Preparing for a Career in Sports Analytics
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Preparing for a Career in Sports Analytics


I often speak with students wondering what courses to take so they have the skills to get into sports analytics. Below are a set of useful courses – by no means exhaustive – courses that provide relevant skills for the field. These courses are from Coursera, and many schools have similar classes as well. ·        

  • Introduction to Databases -  This course covers database design and the use of database management systems for applications. It includes extensive coverage of the relational model, relational algebra, and SQL. It also covers XML data including DTDs and XML Schema for validation, and the query and transformation languages XPath, XQuery, and XSLT. The course includes database design in UML, and relational design principles based on dependencies and normal forms. Many additional key database topics from the design and application-building perspective are also covered: indexes, views, transactions, authorization, integrity constraints, triggers, on-line analytical processing (OLAP), JSON, and emerging "NoSQL" systems.
  • Creativity, Innovation, and Change - Explore your unique brand of creativity to gain deeper personal insight. Learn and apply new techniques to make innovative contributions in your own world. Solve complex problems and drive change creatively.
  • Introduction to Data Science - Commerce and research is being transformed by data-driven discovery and prediction. Skills required for data analytics at massive levels – scalable data management on and off the cloud, parallel algorithms, statistical modeling, and proficiency with a complex ecosystem of tools and platforms – span a variety of disciplines and are not easy to obtain through conventional curricula. Tour the basic techniques of data science, including both SQL and NoSQL solutions for massive data management (e.g., MapReduce and contemporaries), algorithms for data mining (e.g., clustering and association rule mining), and basic statistical modeling (e.g., linear and non-linear regression).
  • Human-Computer Interaction - In this course, you will learn how to design technologies that bring people joy, rather than frustration. You'll learn several techniques for rapidly prototyping and evaluating multiple interface alternatives -- and why rapid prototyping and comparative evaluation are essential to excellent interaction design. You'll learn how to conduct fieldwork with people to help you get design ideas. How to make paper prototypes and low-fidelity mock-ups that are interactive -- and how to use these designs to get feedback from other stakeholders like your teammates, clients, and users. You'll learn principles of visual design so that you can effectively organize and present information with your interfaces. You'll learn principles of perception and cognition that inform effective interaction design. And you'll learn how to perform and analyze controlled experiments online. In many cases, we'll use Web design as the anchoring domain. A lot of the examples will come from the Web, and we'll talk just a bit about Web technologies in particular. When we do so, it will be to support the main goal of this course, which is helping you build human-centered design skills, so that you have the principles and methods to create excellent interfaces with any technology.
  • Data Analysis and Statistical Inference - This course introduces you to the discipline of statistics as a science of understanding and analyzing data. You will learn how to effectively make use of data in the face of uncertainty: how to collect data, how to analyze data, and how to use data to make inferences and conclusions about real world phenomena.
  • Game Theory - The course covers the basics: representing games and strategies, the extensive form (which computer scientists call game trees), repeated and stochastic games, coalitional games, and Bayesian games (modeling things like auctions).
  • Content Strategy for Professionals - This professional Content Strategy MOOC is for people anywhere in an organization who have content development experience and now want to significantly improve their abilities to understand audiences and develop strategic words, pictures, graphics, and videos to convey their organization’s most important goals.
  • Basic Behavioral Neurology - This course will survey fundamental principles of cognitive and behavioral neurology. The emphasis of the course will be on the neural mechanisms underlying aspects of cognition and on diseases that affect intellect and behavior. No prior background in neurology, medicine, or neuroscience is required.

There are a host of other courses and skills that will assist the prospective sports analytics professional - feel free to add thoughts in the comments. But these should give you a good start.

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