Alpha and Beta are both types of measurement that may be used by the different analysts. Beta is meant to measure volatility which means that it will measure how a stock can move against an index. There are are also other things that can be measured such as a portfolio or an ETF. Alpha is known to be the measurement of the return of the asset when compared to the adjusted potential return.
You must know these two so that you will have an idea of how to measure the items that can possibly help you earn some money. Will the risks be worth it? What if the stocks you purchase will not stock up against the market? These are things you should learn when making some investments.