Data is a collection of facts or statistics that have been gathered for reference, analysis, or computation. It's the raw information that computers, applications, and systems use to perform tasks and make decisions.
Data can come in many forms. It could be something simple like a list of names, or something complex like the entirety of a person's genome. It could be numeric, like sales figures, or textual, like customer reviews. It could even be visual, like a series of images for a machine learning algorithm to analyze.
In the tech world, data is like the fuel that powers our systems. It's the ingredient that machine learning models need to learn and make predictions. It's the resource that businesses analyze to gain insights, spot trends, and make informed decisions.
However, raw data isn't typically very useful on its own. To create value from data, it often needs to be processed, organized, and analyzed – a process sometimes referred to as data management.