A key to Carroll’s own mission is lifelong learning and John Gnadinger, founding director of the university’s Analytics and Business Intelligence Consortium, has brought that to its core with the creation of a Data Analytics Bootcamp designed to boost careers and employability—for anyone.
Gnadinger came to Carroll from Johnson Controls about two years ago, bringing with him nearly three decades of management experience and a wide range of knowledge in business intelligence, data visualization, and IoT and how it could be used to make a difference inside companies and organizations. He soon realized, though, that the market is in need of people with those data skills and there are not enough of them to fill market needs.
“When I came to Carroll University, I saw the need in the industry to reskill. Everybody was dying for these analytics features and function but they can’t find the people. Instead of trying to find them in the marketplace, we need to make these people,” he said.
Carroll launched its first Data Analytics Bootcamp in October 2020 with an eye on attracting people seeking to boost their skills in areas that include analysis of business metrics to extract important insights, predicting future events based on past data, and learning how to visualize important data trends in compelling and persuasive ways.
“Almost anybody with any educational background can get into this course,” Gnadinger said. “If you are in business, you have used Microsoft Excel before, and you’re curious about data, I would say just about anybody could get in here and start working with this. It’s intense but you will come out of it with a much broader knowledge base of business analytics.“
Despite the intensity, the boot camp, Gnadinger added, is “really designed for somebody starting from scratch,” providing 10 hours of course content per week and two hours of face-to-face, online time with an instructor.
The university partners with a company called Podium Education, which develops online courses with professors from the Silicon Valley, Gnadiger noted. Podium, in turn, has partnerships with companies like Airbnb and Spotify, using real-world data sets as examples in the curriculum of how analytics are put into practice.
The bootcamp provides two courses, each seven weeks, and costs $3,000 in total. It provides students two certifications and two badges upon completion. From the first course, students will receive a certification for Microsoft Excel and a Carroll University Badge. The second course is focused on data visualization using Tableau, a program that is common in the software industry, Gnadinger said. From the second course, students will receive a certification for Tableau and a Carroll University badge. The curriculum builds on knowledge gained in the first course.
The bootcamp is one aspect of Carroll’s work to provide business analytics skills to those already in the workforce but also as part of building its business program with a stronger curriculum overall. Since Gnadinger’s arrival, Carroll has implemented a business analytics minor and is in the process of adding a business analytics major. Business analytics curriculum focus area has also been added to the university’s MBA program.
“These are all highly sought-after programs that will allow us to upskill our students for the sought-after area of applied business analytics,” Gnadinger said.
Carroll has worked to strengthen its business program internally through new offerings but also cast a wider net to build relationships within the business community through the efforts of the Analytics and Business Intelligence Consortium, a membership-driven organization, as well as the implementation of its Idea Lab on campus.
“For me, it’s really about keeping that lifelong learning going, that you’re upskilling for what is needed in the industry today and into the future,” Gnadinger said.
The next Data Analytics bootcamp starts January 25.