Business Analytics is a broad field with numerous opportunities for study and even more career paths. Analysts are needed in every sector, and the data they work with drives the decisions businesses make each day.
Many analysts have degrees in business, mathematics, or statistics, but with the correct mindset, you can achieve success in the field as a self-taught professional.
Today’s online educational platforms provide hundreds of free courses in business, and many of them fall into the realm of analytics. The choices are abundant, with offerings for all skill levels, from beginners to established analysts.
The top free online business analytics courses are easy to join and provide a user-friendly interface and instruction from some of the best schools in the country. We’ve gathered up some of our favorites and compiled a list of 10 excellent choices. They are listed in descending order according to a methodology we developed to sort out only the most desirable free online business analytics courses.
Whether you are curious about whether business analytics is right for you, or you are an established professional looking to hone your skills, read on to see what we’ve uncovered.
Data Analytics for Managers
This course offered through the University of Michigan features a combination of case studies, hands-on exercises, and lectures that provide students with an overview of data analytics and its many applications to business. Though the title describes it as a course for managers, you don’t need to be in leadership to take this course, and it’s suitable for all levels of learning.
During the free online business analytics course, students will learn:
- Various hands-on techniques and how they apply to business
- How to handle data analytics using a graphical development environment to avoid complex coding
- How to conduct basic data science activities and interpret the resulting data
The free online business analytics course lasts around six weeks and takes between two to four hours a week to complete, but you can go at your own pace. Students can audit the entire class at no charge or opt for a paid version which will give them an instructor-signed certificate of completion.
Business Analytics-Communicating With Data
Taught by Professor Kevin Hartman, this engaging course is designed to provide students with the foundation they need to use data analytics to solve real-world business challenges. It takes approximately 14 hours to complete and is one of the best free online business analytics courses we have found for beginners. It’s broken into four weekly modules with topics including:
- Pictures you see with your brain
- Working fast and thinking slow
- Finding your data story
- Getting your story across
There are 22 on-demand videos in all, as well as 13 readings and 10 quizzes. Students who want to read and view the course content only can take the course in audit mode for free. Purchasing the course allows users the option of graded assignments and a completion certificate, but this is optional.
The Customer Analytics Course offered by Wharton is the first course in an overall Business Analytics Specialization offered on Coursera. While certification for the specialization comes with a price tag, students can audit each course within the specialization at no charge, making this an excellent resource for serious learners.
The free online business analytics course is five weeks long and features nine readings, 34 videos, and quizzes. It is designed to teach users how prescriptive, predictive, and descriptive analysis applies to real-world business examples like Amazon, Google, and other large enterprises. During the course, students will learn:
- How to describe the main methods of customer data collection
- Understand how the data is used to make important business decisions
- Understand and distinguish between tools used to predict customer behavior
- Communicate key ideas about the field of customer analytics
- Discuss the history of customer analytics and its application at some of today’s top firms
Knowledge Management and Big Data in Business
Big Data has created huge opportunities for business analysts, and this course offered through Berkeley provides students with an overview of the skills and knowledge needed to analyze all that information.
The four-week online course is intended to be taken for five to seven hours each week, but participants are welcome to go at their own pace. It’s entirely free to take in audit mode, where students can access all the lectures and readings. Those who want to earn a verification certificate can opt to pay a fee, which also uncovers some extra course materials. The free version covers:
- Competitive analysis
- Market segmentation
- How to analyze and structure markets
- Application of advanced programming languages toward segmentation
Data, Models, and Decisions
MIT’s Open Source Learning platform offers this comprehensive course introducing first-year MBA students to the fundamental techniques of using data. It is a graduate-level course developed by Professors Robert Freund, Juan Pablo Vielma and Cynthia Rudin and covers the materials taught in the classroom in Fall 2014.
