Austin Wright
Austin Wright

We spoke with Assistant Professor Austin Wright about the Data Analytics Credential (DAC) and what working professionals and future graduate students can achieve through this eight-week program.

What are the learning objectives of DAC?

We approach our teaching in the field of public policy using real-world problems in the lectures, and we use programming as a tool to address those challenges. Students will learn the fundamentals of working with data and how to code up solutions to problems in R, an open-source programming language. These topics enable students to immediately have an impact in the workplace using analytics.

How does the program support students with no previous quantitative or coding experience? How about those who already have some experience with R?

The whole design of the program is to ramp up toward a skill set. It is totally fine if students have had no prior coding exposure. We start from the basics—how to clean and process data—and turn it into critical insights that can improve personal work.

For students who have had some prior experience, DAC is an opportunity to reflect—in a pedagogical sense—on how to write better code and write it more efficiently. Students will be able to take their skill set to the next level.

How will students learn and interact with the teaching team in the virtual format?

The program meets you where you are, allowing you to pick exactly when you would like to learn a concept. We use a combination of asynchronous lectures and interactive office hours. The asynchronous content allows you to watch pre-recorded lectures at a time that best fits your schedule. You can take advantage of my flexible office hours, and we have a top-notch set of teaching assistants who host office hours and mini lectures. All of us are excited to ready to support you in this learning process.

How can students use DAC in their current or upcoming professional and academic spaces?

Many students have brought challenges from their jobs to the program, and DAC enabled them to flex their coding skills while also making progress on those challenges. By the end of DAC, they had a beautifully organized database that they could immediately implement to make an impact within their organizations.

Credential programs like DAC also give students an opportunity to evaluate whether pursuing additional education is the right path. I have a student who originally completed DAC now enrolled in one of our full-time Master’s programs in my section this term, who often leverages the insights from the credential program. It makes me happy that many students complete the credential programs with excitement about what comes next and seeing Harris as a potential home.

Visit our website to learn more about the Data Analytics Credential (DAC) or apply now.