What is the Difference between Business Analysis, Data Analysis and Data Science?

The terms and job titles in the data field are extraordinarily large, such as business analysis, data analysis, data science, etc.

They often stun everyone, so this article we will talk about all of them, especially the differences.

Business Analysis VS Data Analysis

Generally, data analysis means that using data to analyse a XXX problem. The pipeline includes data collecting, data warehousing, data cleaning, data visualisation, etc.

As we can see, there is a blank in the sentence.

Actually, data analysis can be applied to different areas, and that is also the meaning of ‘XXX’ .

It can be academic or commercial.

If ‘XXX’ is commercial, then data analysis will equal to business analysis. In other words, the business analysis is an application of data analysis.

There is a main difference between data analysis and business analysis, which is the data sources.

The data source of data analysis positions is often based on the company websites, Apps, ERP system, etc.

And those job descriptions will require candidates master SQL, Python or R.

However, the data collected from those platforms often exists several problems, mainly the data quality, such as some missing data or data noise.

Those are caused by weak IT infrastructures and ‘econnoisseurs’ who want to register more user accounts.

However, the data sources of business analysis positions not just include those internal data collected by companies but also include a large amount of external sources. For example:

  1. Industry studies
  2. Qualitative interviews
  3. Quantitative interviews
  4. Internal data

Business Analysis VS Data Science

Because of Alpha Go, Artificial Intelligence is well-known to everyone.

However, the successful area of AI is not related to data analysis.

They focus on the computer vision and natural language processing, and their industrial applications are mainly in security and supply chain.

However, the usage of algorithms in commercial industry is limited because some departments in the company are hard to be represented by data and algorithm models.

This causes that algorithm can only solve the specific problems.

  1. Firstly, algorithm is related to users directly. The famous example is risk control. Because the factors contributing to the user credits are easy to be built by an algorithm model, commonly logistic regression.
  2. Secondly, forecasting algorithms. Business Intelligence is highly required to do forecasting.
  3. Thirdly, dimensionality reduction algorithms. It is often to reduce dimensions so it is easy to evaluate a problem, such as new products.

Summary

In summary, algorithms are useful in business intelligence, however, it cannot replace it.

Business Intelligence is an application in commercial problems and algorithm models are tools to solve specific problems.

If you are interested in or have any problems with Business Intellgence, feel free to contact me .

Or you can connect with me through my LinkedIn.

The Simplest Way to Install SQL Server 2017 on macOS

This article we will show how to install Microsoft SQL Server 2017 on macOS, as we talk it in previous blog.

Which method we use?

Prior to SQL Server 2017, if we want to install it on macOS, a virtual machine (like Parallels Desktop) is essential. Then we can install a Windows system in it and then we install and run SQL Server.

Luckily, from SQL Server 2017, we can choose to install SQL Server on Docker containers.

How to install SQL Server on Docker?

1 What is Docker?

Docker is a platform which can make softwares to run in it. It is called a container, which is an isolated environment.

2 Download and install Docker

If you haven’t installed Docker on your Mac, the next step is to install Docker.

Go to Docker page to download the .dmg file and then double click and install it according to the instructions.

3 Run Docker and increase the memory

Run Docker as you used to run other softwares and the next step is to increase the memory. This is because the default value of Docker memory is 2 GB but SQL needs at least 3.25 GB.

I recommend we set the memory value to 4 GB.

  1. Click Docker icon on top menu of your Mac
  2. Click Preferences
  3. Set Memory under Advanced to 4 GB.

Click Apply&Restart

4 Download Microsoft SQL Server 2017

The next step is to download SQL Server 2017 from Terminal, which is an easy way.

Copy and paste the command in Terminal of your Mac:

docker pull microsoft/mssql-server-linux

Through it, the latest version of MS Server SQL can be downloaded.

