July 20, 2020

With more people working from home and thinking about ways to become a more valuable and efficient employee, Great Bay Community College will offer a suite of new foundational courses for the digital economy.

“This is a great opportunity to recession-proof yourself,” said instructor Nicholas Marcus, who will teach people to become proficient with a popular new easy-to-use data software program. “If you are working from home or on quarantine, this is a chance to get relevant skills so you will come out of this or any downturn with a complementary skillset that will help you meet the demand of the job market going forward.”

Marcus will teach a trio of successive non-credit online courses, beginning in September, on the use of the data visualization software Tableau, a fast-growing program that many companies are using to help understand and present data in visual formats. The course is designed for people who are already employed and seeking to add to their skills to make themselves more valuable to their employer, as well as those who simply want to learn how to use and present data effectively, for any purpose.

Many data programs require a high level of skill to operate effectively. While some companies invest in statisticians and mathematicians to process data, others are investing in software like Tableau and recruiting people who know how to master it. The power of Tableau, Marcus said, is that is satisfies a company’s need to understand and convey data without having to a hire a statistician.

Tableau allows proficient users to process raw data into easy-to-understand charts and graphs. Marcus described the software as transformative in the hands of people who know what to do with it. “The visual storytelling ability of Tableau is unsurpassed,” he said. “Individuals who can help organizations see new relationships between different aspects of their business and make good decisions based on those key insights will be more valuable than ever.”

By some estimates, the world will generate 50 times more data in 2020 than in 2011. Within that data are opportunities for businesses who know how to use it, Marcus said.

Great Bay’s Business and Training Center will offer three successive courses in Tableau, with discounts to people who sign up for all three. All will be taught remotely, on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. The first class, from Sept. 8 to Oct. 29, will introduce the fundamentals of Tableau. Students will master the Tableau desktop, learn to connect to data sources and how to customize that data, as well as how to group, sort and filter it and make charts and graphs that are specific to a company’s needs and goals.

The second and third classes, starting in late October and mid-January, respectively, will build on the skills learned in the previously. “This is no-experience necessary,” Marcus said. “You will open your laptop and start learning from the ground up. And you will not be intimidated.”

Marcus has an MS in Data Analytics from Southern New Hampshire University, an MBA from Forbes School of Business and Technology at Ashford University and is a doctoral candidate at Ashford.