The Data School Blog

How to Approach a Time-Limited Project

At the Data School, we are constantly challenged and pushed with limited time projects. This is to develop our time management capabilities, to teach us to set realistic goals and to give us the confidence and knowledge that we can do it. So, what have I learned? In...

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Imposter Syndrome: Feeling like you belong

A reflective log and a message to current and future Data Schoolers...   Have you ever doubted your abilities? Have you felt like you're not as smart as people think you are? Have you thought your accomplishments are due to luck? Have you been afraid of being found...

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Joins and Unions

When should I use a join? What type of join should I use? When should I use a union instead?
This blog post it is an introduction to the concept of joins and unions that hopes to answer these questions.

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Data School Application

Hi!   I have recently joined the DS12 cohort this week. The one thing I really wished I had available when I was applying back in September was at least a description of what someone who’d been in my shoes had previously experienced with their Data School application....

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You don’t use E-mail?

We're sitting on the midweek hump of Week 1 here at The Data School as DS12. Day one consisted of digesting some background and history about The Information Lab and getting kitted out with some swag and laptops. On day two, Carl made it much clearer what our...

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Automating my Former Job Using Alteryx

Background Before joining the Data School, I worked as a Pricing and Revenue Analyst for a car rental company. The job title was fancy, and the advert intriguing. Promising analysis of previous and current market trends, development of competitive pricing strategies...

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How to Embed Spotify in your Vizzes

For my TIL Christmas Song viz in Figure 1 (see it here!), I embedded a Spotify playlist so you can listen to the music in the viz as you explore. Embedding a Spotify playlist/ track/ album can be great for adding another dimension to your vizzes. For example, they can...

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Halfway there….

DS10 graduated on Friday....we (DS11) are now half way through our DS training journey .... and DS12 start tomorrow...time is flying by! I thought I’d take a look back through the first part of my DS journey and take note of five things I’ve learnt so far:   Teamwork...

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One Thing Ends, Another Begins

I can’t quite believe how fast these past four months have gone. It’s quite a strange feeling knowing that in only a few days we’ll all be heading out to our first placements rather than gathering in the DS for another day. It’s be quite an exhausting few months, but...

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Alteryx Quality of Life Tips

I have only been using Alteryx for a couple of months now, but already I'm starting to come across some of those little things that make you think: "I can't believe I didn't know this". In the following I've compiled a list of some of those knacks and quality of life...

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Uploading and Updating to Alteryx Server

To upload a workflow to Alteryx server first connect to the server through Options > Manage Server Credentials and then completing the login to the server using the correct URL. You can then begin saving the workflow to the server by choosing File > Save As > Add a...

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An Overview of Webscraping using Alteryx

Webscraping can be a very powerful tool. It allows users to 'scrape' a website for the public data displayed on the site. Rather than having to manually note down figures or words on the site, software tools can be used to pull this data from the page source code and...

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The Throttle Tool – Alteryx

When web scraping, one of the problems you may come across is being blocked from a site as you have tried to access it too many times in a short period of time. One tip I found out during our web scraping sessions was about using the Throttle tool. You can find the...

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Transparent Worksheets in Tableau

There is a feature that was released with Tableau 2018.3 which can make designing dashboards a whole lot easier, but which might also lead to horrible creations, floating containers and confusion: Transparent Worksheets! Until recently, going to the format section and...

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How to Create a Custom Colour Palette

Did you know you can make your own colour palettes for Tableau? This is great for businesses and individuals who want to incorporate branding into your dashboards and to ensure regularity of colour in dashboards across your company.   So, how do you make one? Navigate...

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Tableau Tip: Parameter multi-field formatting

When using a parameter in Tableau Desktop or Public, it can be tricky to fix the formatting if a few of the fields within the parameter have different number formats. For example, you may want to use a parameter to allow the user to change between currency, rates and...

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The Prep Off: Alteryx vs Tableau Prep

The Prep Off... Two major contenders in the ring tonight: new kid on the block, Tableau Prep and reigning champion here at the Information Lab, Alteryx Designer. How do these two softwares compare when cleaning two Excel sheets (within the same workbook)? The chosen...

