Data Visualization and Communications
We all face information overload. With the explosion of data that companies gather today, almost every individual handles data in some way. The data is meaningless if the insights aren’t understood by the people making the decisions. Organizations need employees with good data visualization and communication skills to present valuable and actionable insights so they can make informed, data-driven decisions.
That’s where the Data Visualization and Communication Certificate comes in. By presenting data visually with charts, graphs, diagrams, illustrations, infographics, dashboards and maps, combined with storytelling techniques, you can turn data into valuable information for your audience to make informed decisions. These are skills that employees need to learn, develop and practice in order to communicate with data effectively.
- Data is understandable
- Insights are gained
- Decisions are made
Data visualization skills are becoming increasingly necessary across many career types, regardless of the industry—government, finance, marketing, consumer goods, service, education and more.
The SMU Data Visualization and Communication Certificate program will help you improve your skills through the introduction of key principles and best practices, coupled with hands-on exercises and projects. This certificate also offers an opportunity to gain experience with multiple tools, learn to determine the best visualization for specific types of data and explore fundamentals of presenting data. You’ll learn techniques to pair visualizations with storytelling and communication skills to create compelling presentations tailored to your audience.
- Learn to apply data visualization skills with communication and storytelling techniques
- Understand the possibilities data contain so that you can create a visual story
- Visualize data using best practices to communicate insights
- Communicate trends, relationships and patterns in multiple formats
- Acquire skills to use data through a variety of visualization tools, developing your own data visualization toolbox
- Understand the elements of storytelling and why they matter in business
- Improve your presentation skills and tailor your presentation for different audiences
- Identify and design stand-alone data visualization formats such as handouts, infographics and dashboards
- Turn data into actionable insights for data-driven business decisions
- Complete a capstone project to include in your business portfolio
Who should attend?
Data visualization skills are becoming increasingly necessary across most career types, regardless of the industry. The data visualization and communication skills taught in this certificate program would be applicable to:
- Sales & marketing professionals
- Data analysts
- Data scientists
- Product managers
- Engineers & developers
- Researchers & designers
- Accounting & finance professionals
- Operations & logistics managers
- PR professionals
- Any professionals who interpret, present and share data
Where are these courses offered?
This SMU Data Visualization and Communications Certificate is completely online. You will never be required to attend a brick-and-mortar classroom and you can complete your entire course from the comfort of your own home or office.
Students will meet as a class once a week with the instructors for discussions, review of concepts, and to answer questions. Students will also have reading, videos, activities and quizzes to take on their own time in between real-time, online meetings.
Why Choose SMU?
SMU PRO’s certificate is the only program in Texas that combines data visualization and communication into a single program.
- Small class sizes allow for meaningful, individual interactions with instructors who are experts on the subject
- All instructors are seasoned professionals working in the field
Students will have a real-time online meeting once a week for 1.5 hours and approximately 3.5 hours of out-of-class videos, activities and reading, which altogether fulfill a total of 5 hours-per-week committed to the program.
- Foundations of Data Visualization
- Storytelling in Business
- Applying Design Principles to Data Visualization
- Delivering Effective Presentations
- Presenting with Data: Tools and Best Practices
- Infographics: Design and Publishing
- Dashboards: Tools and Best Practices
- Final Project
Skills and Experience Required
- Some prior experience working with data sets
- Basic concepts in math and statistics
- Basic understanding of working with data and creating charts in Excel and PowerPoint
- Some prior experience building and giving presentations with PowerPoint
- Beginner-level experience delivering presentations to an audience
- You must have a computer (Windows or Mac) with a webcam for participation in all live class sessions
- Microsoft Office 2016 or newer
- Adobe Acrobat Reader (or other PDF reader)
- Modern web browser (Firefox or Chrome recommended)
- You need the authority to install applications on your computer (we will install new data visualization tools)
- Priority Rate: $3895 (expires two weeks before start date)
- Standard Registration: $4145
- Fees include tuition and textbooks
Payments and Financing
- Student Loans
Students may qualify for a Smart Options Continuing Education Student Loan, offered by Sallie Mae. Your Sallie Mae Loan application must be completed and approved 14 days before the first day of the program. Loan cannot exceed the cost of tuition. Contact our admissions team for details.
- Members of the SMU community (faculty, staff, students and alumni) may receive discounted tuition.
- Nonprofit organizations and groups may qualify for discounts.
- Contact a program advisor using the form on the right, for more details.
- Corporate discounts may be available. Please call 972-473-3469 for information.
Where are these courses offered?
This SMU PRO Certificate is designed and taught by seasoned Data Visualization practitioners and is completely online. You will never be required to attend a brick-and-mortar classroom and you can complete your entire course from the comfort of your own home or office.
What skills do online learners need?
