The Data School Blog

8 pieces of advice from my Data School training

8 pieces of advice from my Data School training

On Friday (two days ago), I graduated from The Data School’s intense four month training program. It’s been a challenging, wonderful, and hair-pulling experience from the first day until the last few hours. I wanted to leave a few reflections for those who come after me while it’s all still fresh in my mind.

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Why you need and how to create a shaded slope chart

Why you need and how to create a shaded slope chart

Slope graphs are a very neat way to visualise how a measure evolved over distinct time intervals or between distinct categories. That measure might be a numerical value or ranks of that value, but that's always down to the designer's preference. In this blog post, I...

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How To Customize Your Alteryx Macro Icon

How To Customize Your Alteryx Macro Icon

Today DS18 received their first training on Macros in Alteryx. This is a challenging topic and has several concepts that are difficult to wrap your head round. One fairly simple thing I did take away was how to customize the macro tool. Configuring this isn't...

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Tableau Tips

I’ve put together a few tips for using Tableau. Most are quick little ones that I use frequently. Enjoy

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Intro to fixed LODs

To be able to understand LOD’s we must first understand the basics of how Tableau visualises the data in your view. Dimensions can be dragged onto different shelves within a sheet to provide a level of detail to your viz. Depending on the dimension that you choose to...

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The Multi-Row Formula Tool

The Multi-Row Formula Tool

The multi-row formula tool allows you to write expressions that reference the row preceding and/or the row following an active row. The tool gives you the option to update an existing field or create a new field and can be very useful if you need to reference multiple...

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Four things I learnt from the infamous Dashboard Week!

Four things I learnt from the infamous Dashboard Week!

Every cohort in the Data School goes through infamous ‘Dashboard Week’. If you’ve not heard of this before, it involves getting a new unknown dataset every day, you then have until 5pm to prepare it, visualise it and write a blog on your process and your findings.

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Dashboard Week Day 5: Power BI

Dashboard Week Day 5: Power BI

As if Tableau 8 wasn’t enough – today we had to deal with PowerBI.  I’d never used the software before so this was a trial and error exercise really. The Data and data prep The dataset for today was a dataset from Kaggle that recorded all the transactions from...

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Unlimited POWER (BI): Dashboard Week Day 5

Unlimited POWER (BI): Dashboard Week Day 5

On the fifth day of dashboard week, my viz coach gave to me, a Power BI break from sanity. While for the most part The Information Lab sticks to Tableau and Alteryx as its ETL and Visualization softwares of choice, there comes a time when every Data Schooler must...

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Dashboard Week, Day 5 – KPI dashboard in Power BI

Dashboard Week, Day 5 – KPI dashboard in Power BI

For the last day of Dashboard Week DS17 finally got the task we have been waiting for - create a dashboard using a different software, particularly - Power BI. The data was about grocery store sales from a real grocery store, available from Kaggle. This time we had...

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Dashboard Week Day 5: Food For Thought

Dashboard Week Day 5: Food For Thought

Today is the last day of dashboard week and we were tasked with making the visualisation on Power BI. Not only will we be working with a new software, but we have a 1pm finish today instead of 5. The data that we worked with was from Kaggle and looked at sales data...

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Dashboard Week – Day 5: Adventures in Power BI

Dashboard Week – Day 5: Adventures in Power BI

For the final day of our dashboard week we were set a new challenge - to make a dashboard in Power BI. I had never even seen anyone use this software before, but have been excited to try it for a while. So this was always going to be an interesting morning. As it was...

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Dashboard Week – Day 5: Doomsday

Dashboard Week – Day 5: Doomsday

Forgive me Data Gods, for I hath sinned. We all remember the day we first picked up Tableau. So many tools, so much going on, so little knowledge - all we could do is trumble along and hope not to fall too hard. The results were amateurish, but they were hard fought....

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Day 4: Student registers for the universities…

Day 4: Student registers for the universities…

...in California ranging from the late 19th century to 1946!Today we got a very 'old school' dataset as well as a very 'old school' Tableau. In fact we got challenged to use an older version that doesn't have many of the capabilities we take for granted in newer...

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Going Back to Cali: Dashboard Week Day 4

Going Back to Cali: Dashboard Week Day 4

Curveball! Today, Andy asked us to download and use Tableau 8.3 for our dashboard-building. This version of Tableau, released in 2015, has much of the functionality we have come to know and love in The Data School, but there were a couple potholes to discover as well....

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Dashboard Week – Day 4!

Dashboard Week – Day 4!

Today I was down to teach the public at one, meaning I only had 3 hours to download, prep and visualise today's data. And to make matters worse...we had to do it on this ancient piece of software called Tableau 8.3 that they apparently used in the olden days....

