What Is Data Literacy and Why Should You Care?

What Is Data Literacy and Why Should You Care?

How do you differentiate high class and middle class? Obviously, by (annual) income and/or net worth. But money is just a result. People with money usually have unique set of skills that sets them apart.

How do you differentiate high class and middle class? Obviously, by (annual) income and/or net worth. But money is just a result. People with money usually have unique set of skills that sets them apart.

In medieval times, reading and writing skill in itself would be sufficient to set you apart. Literacy was not that common and was mostly characteristic of upper-middle or higher class.

This is mostly because reading and writing has very broad use. It’s not niche. It is and was used in almost every aspect of personal and professional life. Reading also improves your knowledge dramatically.

So what is such a skill in 21st century?

I would like to make a case it’s the ability to understand data and work with it. It is THE differentiator of modern age, because data is everywhere.

In fact, 90% of data has been created in the last 2 years. Predictions show there will be about 50 billion connected devices by 2030. Currently there are around 3,5 billion smartphones, representing people with access to the Internet in their pocket, reading articles, browsing social networks, chatting with friends and much more. Data is everywhere in personal life as well as business.

Here are some examples from personal life:

  • I get my credit card or bank statements — do I know what to look for? Trends of spending, distribution of spending among housing, car, food,…
  • Time spent on a phone in different apps — how am I spending my time? What can be improved?
  • How many emails do I send each day? Which day of the week was the most productive in the last 6 months?
  • I use smartwatch to track my heart rate and sleep — when am I getting good night sleep? When is my heart rate generally good? Can I identify patterns?

Now obviously there’s much value hidden in data for companies:

  • in production lines, you can analyze performance, potential vibrations that indicate upcoming shutdown, or energy consumption,
  • you can correlate weather with energy consumption and thus predict revenue of utility and energy companies
  • in retail, company can (and does) segment popularity of products, creates a profile of each and every buyer that uses their club card, etc.

data intelligence literacy business management data science

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