Statistical analysis is the process of collecting and organizing data in order to observe patterns in that data. This discipline examines numerical data for trends, and it has practical applications across multiple industries and business sectors. Statistical analysts can examine large or small amounts of data to determine what the data shows—and what should be done with that information. The business world has relied on statistical analysis for years, but the advent of computer technology has made analyzing large amounts of data increasingly easy. Computers allow statisticians to analyze copious amounts of data and look for more specific patterns and trends than ever before.
Statistical analysis is important because it helps you make sense—and make use—of data. No matter what industry you work in, you see data every day. You may not know how to interpret the data, or there may just be too much data to understand on its own merits. Using statistical analysis can help you interpret key patterns in your data and sort out extraneous information to understand what the data means and what you should do about it. If you have a background in statistical analysis, you can also test or disprove any analysis that you receive from someone else as well.
A thorough knowledge of statistical analysis can help you find a career in the financial sector, information technology, or other areas of the business world. You can find jobs giving businesses advice on how to invest or how to manage their money more efficiently, or you can consult with companies on how to budget for large projects. Market research jobs rely on statistical analysis skills, while software engineers analyze data to develop and test new and updated applications. Data scientists work with various organizations to help them identify patterns and trends in their field of business.
From courses that introduce you to the basics of statistical analysis to more specific topics like hypothesis testing, data analysis in the health care industry, or risk management, you can gain a confident base of knowledge from online courses on Coursera. Specific topics you can discover include using logistic regression in R, survival analysis in R, bias and validity in epidemiology, statistics with Python, and data analytics.