5 Run a Docker image

Copy, change and paste the command in Terminal of your Mac:

docker run -d --name xxxxxxx -e 'ACCEPT_EULA=Y' -e 'SA_PASSWORD=xxxx\xxxx' -p 1433:1433 microsoft/mssql-server-linux

We need to change the name and password as your own here.

This step is to run an instance of Docker image. A Docker image is a file, which is used to execute codes in a Docker container.

If you want to check, copy and paste the following command to see whether the Docker container is running:

docker ps

If it works, it will show like this:

6 Install the sql-cli command line tool

The next step is to install the sql-cli command line tool. It can allow you to run commands against your SQL Server instance.

Copy and paste the command in Terminal of your Mac:

npm install -g sql-cli

If an error happened and shows you do not have the permissions to access this file as the current user, just try add sudo in your command:

sudo npm install -g sql-cli

7 Connect to SQL Server

After sql-cli is installed, now we can connect to SQL Server using the mssql command.

mssql -u xxxxxxx -p xxxxxxx

Here xxxxxxx and xxxxxxx means your name and password.

Then you will see:


Now you’ve successfully connected to your instance of SQL Server.

Next blog we will continue our journey with SQL Server and Azure Data Studio. Maybe you will want to read more about Azure and Microsoft Learn in the previous blog.

If you are interested in or have any problems with Business Intelligence, feel free to contact me .

Or you can connect with me through my LinkedIn.

Welcome to SQL (SQL 101)

If you want to find a BI Analyst job in New Zealand, you may be not a master of Python, R, etc.

However, SQL knowledge is essential.

Here is a BI Analyst job advertisement on LinkedIn, which is a full-time role.

St John is also an accredited employer.

If you have a skill that is needed by a New Zealand accredited employer and they offer you full-time work when you are abroed, you may be able to get a Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa.

From the job description, we can find SQL knowledge is important.

What is SQL?

Firstly, I want to talk about Database(DB). We all know DB is a kind of software to store a large amount of data, mainly Relational DB.

Structured Query Language(SQL) is always linked with DB. SQL can be used to operate data, such as querying and updating.

The relationship between DB, data and SQL is like: DB is a plate, data is dishes on the plate and SQL is your fork.

Currently, most of the websites and Apps are based on SQL and DB.

There are several popular DB on the world, e.g., SQLite, MySQL, Postgres, Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server.

Among them, MSSQL Server is the most popular in New Zealand.

Luckily, all of them can support SQL although they have different characteristics.

It is like if you have the fork, you can operate dishes on different plates.

What is Relational DB?

A DB is composed of several tables (like tables in Excel) and tables are composed of rows and columns.

We can query and obtain some results from the DB through SQL language.

Maybe some people will be confused about: What is the difference between DB and Excel? Excel has already existed on the world, why SQL is created?

That is because DB = Tables + Relations between tables.

Tables in Excel can’t meet the data operating requirements in companies because of the complex relations between tables.

How to kick-start SQL?

After knowing the terms of SQL and Relational DB, the next step is to set up the environment with SQL Server, which we will talk in the next blog.

If you are interested in or have any problems with Business Intelligence, also feel free to contact me .

Or you can connect with me through my LinkedIn.

How Business Intelligence is Making the World a Better Place

What is Business Intelligence(BI)?

In general, BI refers to that companies slice and dice data to look for patterns. Then they make business decisions by the data insights.

When I ask other people this question: Do you know what is Business Intelligence?

I usually got the answer “No”.

However, I found most of people know what is Big Data. Of course, this is a buzzword.

Even those people who are not familiar with this area, they can tell me Big Data means the data is big…

This is a good thing. Even sometimes our understanding for terms is not precise.

It is common because a glossary consists of many knowledge systems.

It is hard to explain it in one sentence.

For example, Business Intelligence is a professional area, including ETL, Data Warehousing, etc. You can’t explain all of them to others.

Simply, BI is a pipeline which can transform data into information and then it creates business value.

