GREELEY — Designed in response to industry demand, a new data-analytics certificate program is available at Aims Community College.
Approved in December, the new program will expand what Aims’ Computer Information Systems Department offers learners and employers in Northern Colorado.
Aims professors Greyson Brown and Ellen Swieter worked with Jim Vernon, academic dean of business and technology, and the CIS advisory board to develop the program.
“We were able to quickly latch onto a concept and develop a program to meet the needs of our community,” Brown said. “Our advisory board has reaffirmed that this direction is something we need.”
The field of data analytics helps organizations look at information and determine what it means to make better choices and forecast what could happen in the future. A professional data scientist interprets data into something more meaningful to an organization’s high-level decision-makers. Practitioners can apply their expertise to a variety of businesses and organizations, Brown said.
“It could be as simple as a mom-and-pop coffee shop determining the rate it uses certain ingredients to schedule re-ordering more effectively,” Brown said.
Business intelligence data becomes more complex and critical in large corporations and government agencies as they look into trends, Brown said, adding that he believes the certificate program will “appeal to people who like problem-solving and technical creativity.”
Students can earn the certificate in as little as three semesters. The coursework includes business fundamentals, information systems, spreadsheets, database design, programming and data visualization.
Program graduates can find work in data analytics for small to large companies or market their skills as independent contractors. Learners can successfully pair this program with other programs in CIS, business and other fields of study. This certificate is also a viable option for working professionals who want skills to facilitate a new career trajectory.
“Several Northern Colorado companies have shown interest in data analytics classes to upskill their workforce,” Swieter said.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics considers data science among the top 20 fastest-growing occupations and has projected 31% growth over the next 10 years. Although some positions require additional higher education credentials, the Aims CIS advisory committee research revealed many employers seek a skill set versus a particular degree. An occupational overview from Lightcast found Colorado is a hotspot for this type of career specialization, with a statewide median annual salary of $100,425.
“There is a huge job need so that graduates will be employable with a relatively affordable investment and in a short time,” Swieter said.