What is data literacy?
You may be wondering, what does data literacy actually mean? Well, in a growing and ever-evolving society like ours, data plays a huge role in every aspect of life. The ability to understand data, interact with it and simply use it, is data literacy. Data collection has grown at an exponential rate in recent times; collected and collated by companies, governments and the public. CIM are working with esteemed partners to provide data teaching and understanding available for students and professionals in training.
We understand that our world is becoming more and more digitalised and technologically involved which means we must collect more data, giving us understanding of performance optimisation. Artificial intelligence has integrated itself into our society and as a result, we must understand their functioning and efficiency. For example, a machine making cars in a factory might not be very interesting to the common public… however, collecting data on these machines, their functionality and productivity is someone’s job. If a machine is not effective enough, it gets fixed or replaced. But what determines those factors, if it’s working well enough? Data.
The future of data
Data, like anything, has a past as well as a future. What must be focused on is the fact that the future of data is now! Our schools have a responsibility to deliver the education of data to young people in order for the possibilities and understanding of data to progress. Data literacy, as mentioned, has a role to play in every aspect of life… so why aren’t children taught extensively about it? The manipulation and dissection of data is vitally important for every company, organisation, sports team, government etc. which is why our children must be data ‘savvy’.
Not only does data provide, it also has a protection element. This has recently been enhanced with the introduction of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). Understanding data and its ‘rules’ is vital and another thing which young people should be comfortable with. As GDPR, data collection and collation play a huge part in all of our lives (whether we realise it or not), children leaving school must be comfortable with using data in everyday environments.
The effect of data
As a marketer, data explains what you do to your boss better than you ever could! That is why data collection tools are rife throughout businesses and companies, as it shows performance levels, what could be improved as well as who is interacting with you (in compliance with GDPR regulations, of course!). A new entrant into the job market who understands data is extremely valuable as they also have new ideas on how it’s used, how it can be interpreted and what it can be used for. In addition, the data collection tools used by marketers have had to be learned on-the-job as they have been adapted and progressed in depth over the past five years.
Data collection tools can help a company in every aspect whether it is choosing who their target audience is or what content works well. A prospective employee who is educated in data literacy becomes a lot more attractive to an employer, as well as giving themselves the best chance to understand the workings around data which will open doors for progression in correlation with the advances in data collection and literacy.
Education & data
As mentioned above, the Data Literacy Project, launched by Qlik in association with CIM, is pushing for the mainstream education of data literacy. This will mean that children in schools understand data, its uses and how to use it effectively. It is, in most industry-understanding peoples’ opinion, a necessary step in the right direction. Forbes wrote an article in 2017 outlining the need to close the data literacy gap, showing the importance and magnitude of the issue.
Let’s finish off by highlighting the importance of data literacy. Millions of young people go into their first jobs or apprenticeships each year. Every job in the world (give or take a couple) heavily involve data… if you don’t understand data, you can’t do your job properly! In contrast, some may argue that there are more important things than data. Fine. However, you’ll find those things are already being taught in schools! Data is an ever-growing, ever-evolving factor in world dynamics and the issue of data literacy must be addressed.
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