How can we create business value using BI?

Reporting, which is common in New Zealand.

Reporting means using data visualisation techniques to visualise company’s business data.

It mainly focuses on finance, supply chain, marketing and human source departments.

For example, sales and marketing department cares about sales amount, order quantity, return rate, etc.

Then BI can be used to filter and extract analysis results. Tables and figures differ according to their subjects and they relate to each other.

Analysis about “abnormal” data.

Through data visualisation results, the abnormal data means some data indicators are beyond our predictions.

Sometimes it is positive that we are pursuing.

For example, average user registration amount is 1000 per month.

However, we find one month the number reaches 3000.

It is a kind of positive abnormality. Of course, sometimes the abnormal data can be negative.

We can analyse which factor contributes to the abnormality through one or more dimensions data tables and figures.

Those results can help to make better business plans.

Conclusions:

BI is actually a business and management area.

It comes from the presentation of visual analysis reports. Then it tries to find business problems (positive or negative) to improve business operations.

BI jobs in New Zealand:

According to Business Analyst on careernz website, BI analyst is in high demand and its salary is $81K-$104K per year.

Many companies hire BI analysts in New Zealand, including:

  1. Government departments or tertiary universities/institutes
  2. Finance companies
  3. Marketing companies
  4. Professional firms such as law and accounting

Next blog I will talk about which techniques are popular in New Zealand and how to learn them.

If you are interested in or have any problems with Business Intelligence, feel free to contact me.

Or you can connect with me through my LinkedIn.

Why Do People Think Enter X Challenge Innovation Competition is a Good Idea?

Except some IT competitions, I also enter X Challenge Innovation Competition in university.

X Challenge is a competition that gives every AUT student the opportunity and guidance to develop an idea for a business, cause or project. 

Each student can experience how to launch and run a business, which starts from an innovative idea. 

It consists of two stages: The Idea and The Accelerator.

You can enter either one or both, as an individual or as a team. When entering as a team at least one member must be a current AUT student.

I enter The Idea.

Next is my milestones for X Challenge:

01/04/2019: Gather my team.

Choosing a partner who matches the marketing and business ability that I lack will shape the future of the business more than any other.

In this stage, I choose Mia Lu.

She is a marketing and multi-media specialist who holds a double major in Marketing and Economics, with 4+ years of experience in digital marketing and communications. Except the marketing professional ability, design is also her passion and speciality, i.e., graphic design and UX design.

More important, she is an amazing women with high execution and communication skills.

07/04/2019: Decide what we want to build. Brainstorming something the world needs and all the members agreed on the idea.

Finally, our idea is Named Entity Recognition as a Service.

Here is the rationale of our idea. This tool can prevent privacy information leakage for individual Online Social Networks users.

It mainly involves in Deep Learning and Natural Language Processing techniques.

17/04/2019: Demonstrate that people want your product and figure out how to scale. We celebrate once 300 people who are not our friends and family tell us that using our product was useful.

25/04/2019: Submit the Google form to AUT. The form consists of one-page idea, including the problem we solve, our product advantages, markets and customers, direct or indirect competitors and team member description.

01/05/2019: Our team is chosen as a winner of The Idea.

My feelings:

Through the innovation competition, I realise how to change a technical idea to a business product.

And I realise how to act as a leader, especially collaborating with other team member.

Team support is the key to success!

If you are interested in or have any problems with business plan or competitions, feel free to contact me .

Or you can connect with me through my LinkedIn.

How I Join Business Intelligence / Data Analysis Career(Academia)

Before February 2018: My Bachelor Degree

After I completed my bachelor degree of Information Security in Xidian University and experience in Huawei, I start to look for a new challenge.

Then I came to New Zealand to study the Master of Computer and Information Sciences in AUT.

February 2018 – July 2018: Selected Courses

In the first semester of my master degree, I enrolled in two papers: Data Mining and Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing.