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Day 3: Survey of Income and Program Participation

Day 3: Survey of Income and Program Participation

Today's challenge was aimed at survey data and my topic was highlighting Education attainment in the USA.My initial concept was to try highlight any impacts of the economic crisis on the education system in the US. Unfortunately the survey data is not recent enough to...

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Dashboard Week: Day 3

Dashboard Week: Day 3

Today we were tasked with looking at data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). My area of focus was Assets. My first thought was that it would be interesting to see the range of value for different assets such as cars/ properties/ bonds, among...

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Dashboard Week – Day 3: US Census Data

Dashboard Week – Day 3: US Census Data

Today I encountered some very frustrating issues very early on. The data we were intending to use came in a SAS format which, upon trying to access in alteryx I found to be locked and actually to be in a .sas7bdat format which I could not seem to unlock even after...

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Dashboard Week Day 3: American Survey Data

Dashboard Week Day 3: American Survey Data

On the third day of dashboard week, we were tasked to collect data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) Database to work on. We were given some topics to choose from, including economic well-being, family dynamics, education, assets, health...

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Losing My Census: Dashboard Week Day 3

Losing My Census: Dashboard Week Day 3

The U.S. Census has a lot of data to analyze, but they’re not going to make it easy for you. Check out how Dashboard Day 3 was a day of diminishing expectations punctuated by a beam of success at the end.

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Dashboard Week – Day 3!

Dashboard Week – Day 3!

We've now past the halfway mark - I am halfway through dashboard week! Woo! Today was probably the hardest day yet. The data we were using just wasn't formatted in any way that made sense, it came in file types we didn't recognise, and the documentation surrounding...

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Day 2: Content Delistings Due to Copyright

Day 2: Content Delistings Due to Copyright

The challenge assigned today was to investigate copyright complaints from Google's Transparency Report. It did take a few attempts, but eventually the data was downloaded as a team effort (Thank you Collin).DS17 did however end up taking over the WiFi at the office...

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Dashboard Week: Day 2

Dashboard Week: Day 2

Today we were looking at requests received by Google, regarding removing content due to copyright. We got the data from the Google Transparency Report (https://transparencyreport.google.com/copyright/overview?browse_copyright=ce:org;size:6&lu=browse_copyright)....

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Dashboard Week Day 2: Copyright Infringements

Dashboard Week Day 2: Copyright Infringements

Second day of dashboard week was about copyright infringements. The data came from the Google Transparency Report. The objective was to choose one topic out of the database to download. However, we could not find a way to download by topic, only the whole database,...

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Dashboard Week – Day 2!

Dashboard Week – Day 2!

Today, we blew up the internet. The task was to download and analyse Google’s Copyright Violations data – and boy was it big! We ended up having to sync our efforts and Collin downloaded the data whilst we went in search of USBs with which to distribute it. Once we...

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Dashboard Week – Day 2: Google Copyright data

Dashboard Week – Day 2: Google Copyright data

Today I was faced with a great deal of time pressure - leaving the DS at 2 in the afternoon for a teaching commitment meant I had to approach today's challenge in a different way, and in many ways reign in the scope of my project on what is a very comprehensive and...

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Dashboard Week Day 1: Waters of the World

Dashboard Week Day 1: Waters of the World

Today we started our Dashboard Week! Our task of the day was to work on the historical data from The Global Water Quality database operated by the International Centre for Water Resources and Global Change (ICWRGC). We were asked to choose a continent and analyse all...

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Dashboard Week: Day 1

Dashboard Week: Day 1

Dashboard Week: Day 1 Today we have had our first taste of dashboard week, with data from GEMStat that looked at water quality. My area of focus was influencing factors on the temperature of water bodies in Africa. We had to request specific data, which was then...

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Dashboard Week Day 1 – GEMStat Water Quality Data

Dashboard Week Day 1 – GEMStat Water Quality Data

Our first project in Dashboard week comprised of analysing GEMstat water quality data.  Each member of our cohort had to pick a continent and prepare and visualise the data. We each had to request our chosen data from the GEMStat website and this took a while to...

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Dashboard Week Day 1: European Water Quality Data

Dashboard Week Day 1: European Water Quality Data

And so it begins... Here at the Data School, this week is Dashboard week. This means that every day this week myself and my DS17 colleagues will be tasked each morning with prepping some data, vizzing it and writing a blog about it all by 5pm so that we can present it...

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Dashboard Week: Day 1

Dashboard Week: Day 1

Today was the first day of dashboard week, dun dun dun! Our task today was to download water quality data from https://gemstat.org/data/data-portal/ - Andy copied and pasted his blog from Google Docs causing our blog-writing interface to blow up on him meaning we had...

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Dashboard Week Day 1: Water stations around the world

Dashboard Week Day 1: Water stations around the world

What better way is there to welcome DS17 back from the holidays than Dashboard Week? Over the last few cohorts, I’ve gone from extremely difficult (especially with data prep), to fairly simple data sets that help them focus more on the aesthetics and analysis. This...

