Data Analytics minor leads to versatile careers 

Students across academic disciplines are looking to complement their majors with UW Bothell’s latest interdisciplinary minor.

Jaime Yazzie loves watching sports. When he watches sports, however, it’s different from how most people enjoy a game. He isn’t rooting for any one team. What he likes most about sports is the opportunity to put his analytical mind to work. When the game is over, there’s only one thing he cares about — the stats. 

“Whoever wins or loses, I always go back through the game and look at the stats. I want to find out why they won or lost and how they could have done better,” Yazzie said, adding that he hopes to someday become a sports analyst. 

A Mathematical Thinking & Visualization major at the University of Washington Bothell’s School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, Yazzie is now also minoring in Data Analytics, a program first offered in the 2023 autumn quarter. 

As he finishes out his final year of undergraduate studies, Yazzie said the announcement of UW Bothell’s latest minor came at just the right time. 

A focus on data 

The launch of the minor comes on the heels of the Data Science minor UW Bothell announced in March 2023. While the Data Science minor places greater emphasis on programming and computer skills, the Data Analytics minor focuses on a broad range of skills that include the collection, management and interpretation of data, while still operating under the umbrella of data science. 

“The Data Analytics minor is an opportunity for students who aren’t necessarily in the computer science major or minor,” said Jin-Kyu Jung, a professor in the School of IAS who co-chaired the oversight committee for this newest minor. “Data analysis and data visualization — these kinds of statistical skills can be used to address a multitude of questions and problems in society.” 

Data analytics comes in many forms, he said. It can be used to tell a story, and that story is often told through data visualization, which uses graphics and hand-drawn images to visually interpret information. 

“It’s incredibly important, providing that critical perspective as a way to illustrate a conceptual issue,” Jung said. “For some people, they can see the connection so much more clearly when it’s visually realized, versus someone who is only looking at the numbers.” 

The Data Analytics minor aims to provide students with the computational, statistical and interpretive skills necessary to apply data analysis skills to their major area of study, Jung said. “It very much enhances the work students are already doing.” 

Content across disciplines 

In its first quarter, Data Analytics was the third-highest declared minor at UW Bothell. As a cross-disciplinary minor, it appeals to students in all five of the campus’ schools and can be used to enhance virtually any major. 

Since the curriculum for the minor is taught by instructors from across the schools, Jung noted that students will benefit from seeing how data analytics applies to each instructor’s area of expertise. For Jung, this means incorporating themes such as urban planning and geospatial data into his courses. 

Student Minh Thuong Trinh is a junior double majoring in Global Studies and in Mathematical Thinking & Visualization — and minoring in Geographic Information System as well as in Data Analytics. “What made me interested in the Data Analytics minor was how I can apply these data analytics skills to my own academic interests to further enhance my understanding of a particular field of interest. 

“This minor perfectly enhances my other areas of study since it allows me to develop analytical skills, broaden my understanding of contemporary global issues and help me to apply my newfound understanding and represent them through GIS mapping projects.” 

For Yazzie, Data Analytics was the perfect opportunity to marry his interest in computer science and his natural inclination to analyze data whenever it presented itself. 

This minor perfectly enhances my other areas of study since it allows me to develop analytical skills, broaden my understanding of contemporary global issues and help me to apply my newfound understanding and represent them through GIS mapping projects.

Minh Thuong Trinh, a junior in the School of IAS

A multitude of applications 

“Anything with data, I just look at the numbers and geek out. It’s like being able to see the numbers on a finished paint-by-numbers painting,” Yazzie said, noting that, in addition to sports, election results is another area where he enjoys applying his passion for examining data. 

“I don’t really pay attention to who won,” he said. “I’m more fascinated as to the growth projections and the makeup of the political data.” 

He’s especially interested in how data can be used to inform campaign strategies — such as in 2012 when Barack Obama’s presidential campaign efforts focused on pinpointing swing states. This strategy is an example of a common way data can be used to affect change by helping to unveil where the biggest gains can be had from the least amount of effort. 

“Little things like that with data fascinate me … the way you can play with and manipulate something that allows you to redraw a picture — the smallest tweaks that can make a difference,” Yazzie said. 

Career access points 

A transfer student from Shoreline Community College, Yazzie initially wanted to go into computer science or software engineering but didn’t get into those majors. “This was like a blessing in disguise,” he said, noting that he now realizes he is better at statistics than coding. 

Yazzie said he has met a lot of students who were on a similar path and had picked a major in the hopes of getting high-paying jobs in tech, only to discover it wasn’t the best fit. 

“You realize how difficult it is, but also that there’s something similar you could be good at,” he said. “I’m just so glad they announced the minor while I’m still here.” 

Jung emphasized that the new minor offers access points into a multitude of career opportunities — whether as a data scientist or analyst, or in other careers that use data as a tool to further work ranging from medicine and sports to politics and social justice. 

“When you find out you can do a career in what you like to do or what you naturally are already doing, it doesn’t seem like it’s work,” Yazzie said, adding that while he’s always enjoyed analyzing sports, it wasn’t until recently that it occurred to him that he could make a career out of it. 

An image depicting various graphics.

Skills for the future 

Yazzie has some educational and career advice to pass along with fellow students. 

“For anyone who is going into data science, coding or software development for the money — but you’re finding it difficult — advice a friend once told me was that ‘you can work in STEM, but it doesn’t mean you have to be a coder,’” Yazzie said. 

“There’s a lot going on under the umbrella of STEM, and data analytics is one of those tools you can use to look at other areas.” 

After graduation, Yazzie said he plans to work for a year or two before pursuing a master’s degree in information management and systems. As with most things, he sees this time as yet another opportunity for data analysis — collecting data on what he likes and dislikes about a job and where his aptitudes lie. Then, with the data needed to make an informed decision in hand, he’ll be ready to take the next step. 

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