research Technical Training

Data Literacy

If anyone is looking for a publicly certified data literacy course, I would recommend checking out the offering from SAS: SAS Training: Data Literacy Essentials. I know that there is a bit of a leap gap between statistical literacy and data literacy, but at least learning the jargon will stand a person in good stead for the next 5-10 years.

Bodin Technical Text Analysis

Text-Analysis GUI

I recently had a chance to demo some of the tools bundled with Sketch Engine. One cool feature it offers is the ability to create a custom corpus by scraping public domain texts off the web using to user-defined keywords. I created a small corpus of French texts dealing with Jean Bodin’s work on sovereignty and then generated an six-word n-gram and a keyword analysis. The keyword analysis is a particularly interesting feature of Sketch Engine that compares the frequency of terms in your corpus with their frequency in a reference corpus. So keyword ranking could be interpreted as a measure of the ‘salience’ of certain concepts within a corpus.

Here is a screenshot of the n-gram I generated:

Assuming that the texts Sketch Engine collated are either primary source or scholarly, this n-gram shows that while Bodin is quite concerned with identifying the location of sovereignty, the concepts of the republic and the government feature much more prominently than the person of the king.

Here is a screenshot of the keyword analysis I generated:

This multi-word keyword analysis really just demonstrates that Bodin’s approach to constitutional theory is legalistic, and that an analyst of Bodin’s work needs to figure out the conceptual relationship between sovereignty and absolutism.

Technical Training

Self-Paced Learning + Badges

There are a lot of data literacy and data science courses available online. I am sure you have your own favourites! I was impressed today to learn that the courses on are both free and grant users Credly badges on completion. Academic students of data science typically don’t worry about certifying their programming skills. However, hiring managers don’t have the time to read through a paper to find out if the author used sophisticated quantitative skills or not. So get certified! And ask probing questions about applicants’ skills profile (if you are hiring)! It takes a lot of work just to find the appropriate online learning resource. Just because applicants don’t have a sticker on their CV doesn’t mean they haven’t taken training in using a program.



Here is a link for a test that checks your up and down speed through a VPN: Skytap Speedtest. I recently switched to National Capital FreeNet as a service provider and wanted to see what level my upload speed was throttled at (its’s fairly low!). I would argue that the government should start thinking of broadband access as a capital asset. Working from home has created a new customer base for private owners of internet infrastructure without requiring them to lower costs and invest in new capacity.