Week 2 - EVERYTHING is a learning experience

by Aj Basnet

This was only our second week in the Data School and we already got our first client – Kingston University. This just exemplifies how quickly we learn and implement new skills in the DS. For the project, we had to  analyze and visualize their internal student satisfaction survey. They wanted to use this information to improve their National Student Survey (NSS) ranking in order to stay competitive against other Universities.

We were all split into different groups and we all had a specific task. Will and I had the task of producing a course level dashboard. So basically, we had to create a dashboard which would be used by course leaders to understand how well their modules are. Due to the complexity of their data as well as the limited time we are given since we only had time to work on the project after Tableau training sessions; we were under a lot of pressure. This pressure meant every day became a learning experience which pushed all of us to excel (pun unintended).

In the middle of the week, we had a parameter session from Sasha – one of the core team member. We learned 12 use cases for parameters. It was a very useful session for us as each of the group ended up using parameters in their respective dashboards. One of my favorite feature I learned in this session was the ability to have ‘Switch Views’, which basically allows the user to overlay two sheets on top of each other. This feature gives the user more control over how they view the dashboard.

Towards the end of the week, we got a break from doing our project and had to do our first Tableau demo. Since none of us had any prior experience of the sales demo, it was a very interesting learning experience. This gave us the opportunity to show how much we have learned about Tableau and improve our presentation skills. I learned that part of the difficulty of the demo is understanding your audience.

By the time Friday rolled on, we all mostly finished our dashboard apart from few bugs and formatting problems.  During our presentation, four employees from Kingston University came to critique it along with most of the core team members. It was the first time the DS room was completely filled. Despite few nerves, the presentation went perfectly and everyone was impressed with our work. My favorite compliment was when one of core member suggested we could convert our dashboard into an actual product and sell it to different Universities.

Working directly for a client and having a limited time for projects is an experience which cannot be understated as this is exactly what we will be doing throughout our placement.

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