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Tableau Prep Tip: how to ‘Cross Tab’

Today we spent all day performing data prep. It was really fun, leading to some frustrations and interesting language by both us and the coaches, but ultimately was very satisfying compiling lovely, clean data sets. We used both Alteryx and Tableau Prep, often...

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Creating Clusters In Tableau

Tableau allows you to cluster A Dimension based on multiple Measures in a quick and efficient way.   Step 1: To be able to create clusters you must start with one dimension and two measures in a scatterplot diagram. Here I have Dragged sales into the Columns shelf and...

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Statistics Series // 1.2 Cluster Analysis in Tableau

Cluster analysis can also be performed in Tableau. This post will show you how, using the same beer data as my previous post which introduces cluster analysis and shows how to perform it in Alteryx.  This is part of a series of blogs I'm writing on Statistical...

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Statistics Series // 1.1 Cluster Analysis in Alteryx

Statistics used properly can be a powerful tool to analyse data with so I thought I would do a few blog posts, or a series if you will, on various statistical techniques. First up is Cluster Analysis; primarily explaining in this post how to using Alteryx, but also in...

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Tableau Prep Developments – Round-Up

Here’s the latest round-up of all the Tableau Prep releases that have happened over the last few weeks (that’s right - just weeks!) since I published the last update pre-conference. In all honesty, some of the aspects the team are pulling together at the moment are...

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A Simple Way to Make a Radar Chart

Radar (or spider) charts can be an effective way to show certain types of data. However, they can also make comparison a little difficult; this blog by Graham Odds details why radar charts aren't always the best choice. Nonetheless, I've seen a few on Twitter lately,...

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Louise’s 6 Week Reflections

  Has it been 6 weeks already?! As cliché as it is, time really has flown by. The Data School’s 11th cohort have just completed our 6th week of training and will be beginning our 7th week at the time of this post’s publishing. Crazy right? With only a couple weeks...

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Throwback to DS Week 1: Application Reviz

This post has been on my laptop as a draft for weeks, and I had been meaning to finish and publish it forever. After Andy and Eva gave a talk at the Data School about being more productive and mentioned how they never keep a blog post in draft, I decided to finally...

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Setting Reference Bands with Custom Values per Pane

This post is based on a chart I made for this week's Makeover Monday, based on projected age data about the US population. After reading it, you should be able to create individual reference bands for every pane in your view. The Problem Playing with different ways to...

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What Are Data Joins?

For a long time I didn't understand how joins work, and had to wing it when combining data sets. That time is no more and I am writing this blog to share my new knowledge and confirm to myself that I actually do understand data joins. A data join is when two data sets...

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Measure Names and Measure Values: What are they?

A simple word to describe them is placeholders.  Measure Names and Measure Values are placeholders that try to squeeze multiple things in the same place. Look at this chart: Let's say I want to show both SUM(Sales) and SUM(Profit).   Option #1: Use Measure Values and...

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Tableau Extracts: What are their Pros and Cons?

What is an extract? Maleeha today came up with the right word for it: A snapshot. Basically, a Tableau extract allows you to create a copy your dataset or subsets of data and save them.  You may also want to reduce the total amount of data by using filters. But why...

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A Macro Breakdown

My first experience of a macro was many years back when Runescape was all the rage and occasionally whilst playing you would come across lvl 3 players walking straight to a place to mine or chop trees, continuously mine or chop for 30 minutes and then walk to a bank...

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Tableau Prep: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Since my last blog, I have used Tableau Prep 2018.2 to clean five different datasets so I think it’s a good time to discuss the good, the bad and the ugly of Prep...   The Good As with Tableau Desktop, Prep is pretty. Compared to Alteryx, it looks modern, clean and is...

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Dashboard Week Day 5: Kitsch-o-rama with Meteors

Last day of dashboard week! Continuing on with the space theme established earlier in the week for me, today’s dataset was a subset of NASA’s meteorite fall data.There were no preparation in Alteryx needed for the core requirements (as Tableau does pretty well with simple JSON file) though some people did go down that route. First however, a gif which I took out of my original dashboard, which because it’s Friday I’ve taken the liberty of putting in a very questionable font and colours.

