Acquiring Big Data Skills With Web Scraping
There is more publicly available data than ever before. Knowing how to collect and use online data is an essential skill for success in today’s world. Harnessing big data skills is an easy step toward elevating your skillset and approach to effective data analytics. Whether you’re looking for a new job and want to become more employable or are struggling to stand out on your team, learning how to work with big data sets will impress those you work with and help foster new ideas. Web scraping, the automatic extraction of data from web pages, is an easy way to get started working with big data.
If you know the skills required for big data, then use the table of contents to learn more about the benefits of data and why web scraping is the perfect tool.
Table of Contents
1. What Skills Are Required for Big Data?
2. Collecting Skills for Big Data
3. Benefits of Big Data Experience
What Skills Are Required for Big Data?
You may assume that working with big data requires extensive computer science knowledge, but big data developer skills aren’t as out of reach as you may think. In addition to some basic programming knowledge, here are three skills required for big data that don’t involve years of school.
As someone who studied English literature, learning how to read and analyze information is a crucial skill for success in any industry. After all, what’s the point of spending time collecting data if you can’t interpret it? Sharpening your analytical skills is necessary for generating useful insights from large data sets.
Analytical skills along with experience ensure you understand how to use basic online analytics tools while keeping the larger picture in mind. Since lots of analytics programs are fairly automated, understanding the results of analysis and making sense of them is the most important skill for working with big data.
Similar to analytical skills, being able to detect patterns in large data sets is one of the many big data required skills. Especially important for team leaders, being able to visually present and understand data helps your coworkers get on the same page. With strong data visualization skills, you create graphs or other visual representations of your analysis results. The purpose of using these skills is to help everyone come to a mutual understanding of a current issue or plan for the future.
Unlike analytical skills, data visualization is less focused on generating insights yourself and more about presenting insights in a way that is clear to all types of learners. Even though there are many types of projects in which collecting data is essential, all teams conducting in-depth analysis ultimately want to grow by solving systemic issues within the organization. A key to solving problems is making sure everyone understands and agrees with the team’s mission. By becoming someone with strong data visualization skills, you can be the team member that helps bring others into the vision with you.
As intimidating as big data engineer skills can be for those less versed in computer science, having the ability to intellectually problem solve works in tandem with data, not against it. Analyzing data enables you to detect patterns present and data visualization makes it possible for you to share your analysis. Once you have both analytical and data visualization skills, the next step is being able to brainstorm solutions to the problems the data highlights. Possible solutions include increasing social media presence, finding a better price point, improving the product, or creating promotions to attract new customers.
All of these tactics can only be utilized once the problem is clear. This is why the combination of all three skills, and more, is the best approach to using data to build a successful organization or stand out in your current position.
Collecting Skills for Big Data
In order to put all your new skills to work, you’ll need to understand how to easily and efficiently collect large amounts of data. Web scraping is an essential skill for making use of all the data available online. When you scrape a webpage, you extract all the data from the page and organize it into a spreadsheet or other easily downloadable format. This makes the information shareable with your team without the added step of formatting data yourself.
While web scraping is perfect for those getting started at building their big data skills, it is also useful for those more experienced in data collection. For larger organizations with internal data departments, web scraping is the perfect tool for collecting supplemental data. If you find that your sales numbers are low, it might be good to cross-reference those numbers against data about disposable income among your target audience. You may see a correlation between the two, therefore providing context for some of the organizational issues you’re seeing. Being able to make these connections, with the use of web scraping, makes your solutions more effective since you understand the entire problem.
Benefits of Big Data Experience
Having experience with Big data is attractive to organizations looking to hire, but also useful within your current job. Below are just some of the ways that using your Big data skills helps your entire organization grow.
Create a shared vision
Part of building a connected team is having a shared vision. Once everyone is on board with a plan, you can start to assign tasks to those best suited for them. Collecting and presenting data to your team helps create a shared vision because everyone understands where your insights and steps forward are coming from. Someone who might normally be hesitant can have faith in your skills and data-driven decisions when they are presented well and clearly to the entire team. Mutual understanding fosters team spirit and helps avoid future misunderstandings. You can move forward in your projects and goals knowing everyone is on board while also having presentations and data to refer back to at any moment.
Expand consumer base
Online data is very consumer-oriented, which means there are lots of reviews and other forms of direct feedback available without the help of focus groups. A more tech-savvy consumer base can be harder to attract with traditional forms of advertising. By using online consumer feedback data, your organization can avoid the mistakes the competition makes while finding innovative ways to entice new consumers.
Using a web scraping tool on social media sites brings you insights unlike before. You can scrape individual profiles or trending topics if you want a sense of how your target audience responds to certain political or social issues. Gaining an appreciation for what your consumers are like as people makes it easier to connect with them and their values in future promotional campaigns. All these benefits lead to expanding your consumer base, strengthening your brand.
Keep track of market trends
Big data experience is useful for understanding the current marketplace or your organization. However, predictive analytics makes it possible to stay alert to market or industry trends. If you run a swimsuit brand, noticing that flights to tropical locations are cheaper during certain seasons can help you plan new line releases or sales accordingly. Taking advantage of trends to increase leads or avoid losses are concrete ways that data helps you move into the future.
Web Scraping Data Skills
Web scraping, an easy way to collect and analyze Big data, is the perfect tool for those beginning and more advanced in data analysis. By either using web scraping as your primary data strategy or as a supplemental data collection tool, scraping proves effective for highlighting and understanding various organizational issues. Here are a few more ways to incorporate the power of data and scraping into your current role.
eCommerce sites like Wayfair, Amazon, and eBay all contain lots of data related to product information, trending products, consumer review data, and more. Scraping product information for competing goods can help you identify materials or design features that you or your competitor’s product are missing. Incorporating some of these missing elements as well as learning from consumer comments can help you create the best version of your product possible. Additionally, understanding consumer experiences with shipping, handling, or other aspects of your process is useful for troubleshooting or reevaluating current production costs.
Web scraping and API
For those more advanced in computer science, Scraping Robot’s API feature allows programmers to extract data using a scraping tool and then download it directly into whatever program you’ve already developed. Whereas a normal scraper would organize data into a spreadsheet, inputting the data directly into the program of your choosing rids you of having to transfer data yourself.
Especially useful with Big data skills, our API gives your team the ability to organize the data in service of your analysis process and goal formulation. The larger your organizational data needs, the more useful our API will be in helping streamline your data collection process. To learn more, visit our process page.
Adjusting to the future of big data requires Big data skills such as analysis, data visualization, and problem-solving to make the most of the data. Web scraping, the automatic extraction of data from web pages, is a tool useful for those just starting out or more advanced at collecting data. Using a web scraper, you can collect data from social media, online retail, and more big data sources to help your organization grow its consumer base and problem solve. With all the benefits of scraping and data analysis, learning these skills is essential for success.
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