The free business analytics online course shows students how to enhance decision-making skills by identifying different ways of modeling and thinking about problems. Participants will need a copy of the book Data, Models, and Decisions: The Fundamentals of Management Science. Lecture summaries are available, but the bulk of the class was in reading and discussion.
Taking the class on your own means that the discussion aspect will be absent. Nevertheless, this challenging course will get you thinking and is ideal if you are ready to move on to the next level of problem-solving.
MIT’s MOOC courses have no set schedule and can be started at any time with no sign-up or hassles. There is no grading or certification, just the satisfaction of knowing you’ve invested time into your own education.
Business Analyst Training and Resources
Bridging the Gap is a website owned and operated by analyst and author Laura Brandenburg. The site offers both free and paid training options and a wealth of resources related to becoming a business analyst.
The main freebie at Bridging the Gap is a training workshop intended to give students an overview of the field. Users can sign up via email on the home page. From there, you can navigate to helpful articles, free webinars, and more.
Free BA Video Training
This terrific site offers students over 40 five to nine-minute videos designed to teach a different business analysis topic. The site boasts that their tutorials (called knowledge nuggets) have been viewed over a million times since its inception.
We love that this “micro-training” can be bitten off in small chunks and referred to again and again. There are no signups, fees, or hoops to jump through, just free information—ideal for students who like learning on their own without timers or modules.
Some of the videos offered include:
- Business analysis and system development methodologies
- How to identify stakeholders for IT projects
- Forming effective user stories
- Drawing data flow diagrams for business analysis
The site also hosts a one-hour course on Business Analysis for Information Technology
Business Analytics Expert
Did you know that if you already have a premium LinkedIn account you can access a huge library of courses (over 16,000) at no additional cost? That’s a pretty big perk that many users don’t even know about. And many of those courses can earn you the industry-recognized certification that you can display on your profile to improve your career prospects.
This course—Become a Business Analytics Expert— consists of 10 learning modules designed to give students an overview of the tools, concepts, and techniques needed to start a career as a business analyst. It’s taught by three industry experts and covers lessons like:
- Logistic regression and data reduction techniques in R and Excel
- Foundations of business analytics, including predictive, descriptive, experimental, descriptive, exploratory, and explanatory
- Forecasting with exponential, seasonal baseline, and trending baseline smoothing
The ten-and-a-half-hour course is an ideal jumping-off point for anyone interested in pursuing business analytics. For those who do not have a premium account on LinkedIn, the free online business analytics course can be accessed as part of a free one-month trial. Students who do not want to retain a Linked-In membership should be prepared to cancel the trial to avoid being charged.
Upon completion, you will receive a badge that can be displayed on your profile.
Decision-making and Risk
Using analyst Daniel Kahneman’s decision-making model, students in this course will learn about risks and some of the key barriers to effective decision-making. Participants will explore the nature of data and information and explore the challenges of how to manage that data.
This course is ideal for anyone who wants to improve their knowledge of risk and decision-making both in their business and personal lives. It was developed by Coventry University and is taught over two weeks for about three hours each week.
FutureLearn offers free access to the course for four weeks when you sign up for an account. After that, users will have to pay to access the materials. Students who choose to upgrade will have unlimited access to the course as well as the opportunity to earn a digital and print certificate of completion.
Fundamentals of Google Analytics
Anyone interested in pursuing a career in the field of business analytics needs to have a firm grasp in digital analytics, and this introductory course is a great place to begin. Taught by Google Analytics Strategist Jeff Sauer, it contains nine quick lessons that can be accessed for free on the Skillshare platform. The free business analytics online course takes just over an hour. Students will learn:
- How to set custom goals based on visitor behavior
- How to use segments and content groups to understand your audience
- How to track campaigns and search for insights into traffic sources
Students can access the course at no charge for 14 days through Skillshare’s free trial membership. After that, monthly membership fees will run you between $8.25 and $19.00 monthly, so be sure to cancel before your trial ends if you do not want to be charged. It’s worth noting that there are over 27,000 classes offered on the platform.