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Coding could be the key to future proofing your career

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Posted 3 months ago by Dr Rob Mastrodomenico

To shine in today’s increasingly data-rich and technology-driven world, you must learn how to harness and make sense of data and what it means for the business. You need to fight the temptation to stick with familiar spreadsheet tools to manipulate data and boldly embrace front-line business intelligence tools and skills - like coding - that will enable you to perform insightful analysis quickly and accurately.

Whereas spreadsheets are limited by lack of end-to- end workflow, cost and repeatability, programming languages like R and Python are free, and analysis is repeatable.

Languages such as Python and R offer spreadsheet users a gateway to be able to analyse their data programmatically. You may ask why you would look to take the leap into programming as your spreadsheet is working just fine for you. There are loads of reasons as to why you should so I'll enlighten you with a few:

How much data can your spreadsheet handle? You can store a lot in a spreadsheet, but you can easily process much bigger datasets if you use a computing language.

Can you repeat what you have done? With a computing language you can easily and quickly repeat the calculations that you have already done so you could get your calculations checked by a fellow coder.

Can you redo the work you’ve done quickly? Now saving time is a huge plus and that analysis and manipulation of data that took hours can be done again on a new dataset at the click of a button.

Do you want to do complex modelling with your data? From linear regression to neural networks computer languages such as Python and R offer libraries to access a variety of complex modelling tools.

Do you need some cool graphs? Both R and Python have excellent plotting ability that allow you to create highly customizable and professional looking graphs that move beyond what you can do in a spreadsheet.

Whilst programming can seem daunting, even complete novices can pick up the skills needed to analyse data really quickly.  A few ways ICAEW can support you to grow your skills in this area:

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