Students need to develop skills related to working with unstructured text data


It used to be so simple.  Pick a major, take lots of courses in the major and take several other courses to ensure your educational experience is well rounded.  It’s not that simple anymore.  Now days, the courses you take can have a huge impact on your employability after graduation.  Being selective and taking courses that help you develop skills that are highly sought after will give you an advantage over your peers when it comes to landing a job.

So how do students know what skills are highly sought after?  Well, you probably already hear on a regular basis “data is everywhere.” It’s true, and knowing how to do something with all that data is vital to any college student’s skill set.  So what is it you should learn to do with data?  Maybe a better question to start with is, “what sort of data should you learn to work with?”  Working with unstructured text data is a definite worthwhile area of skill development.

Think about how prevalent social media has become.  Some estimates indicate roughly 75% of data are unstructured data.  That’s a lot of data and the analysis of that data and the information it provides is extremely valuable to businesses. Do you blog or tweet? Have you ever mentioned a product or business and elaborated about your experience?  If so, people who know how to do sentiment analysis will find what you have to say very useful as it will give their business a way to gauge how satisfied you and other customers are with their products.

If you are at a university that offers courses in things like text mining, text analytics, or sentiment analysis, take advantage of the opportunity to develop your knowledge and skills for working with this type of data.  The global academic program just taught a Text Analytics with SAS Text Miner course to a group of masters students who specialize in analytics. They already know that having these skills will increase their employability.  Now you do too.  If you are interested in learning more about text analytics and how it is used, check out this video .  If your university does not offer courses in analyzing textual data, you can always consider taking a course at SAS. If you are a professor and want to introduce the use of text analytics to your students, contact


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Julie Petlick

SAS Student Programs Manager

Julie Petlick works in the SAS Education Division as part of the Global Academic Program team. Julie is responsible for the SAS Student Program and is dedicated to supporting teaching and learning.

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