The two courses have assisted me in broadening my knowledge while showing me the diverse research side of Computer Sciences, especially Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence.

July 2018 – December 2018: Master Thesis

Then I enrolled in the 120 points thesis in the second semester.

The thesis research of my Master degree is totally a different challenge to me.

It differs from previous teaching courses because its requirements of the abilities of critical thinking and problem-solving are much stricter.

Moreover, research is also an iterative procedure, so patience and persistence are also essential when it comes with persistent failure.

Luckily, I met my primary supervisor and second supervisor, who guided and helped me a lot.

In 14th November (my birthday day) last year, my primary supervisor suggested me to apply for the Summer Research Award at AUT, which can further augment to my capabilities.

Summer Research Award is awarded to students who have got satisfactory results in the three-month project in AUT. The evaluation is based on the final data analysis report. Only 10 students in the Faculty of Computer Sciences can get the award.

December 2018 – February 2019: Summer Research Award

Then I applied for it and my proposal got approved.

Through three months, I successfully classified and achieved a 92% accuracy result by building a neural network model in this project.

In the last week of February this year, I developed creative contents as academic reports with online LaTeX Editor (Overleaf) to get my final payment.

I recommend the Summer Research Award in AUT, because not only it can bring you some extra gains and honour, but also it can offer you an opportunity to gain some practical skills.

The most important thing is that I start to realise I am more interested in practical industry rather than academia!

Attachment is the Summer Research Award I gained.

February 2019 – July 2019: Two Publications

I also developed my research and analytical skills while publishing two papers

  • “An automated privacy information detection approach for protecting individual online social network users” to the Japanese Society of Artificial Intelligence (JSAI) journal
  • “Privacy Information Classification: A Hybrid Approach” to The 4th International Workshop on Smart Simulation and Modelling for Complex Systems (SSMCS 2019)

Maybe some people think I should take a PhD degree to enhance my research skills. However, I am not interested in academia any more.

New Journey:

It is time for me to continue my journey and gain more experience in the industry of Business Intelligence and Data Science industry!

If you are interested about New Zealand University, selecting papers, Summer Research Award, or how to publish papers on journals or international conferences, feel free to contact me and I can give you some suggestions.

Or you can connect with me through my LinkedIn.

Three Importance Of Life-long Learning In Programming

A person with a life-long learning ability will become more competitive.

There are two factors contributing to the summary sentence above: human life expectancy and the high changing speed of the world

Human Life Expectancy

Here is a figure about life expectancy in China from 1960 to 2016.

From the figure, it is an indisputable fact that the average life expectancy is still prolonged. Unlike the previous generation, it seems the current millennial generation will need to face a hundred-year-old life.

Such a long life will cause the working years be longer too.

The High Changing Speed Of The World

Here comes another factor: this is a world that is changing at a high speed. 

What would it look like when a world that is changing at a high speed?

The most obvious fact is that some skills suddenly became something worthless, e.g., handwriting. A person who can handwrite beautifully may get a good job in the past, but now he/she can’t because of the cheap price of a printer. 

Another strong evidence is the rise of the Human Development Index(HDI). The HDI figure from 1980 to 2014 in China is demonstrated below.

From the curve, there is a tendency to be on an exponential rise.

Thus, from the facts we show above, this world is actually more and more cruel to many people. 

Too many peers have stopped early, and they have been left behind by the times, so they are at a loss early. 

The only way you can survive on the long life road that is not the same as your guess is to keep learning.

Keep learning is a significant skill. 

Whereas, massive people are exploded to a phenomenon called ‘Information Anxiety‘, which means some of them may suffer from the feeling of anxiety because of the excessive quantity of daily information[1].

Thus, many actions have been dedicated to alleviating anxious feelings by people, e.g., purchasing expensive online courses.

Here comes an interesting and awkward truth: They may spend more money but get little knowledge.

