Two weeks ago, we were tasked by a client who’s into buying and trading stocks to do a simple yet time-consuming work — data mining. We got excited as usual as that was a first job for a new client! But later we realized how tedious it was to look for the stock market information needed, transfer it to a spreadsheet, verify it through another website, and so on. Imagine doing that for almost 3,000 times. That’s a real test of patience and accuracy.

For someone who needs to know the daily or weekly developments in areas like the stock market, this activity is highly important. Also known as knowledge discovery, data mining is a series of actions where you obtain necessary and useful information through the use of a computer. It is a way of digging different materials or facts and analyzing or interpreting it into a more understandable structure. It helps to classify concepts for future use, summarize, or contrast data characteristics, and predict unknown or missing values.

If you have a huge amount of data to search, let me share with you some tips for faster, more accurate, and more effective data mining:

Mine eminent data – Data can be in a form of texts, numbers, or characters. Obtaining the only necessary data is an integral part of data mining. For example, when doing a stock market data research, all you have to do is dig information that is required. These data may be the previous close, previous volume, last price, price change, etc. Letting go of the others can help you save time and effort. One of the helpful tools that can be used is EDGAR (Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis and Retrieval).

Install helpful tools — To obtain data effectively, downloading the data mining tools must be in your to-do-list! These tools will help you grab the information you need in a shorter time frame. There are so many tools available for free that you can use to make searching easier and faster. Check this list of data mining tools and see what is applicable for your needs.

Need of constant research — Again, data mining is “knowledge discovery.” In every data searching task, it is essential not to stop acquiring or seeking new information and strategies that may lead to a positive outcome. One of the tips for generating rich data is to “look beyond transactional data.” It helps you arrive at a better analysis.

Engage with an assistant — Outsourcing data research tasks is a good option. Just make sure you give your instructions right, or else you end up in a mess. One of the most important aspects of any client – virtual assistant relationship is to keep your lines of communication open. Asking your assistant’s questions timely can help speed up the entire process. Set milestones and deadlines so both you and your virtual assistant know when progress updates or final outputs should be sent.

Data mining is a tedious task for a busy professional. Not only does it take your time from doing other important matters but can also stress you at the end of the day. Knowing how to make data gathering tasks easier makes you become more productive and efficient. Just remember the four tips I have shared to become a skilled data miner. I have applied these ideas and certainly gained commendable outcome. Data mining task? It’s just a piece of cake!

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