Data Literacy: Understanding and learning about data

Data is everywhere. Whether it's checking the weather, reading news or browsing online; adjusting your smart thermostat; tracking your workout with a wearable device or communicating with others on social media platforms. But how data literate are you?

What is data literacy?

Data literacy is the ability to read, understand, and use data effectively. It is a crucial skill in today's data-driven world.

Why is data literacy important?

Data literacy is important for several reasons, including:

  • Making informed decisions based on facts and evidence
  • Staying competitive in a rapidly changing market
  • Improving job prospects and career opportunities
  • Understanding the world around us and its complex issues
These reasons are not only theoretical, but practical. According to a recent report by Forrester, "70% of employees are expected to work heavily with data by 2025 — up from just 40% in 2018."Bernard Marr, The Importance Of Data Literacy And Data Storytelling, Forbes

Free learning resources

Interested in learning more about data and how to use it effectively? Below are some free resources to get you started.

  • Data literacy training - Statistics Canada offers free courses for those new to data or those who may need a refresher. Make sure to check out their learning catalogue.
  • Data Literacy – What is it and why does it matter? - Coursera (free to audit)
  • Foundational Data Literacy Skills Course - This University of Toronto Scarborough Library's course is open to the general public.
  • Google Analytics Academy - Google Analytics Academy offers free courses in web analytics, data analysis, and measurement. These courses can be helpful for anyone looking to learn about data in the context of online businesses.
  • Microsoft Excel Training - Microsoft Excel is a powerful tool for data analysis and visualization. Microsoft offers free online training for Excel, which can help you develop your data literacy skills.
  • Open Data Canada - Open Data Canada is a portal that provides access to over 100,000 datasets from the Canadian government. You can use this data to learn about various topics, including demographics, health, and the environment.

Key takeaway

Data literacy is a crucial skill in today's data-driven world. With the resources listed above, you can get started on your journey to becoming data literate.

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