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Dashboard Week, day 5: Striking sets

1000 meteorites + 4 hours + 2 new features = 1 final day. The data for today came from NASA and looked at Meteorite landings for the last 1000 or so years. Andy specifically said there was no Alteryx involved, so the first thing I did was open Alteryx to download the...

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Dashboard Week Part 4 – COORDinating an API-App

The challenge for day 4 (after a great talk from James Eiloart, Senior VP of Tableau in Europe, Middle-East and Africa) - build an analytic app in Alteryx to pull data from the COORD bike share API.   The idea is to allow the user to select a city of interest, five...

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Using Tableau Prep to Clean Personality Test Data

This week at the Data School we learned how to use Tableau Prep to prepare data. After training with the tool in the morning we were given the afternoon to find a data set and use Tableau Prep to clean it before visualising it in Tableau. I chose the results of online...

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Dashboard Week Day 4: Building a Company in 4 Hours…

Today we had a slightly shorter amount of time to complete out dashboards due to a really interesting visit from James Eiloart, Tableau SVP for EMEA. He spoke to us about the history of Tableau and where he sees the software platform in the current marketplace, which we were really pleased to come to terms with again in 2018.3, but first had to overcome an Alteryx wall of building a whole analytic app in 4 hours.

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Dashboard Week – Day 4: Getting Custom Maps.

Today we used data concerning the availability of bikes and docking stations from COORD. However, as we were back in 2018.3, the benefits of nice software was balanced out with a bit of a nightmare with trying to get the data (involving an API and an analytic app, see...

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Data scaffolding in Tableau Prep

Sometimes data analysis is needed for row of data which has no data in. For example, finding out how many people are employed in a certain region on a certain date when all you have is the start and finish date of the employees. This is an ideal chance to use Tableau...

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Tableau Prep: Getting Started Guide

Tableau Prep version 2018.1.1 was released in April this year. Six months on and five versions later, Emily Chen introduced DS11 to Tableau Prep 2018.3.1. My first thoughts? Its user interface is modern and intuitive with some great functions but there are some...

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Dashboard Week 3: Traffic Patterns in Yorkshire and the Humber

Today’s task was extracting Traffic Data for areas of the UK and chucking it throw a ye olde analysis in Tableau 8 (by Friday we’re hoping to be on pasta shapes, glitter and crayon). I had the region of Yorkshire and the Humber, and decided to do an analysis of the % change in traffic volumes over the life of the dataset (since 2000), with a subsection on cycling.

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Dashboard Week Day 2- Visualising Weather Data

The Brief Having missed day one of dashboard week whilst on holiday I was keen to get stuck in. Andy briefed us from Ireland on the task. We were to obtain weather data from the National Centres for Environmental Information website, which is a fantastic source for...

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Dashboard Week, Day 2: Less haste, more speed.

For Tuesday’s task, Andy asked us to download and analyse daily summary weather observations from the National Weather Service’s Cooperative Observer Program. His specific instructions were: “The team needs to download weather observations from every station for every...

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Your Year in a Radial Graph

A radial graph is a graph rotating around the axis like a clock face. I took inspiration from Mina's Clock Chart blog (https://www.thedataschool.co.uk/mina-ozgen/make-clock-chart/) to use Alteryx and Tableau to make years worth of data into circles; as I thought this...

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Caress as a Service: Dashboard Week Day 1, Network Diagrams

Our hill start today was a text response API known as FOAAS, which generates profane responses based on parameters in your input query. After some deliberation and some help from newly minted Alteryx Ace Ben, I decided to make a network diagram based on the common relationships between words in the response calls.

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Dashboard Week, Day 1: Off to an insulting start

Day one of the infamous dashboard week at the Data School. We’ve all heard about it, read about, had nightmares about it, and so we sat down somewhat apprehensively for the 9am call with Andy to give us the task for the day. Our mission was to use the FOAAS Api to...

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Dashboard Week: Making a Profanity Cloud

Today marked the start of Dashboard Week. Andy called in and gave us our brief- this challenge intended to refresh our API knowledge. The API would be taken from FOAAS.com. For those unacquainted with FOAAS, F*ck Off As A Service provides a "modern, restful, scalable...

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