Grace Simrall is a data analyst and founder of iGlass Analytics,
where she helps companies in a wide variety of verticals (healthcare,
retail, finance) achieve their Business Intelligence goals.

I asked Grace what she would recommend someone do if he or she were
interested in the field of data analysis. She said she thought it was
too soon to tell the value of certification or master’s degree programs
in analytics and that it was probably a good idea to actually try out
the work before investing in a degree. She said that it’s more important
to demonstrate that you’re able to get your hands dirty and execute
what’s asked for.

In the meantime, she recommends several free online courses to help
you learn what’s involved in the field of analytics and whether you
think you’ll like it. Here are some of the free resources she

1. – Free Hadoop courses

2. Stanford University’s free online courses with two tracks: basic –
watch lectures, take simple quizzes; advanced – full class w/homework
& tests

3. Youtube University – multiple channels

4. MIT Open Courseware

5. Khan Academy

Grace’s experience with business intelligence (BI) began at the
University of Chicago when she implemented an enterprise asset
management system that would become the foundation for tracking
operational efficiency across the university. Grace received her SB in
Geophysical Science from the University of Chicago and her MS in
Mechanical Engineering from the University of Louisville, Speed School
of Engineering.