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Navigate your map: Handy map tools in Tableau

Navigate your map: Handy map tools in Tableau

Hovering over a map in Tableau, a few different icons appear in the top left which help us navigate the map with ease.  For a long time, I never explored these icons and their functions, as it turns out they are extremely useful! Geographical Search If you click...

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Tableau Trend Line Basics

Tableau Trend Line Basics

What is a trend line? Trend lines or lines of best fit can be used to predict the continuation of a trend and help to identify the correlation between two variables by mapping the trend of both at the same time.  With just a couple of clicks, Tableau allows us to...

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Removing duplicates in Tableau Prep and Alteryx

Removing duplicates in Tableau Prep and Alteryx

Duplicated data entries are one of the most frequently encountered issues in the data preparation process, whether a data set is produced by an automated system or manually. Let’s see how we can eliminate duplicates from our data using Tableau Prep or Alteryx. For...

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Friday Project Woes

If you are lucky enough to join the Data School, you will immediately realise that you are in for an incredible, but very intense, first few months! The sheer amount of new information you receive can be quite overwhelming, with multiple software training being taught...

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Preppin’ Data Solutions in Alteryx: Week 6

For my first blog, I thought it would be interesting to describe how my mind worked at the very start of my Alteryx journey, in addition to providing mine and my fellow DS18 member Angelos' workflow. This being (basically) my first Alteryx work flow, please excuse for...

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What are Measure Names and Measure Values?

What are Measure Names and Measure Values?

Both Measure Names and Measure Values have always been something of a mystery to me when using Tableau. I didn't understand what they were used for or why they popped up in various areas of my view. However breaking the process down to understand how they work has...

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Air Quality in Madrid

Air Quality in Madrid

At the end of week 2 for each new cohort, we pair them up with a member of the "older" cohort in training at the same time. So this week, each person in DS18 is paired up with someone from DS17. I randomly assigned them by having them pair up alphabetically in each...

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Will this break Alteryx? Well no, but yes

Will this break Alteryx? Well no, but yes

The Multi-field formula tool has an expression window that uses a particular form of syntax to refer to fields. If you wanted to multiply Field 1 by Field 2 in the following table to create a new field, you could use this tool and set it up as in F.1. The starting...

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What is that? Colours in the calculated field window

What is that? Colours in the calculated field window

This is part of a mini-series on the easy-to-miss visual cues scattered throughout Tableau. To find out what you've been missing, click here. Tableau, a software dedicated to making data visually intuitive, includes a ton of visual cues to make its interface intuitive...

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How to Make a Span Chart in Tableau

How to Make a Span Chart in Tableau

Rule number one in Data School is that if Andy teaches you a new trick, you have to blog about it straight away. As a stickler to the rules, here's my blog about this surprisingly simple chart type. If you want to follow along, I'm using the 2019 MakeoverMonday W49...

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Passing the Tableau QA Exam (second time’s the charm!)

Passing the Tableau QA Exam (second time’s the charm!)

Last week I’m thrilled to say that I passed my Tableau QA exam. For me however the road to passing the QA exam was a real challenge. The first time I took the exam I missed out my just 1% which was bitterly disappointing! In this blog I have tried to come up with some really good tips for others who struggle with severe exam stress…

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How to manually create a user filter

In some situations it may be necessary to restrict the view for different audiences, to do this tableau server can be used to create a user filter. One thing to note is that the method shown below offers row level security, applying security at a row level will not...

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Tableau Server 101

Tableau Server 101

Tableau server, a product from Tableau, is an online platform that provides employees within an organisation a safe space to collaborate and interact with Tableau content and different data types in a very efficient way. It allows users to easily create, share and...

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A Short Guide to Live Connections on Server

A Short Guide to Live Connections on Server

Background image credit: Wallpapersafari Many a night, after a day full of dad jokes, scary soap-based stories and challenging data prep challenges I have been haunted by Coach Carl-induced nightmares. Yesterday morning, after having been devoured by a...

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Making Custom Views in Tableau Server

Making Custom Views in Tableau Server

Today I'm going to share with you a very simple trick I learnt in Tableau Server. Many of you may not have noticed this little button here.... If you frequently visit a dashboard which contains elements of interactivity then you likely have a preferred setup - such as...

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How to build a candlestick chart in Tableau

How to build a candlestick chart in Tableau

It is believed that candlestick charts originated in Japan in the 18th century as a form of visual analysis for rice traders. The chart shows the market’s open, high, low, and close prices for each time period (usually for a trading day). Using different colours, the...

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Reflections on The Data School

Reflections on The Data School

So today is our penultimate day at The Data School and we’ve been asked to reflect on our time in training. In this blog I look back at my first blog, ‘Expectations of The Data School’, and write about what I didn’t expect.

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