However, people with strong self-learning skills are not anxious, at least they will not be anxious because of the learning process – this is a major difference.

I. Forward Declaration:

The forward declaration is a declaration of an identifier in the area of computer programming (denoting an entity such as a type, a variable, a constant, or a function) for which the programmer has not yet given a complete definition[2].

In schools, we can find the textbooks are very rigorous. It means any term is forbidden to use without a statement. 

So, after completing a chapter, you can learn the next chapter. If you encounter unfamiliar terms, you can find them in a previous chapter.

However, people who are accustomed to this kind of knowledge system in schools will face undesirable consequences in the society. 

Because most of the social knowledge structure is ‘Forward declaration’.  There are some examples:

  1. Why do some people always start to understand what their parents have said after many years? 
  2. Why do some people always think that their managers are just fooling them before they become managers? 
  3. Why do some people understand that investors’ reminders or suggestions are correct after his/her company goes bankrupt?

The reason is that many things are “Forward declaration” and it is very difficult to understand at that time.

The advantage of self-learning programming in this aspect is that in the process of self-learning, your learning experience is actually equivalent to a life cycle. 

So, when facing the same “Forward declaration”, you will not feel so inexplicable.

II. The programming is practical, actionable and achievable.

III. The self-learners in programming area are the most.

Trust me, you are not alone.

If you are interested in some high income skills or have any problems about self-learning and programming, feel free to contact me .

Or you can connect with me through my LinkedIn.

Reference:

[1] Wurman, R. S. (2017). Information Anxiety: Towards Understanding. Scenario Journal, 6.

[2]http://pages.cs.wisc.edu/~fischer/cs536.s07/lectures/Lecture25.4up.pdf

An Introduction To Microsoft Learn

In the beginning, I want to state some reasons why I want to keep writing as a blogger.

Because:

  1. I want to become a better writer.
  2. I feel like I have some professional things to talk about.
  3. I want a new challenge.

I want to improve my communication skills by making professional knowledge easier for readers to understand.

Because the most important thing in communication is not speaking, it is how other people can understand your words.

To achieve this goal, sometimes maybe I will need to sacrifice the accuracy of some information.

However, if the audience can accept some basic terms in the first place, I can express more precise concepts to them.

As a nearly graduate IT student, I feel that there is still a gap between what is learned in universities and the practical skills used in real world

Luckily, the Internet is convenient enough for us to find what we want to learn nowadays.

Practitioners in the IT industry are supposed to maintain the ability to life-long learning.

I have accumulated some self-learning experience, and I want to share some of the learning resources with you.

The official documents are highly recommended: They will provide the latest tutorials, then we can write a few demos to get started. 

Consequently, this blog I want to talk about is Microsoft Learn, a learning platform which provides me with the best experience. 


Microsoft Learn
 is a new learning platform created by Microsoft and it focuses on Azure.

Azure is not free.

Although we can sign up for a free trial account, we have to re-apply it after expiring, which is more troublesome. 

But Azure is widely used in New Zealand.

If you want to find an IT job in New Zealand, understanding and mastering Azure skills should be considered as the basic requirements in most cases.

However, an Azure subscription is indispensable. That’s why I highly recommend Microsoft Learn.

Because it provides free Azure subscriptions and an online Azure Lab in addition to general teaching tutorials.

It means that we can use Azure subscriptions for free, create resources, and use them during the course.

The subscription will be automatically released after a while, probably several hours.

If you haven’t finished, you can continue to learn by recreating another one, which is very convenient.

Once the sandbox is activated, we can use the Azure subscription, and the Azure Cloud Shell interface will appear on the right side of the browser. We can enter commands directly into the browser to operate Azure.

Every time I complete a course, I will get the corresponding badges and scores. I have already reached the 8th level !!

This learning experience seems to play games, and I can’t stop it!

If you are interested in or have any problems about Microsoft Azure, feel free to contact me .

Or you can connect with me through my LinkedIn.