Unit 3: Data and Databases
Data is a collection of facts. For example, population estimates for China and the United States are data. Information is the presentation of these facts in an organized manner, that is, the presentation of these population counts side-by-side with other facts like per capita income, for example. Knowledge refers to the use of information to make informed decisions. In this case, you might consider these figures critical knowledge for making policy decisions about China and the United States. Managing data allows the government, corporations, and even individuals to apply this knowledge to their everyday lives. Managing data can be difficult because databases are often filled with more information than you need. In this unit, you will explore the challenges of data management and learn how to take data and turn it into knowledge.
We have used the word database a number of times in this course. We will now define and study databases in detail. Entire courses are devoted to this subject – such as CS403: Introduction to Modern Database Systems – since the uses and types of databases are as varied as the businesses that use them. However, you can expect to leave this unit with enough of an understanding of databases to have a conversation with a database administrator about the needs of your team or department. This course focuses on relational databases.
Completing this unit should take you approximately 9 hours.