leaders and will help you “rewire your culture for an AI-augmented future”. 



  • AI World Congress 2020: 24-25 March, London, UK. Speakers include delegates from IBM, Orange and Nvidia covering topics like AI, robotics and IoT. 


  • QlikWorld 2020: 11-14 May, Phoenix, Arizona. Qlik’s premier conference on data integration, analytics and AI is the event to attend in 2020 if you’re in the business intelligence field. *

*Please note:  The live event has been cancelled, however, QlikWorld 2020 is scheduled as a virtual event. Please consult the QlikWorld 2020 website for the latest details. 

Attendees will hear the latest trends and best practices directly from industry experts to shape their data pipeline and drive business value from their data. Discover what enhancements, releases and integrations will make your world of data and analytics seamless. 


Vizlib will be a Diamond Sponsor of QlikWorld 2020 and host a number of insights-packed sessions on data visualisation and self-service analytics. 



You can register for QlikWorld 2020 here


  • The Data Science Conference: 14-15 May, Chicago. Join data science industry leaders from Microsoft, AT&T, Google and other giants to enhance your knowledge at this promotions-free event. 


Keeping your knowledge and skills up to date will give you the foundation for an agile data strategy. One that aligns to your business goals and delivers the differentiation and value to take you and your business to the next level (and conquer any challenge, however improbable!).

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