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21 Feb 2017

Analytics: A Game For the Young?

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Being analytical is about a whole lot more than just understanding something. It’s about digging as deep as possible, looking at a particular topic from all angles and coming away with a conclusion founded in both fact and logic. It’s about learning how to look beyond information you’re presented with, seeing how it all fits together and using it to come up with brand new insights of your own. It’s not about questioning the world around you, but rather about empowering yourself to become a stronger part of it in the most insightful way possible.

But what role do children play in all of this? Should you work hard to get your kids to become stronger critical thinkers now, or just let them develop on their own? In a world where entire industries are founded on the very idea of analytics in general, this is a process you’re going to want to get started on sooner rather than later.

Teaching Your Kids to Be More Analytical

One of the most important steps that you can take to help support your child’s analytical abilities is to let them know that they can and SHOULD ask questions. If they don’t understand something, have them ask for more information. If they’re not sure why something works the way it does, tell them that it’s okay to follow up for additional insight – or point them in the direction where they can find it.

You’ll also want to teach your kids to be as accurate as possible, always making sure that they’re aware of all the facts to find out whether or not something is true. Along the same lines, you’ll want to do whatever you can to help your kids be as logical as possible. Teach them to not only question the things around them, but themselves. When they come to a conclusion, have the explain to you why. Find out how they got there. Teach them whether or not it makes sense. All of this will go a long way towards providing your kids with the types of skills that will carry them through to the rest of their lives.

Analytical Kids Become Analytical Adults

It’s also important to note that if you begin teaching your child to develop their analytical and critical thinking skills early in life, it opens up a world of opportunities for them as they age. There are entire industries founded on the need for analytics, with data science and big data analysis being just a few examples.

Data analysts, for example, are the hardworking men and women tasked with collecting, processing and performing a deeply rooted analysis on data for businesses in nearly every industry that you can think of. Data scientists take things a step further and are also responsible for coming up with the complex, state-of-the-art algorithms that make their way into the latest enterprise analytical solutions. Both require a deep understanding of the importance of critical thinking, and both careers depend on a person’s ability to ultimately do something very simple: use collected information to answer questions and solve meaningful problems on a daily basis.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for budget analysts (just one particular niche related to the field) was $71,590 per year – or roughly $34 an hour. 60,800 people across the country were employed in this one particular area of analysis, with a growth of 3% expected each year between now and 2024.

But just because a child is analytical in nature doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re destined to become a data scientist or even a data analyst. Big data is what keeps the world spinning these days and there are careers in nearly every industry that require people to be able to work with it, understand it and extract valuable insight from it that can be used to move a business forward.

Chief data officers, also sometimes referred to as chief information officers, are the people who create policies regarding how a particular business is going to use its data. Big data is also huge in postsecondary teaching, where instructors teach students big data topics like statistical analysis and computer science. Speaking of computer science, your child may also grow up to become a software developer – helping others create the types of programs that will collect, process, analyze and visualize data as we race towards the brave new world of the next decade.

Analytics Are the Key to the Future

In the end, it’s important to understand that teaching your child to be more analytical is more than just helping them be smarter. It instills in them something much more essential and powerful – critical thinking skills. It teaches them how to look beyond the numbers that are in front of them and take everything in context. It teaches them how to go beneath that data and uncover the true story hidden underneath. It opens up a huge world of opportunities for them, particularly in terms of the careers that they choose to pursue.

In a world where there will be 1.9 billion connected home devices that make up the Internet of Things as soon as 2019, with all of those things creating and sharing data every second of every day, the importance of analytics and critical thinking in general isn’t going away anytime soon. It’s important to get your kids started on the right path now so that they don’t feel left behind.living in a world where data is all around us, being constantly created, collected and controlled at any given moment.

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