Week Two of Future Learn’s Big Data course started with a pretty cool example that I already knew something about – the Square Kilometre Array Radio Telescope. With telescopes in more than twenty countries being used to study the signals from the Big Bang, entirely new methods of data collection and analysis have had to be developed for this project.
The next section discussed the issues of managing big data. I actually followed this part much better than the practical software work last week, as it was closer to some of the discussion on the Smart Cities course about project management. It discussed how to store the data, secure it and back up it for maximum efficiency.
I also followed the next section quite easily, it was about the applications of big data in marketing. It all made total sense to me, but apparently a lot of people don’t consider how marketing and data actually work. Any marketing service needs to collect a lot of data on its clients in order to offer the best deals and services, and this has always seemed obvious to me, even before I started on my current career. But there was serious outrage from some people in the comments, on discovering that their buying habits and behaviours are stored away for the clearly immoral practice of trying to sell them more stuff!
Maybe this section of the course needed to go further into the details of data protection laws (my previous courses provoked similarly ridiculous comments when discussing data, and I do have a draft of a separate post on this topic).
Tomorrow I’ll be covering some more of the course content from week two.