Instructor Spotlight: Thomas Duncan
Thomas Duncan joins UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education as the instructor of SQL and Data Collection in the new four-course series Data Analytics: Essentials, designed for those interested in launching a career in data. Duncan is the business analytics manager with Trifecta Nutrition and has been working in the data field for nearly 15 years at companies like the Sacramento Kings, PricewaterhouseCoopers, the Baltimore Orioles and Apptopia.
“I have always been interested in math and statistics, particularly from the angle of professional sports, so a career in data analysis and data science was a perfect fit for me,” says Duncan, who has an M.S. in statistics and a B.S. in mathematics. While this is his first time formally teaching a course, he has experience presenting on topics in data science and provided internal training in SQL and R for seven years while he was with the Sacramento Kings. “I have always enjoyed sharing my knowledge and experiences with others, and this is an opportunity to do so with a larger audience.”
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According to Duncan, he tends to have a very hands-on approach when it comes to teaching, which he believes is beneficial for learning something as practical as SQL. “My primary goals for students in my SQL and Data Collection course are to recognize the critical role querying plays in the data analysis process and to master querying techniques to the point that even the most complicated analyses are greatly simplified,” he says.
Duncan believes that data analysis is an essential tool in many professional environments, but that many of the skills needed for deep, complicated data analysis are often undeveloped. “This makes mastering data analysis incredibly powerful for individuals looking to have an impact within an organization,” he explains.