Recent technological advances in almost every professional discipline have made data analytics skills beneficial in more career paths than ever. And the addition of a new data analytics minor at Calvin is a way to help equip students in those careers.

Data analysis “mainly focuses on how businesses extract useful information out of all this information they’re getting,” computer science professor Joel Adams explained. “For instance, every time you swipe your credit card at a store or buy something online, [businesses] are getting inundated with data. Analytics tends to focus on businesses extracting customer information to create sales.”

But data analytics can be applied to many other fields, too. Health care professionals keep track of patient data to learn better strategies in caring for those patients. Sports medicine specialists use performance data from sports teams’ practices and games that coaches can implement into their game plans, as well as injury-prevention strategies. Even Calvin English professor Jim VandenBosch is working with linguistic constructions, where he analyzes data that his computer identifies from digitized books.

“For a lot of disciplines, if you know a little programming and you’ve got some data savvy, you’ve got a leg up on the people that don’t,” mathematics professor Randy Pruim said. “It expands the areas that you could work in with sociology, biology, economics; whatever your discipline happens to be.”