Skip to main content
SPS Logo

Frequently Asked Questions

Predictive Business Analytics Professional Development Certificate

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is the program?

The program consists of two parts that can be taken independently. The first part is the Certificate in Predictive Business Analytics and totals five courses. The first course is four weeks long. Students may test out of this module, based on background and experience. The remaining four courses are eight weeks long each. There is one week off between courses and can be completed in about 40 weeks. The Advanced Certificates are each one course long and each one is eight weeks long. Students can complete as many of these as they wish.

What is the focus of this certificate?

The Certificate in Predictive Business Analytics focuses on giving students the skills to make actionable insights from data that are relevant to management and gain their companies a competitive advantage. This means that not only will students learn the statistics in predictive analytics, but they will also gain vital communications and visualization skills so that they make compelling presentations that explain their results.

How is this program different than the Northwestern University School of Professional Studies Master of Sciences in Predictive Analytics?

The certificate programs have their academic roots embedded in the successful and acclaimed Master of Science in Predictive Analytics (MSPA). The courses were designed based on the content of the program, but distilled down to just 40 weeks instead of 2 years. Even so, the content was designed by Northwestern faculty to meet the business needs of those working in predictive analytics careers or those who want to move into them.

How can predictive business analytics help my career?

Using data and analytics is a fast-growing field. Students who complete the certificate program will be prepared to step in and help businesses and organizations leverage and manage data and develop data-driven solutions, either as in-house experts and managers or as independent consultants. The growing volume of data will likely lead to new kinds of positions in a wide variety of industries. Predictive analytics is one of the fastest growing jobs in the US and India.

Who will be the faculty?

The faculty will be a combination of PhD and practitioner faculty drawn from industry and academics in the USA and India. The faculty at Northwestern University has designed the program content and will lead the online component of the program. The faculty hired by the Bridge School are experts in the field and work at major Indian or international companies. They will lead the supplemental, weekly in-person class sessions.

What are the components of the online learning modules?

Each week students will access the Northwestern University learning management system (LMS). In it they will find readings, discussion boards, assignments and videos. All course reading is provided by the Northwestern University library and is available online in the LMS for free. Students will be required to complete the readings, assignments and selected discussion board questions before they come to class each week.

What are the components of the in-class learning modules?

Students will come to the Bridge School once a week for a three hour lecture session. During this time, students will watch the weekly video prepared by the Northwestern University faculty and discuss it. They will also discuss selected discussion board questions and review the assignment. Students may also work together on group projects.

What level of R will students learn?

Students should be at a beginner/intermediate level after completing the entire program. We will be using R for (almost) everything, but we are starting from scratch and assuming no prior experience. This means that students will (hopefully) be proficient with R at the end of the program, but not at the expert level. It would take anyone more than 16 weeks part time to be an expert at any programming language. We will be doing some advanced work, but keep in mind that this is using pre-written statistics packages, not any original code or functions. Also, in Course 3 we will rely almost entirely on existing packages and the students will have the code provided to them in the homework projects/tutorials.

Will students learn Hadoop?

We won't be using Hadoop. The parallel processing session in Course 3 will have the students run parallel computations using R on their own machine. Students will do some reading about the Hadoop/MapReduce framework, watch a video of a computer running a Hadoop job. We will also provide them with resources so they can explore more on their own time (Cloudera, Hortonworks).

Back to top