Most courses require a basic level of computer skills, including the ability to send and receive email, as well as conduct research on the Internet. You should be comfortable using technology and have some foundation in design elements and principles.
What equipment do I need to enroll?
You must have a computer and a webcam.
How do students interact with instructors?
All courses are taught by instructors who provide support for students through the real-time online class meetings, online office hours, and discussion boards.
Do I need an email account for my online course?
Yes, all students taking online courses must have an email account. Email accounts may be obtained by signing up for a free account through a free internet service provider, such as Gmail, Mail.com, Yahoo! Mail or Outlook.com.
What kind of certificate do I get when I have completed the course?
Once you have completed your course, a Certificate of Completion will be sent from SMU PRO.
Whom do I contact if I have a problem with my course?
If you encounter any technical difficulties, you should always contact your instructor first, but if that is unsuccessful, you can email email@example.com.
When does registration begin?
Registration opens approximately eight (8) weeks before each quarter begins. Students are encouraged to register early to secure their places in the course(s) of their choice.
Students may register online or via phone at 214-768-2273.
Where do the courses meet?
Online through our Canvas portal and through Zoom.
How long are the courses, and when are they offered?
Students will have a real-time online meeting once a week for 1.5 hours and approximately 3.5 hours of out of class videos, activities, and reading to complete a total of 5 hours/week commitment.
Class has already started; if I need to cancel, can I get a partial refund?
SMU Global and Online makes every effort to assure a quality learning experience. If you choose to withdraw from the certificate program, please notify us in writing or fax 214-768-1071. SMU Certificate enrollment is final as of three (3) business days prior to first class start date and programs are intended to be successfully completed in full. Once you are enrolled, withdrawal from the program or not completing the program forfeits your tuition costs. We do not provide any prorated refunds or credits for partial certificate program completion. However, students may transfer to another cohort/class, free of charge, provided there is space available and time remaining for them to successfully complete the program.
Failure to attend class does not constitute withdrawal.
All refunds will be made in the form of the original payment. Please allow up to six weeks to receive check refunds.
Full details are available in the certificate terms and conditions provided during the application process.
What if a class I want to register for is full?
Online courses are capped at 30 students. A student may choose to be added to the waitlist, free of charge, for any course that has already reached its maximum enrollment. If space becomes available in the course, or if a new section of the course is added to the schedule, those on the waitlist will be notified in the order in which they joined the waitlist. Students on the waitlist are not obligated to register if/when a space becomes available. We encourage students to add their names to the waitlist for courses they are interested in, as this can be a factor in whether or not new sections of the course are added to the schedule.
Can I pay when I arrive at the class?
Advance registration is required. Students may register 24 hours/day online, or during business hours by phone at 214-768-2273 or by visiting the SMU Global and Online office. Access to the course is available only to registered, paid students. Instructors are not permitted to accept registration fees at class meetings.
What if I forget my “Account ID” or the password I used for online registration?
Go to the student portal and choose "forgot username" or "forgot password."
What should I do if I miss class?
If possible, inform your instructor in advance to check on arrangements and find out how absences will affect your grade.
What should I do if I miss an exam?
A student who misses an announced exam with the instructor’s prior permission may be given an opportunity to make up the work at the instructor’s convenience. Notify the instructor as soon as possible. If the instructor gives you permission, you are eligible to take a make-up exam.
Why might a course be cancelled by SMU?
While rare, SMU reserves the right to cancel a course due to insufficient enrollment. Should SMU cancel a course, a full refund will be granted to enrollees. Every effort is made to notify students of a course cancellation in advance. Students are encouraged to register early to secure a place in the course(s) of their choice and to help ensure the course's success.
I am located in a country outside of the United States and would like to register for a course. What do I do?
Anyone is welcome to register for our online courses. Courses are in English.
Randy Krum is a data visualization designer, author of the book Cool Infographics: Effective Communication with Data Visualization and Design, Founder and President of InfoNewt (a data visualization design firm), organizer of the Dallas-Fort Worth Data Visualization Meetup group, instructor of Data Visualization Design at Southern Methodist University and manager of the popular website Coolinfographics.com. Randy presents talks and workshops at conferences, universities, corporate events and to government agencies about communicating with data, data visualization design, visual content marketing, infographics design and promotion, and the effective use of visual communication.
Steve Lee, APR, is Professor of Practice for Corporate Communication and Public Affairs in the SMU Meadows School of the Arts and Chairman and Chief Pathfinder of QSI Consulting Group. Steve is not exactly your normal social media expert. He brings decades of business experience combined with techno understanding to make a vibrant combination. That’s how he helps senior executives wade through the latest interactive and marketing trends to create clearer visions of their business and communications needs.
Did you know?
Up to $33K
average annual salary increase when workers learned new data skills.
Source: Burning Glass Technologies
Messages delivered as stories can be up to 22 times more memorable than just facts.