DS21: The Beginning

by Priya Padham

Starting a new career in the midst of a pandemic is not something I ever thought I would do, but this has definitely been both a refreshing and exciting change! Our cohort was able to start training (or pre-training) 2 months ahead of schedule, which I know we were eager to do as some of us were waiting since January to start!

Last Friday we were sent our new company email logins, as well as gaining access to Convo (the social media platform that The Information Lab uses for internal communications). This is when it all started to feel much more real! A few days later we received our packages with equipment such as a laptop, headset, software, and other goodies. We all had fun sharing pictures of ourselves on Convo with our new stuff!

Our task for the beginning of the week was to do #MakeoverMonday, which was about the number of trips abroad taken by UK residents from 1986 to 2020. There was a tiny bit of cleaning involved with this one, which I did in Excel (I can’t wait to finally be able to do this with Alteryx or Tableau Prep). I included a show/hide button to change between viewing the line chart and the heat map, as well as some annotations to highlight key events and turning points. In hindsight, I would have definitely made the line chart a single colour instead of a gradient colour palette like the heat map. I would also add some parameter actions to allow for switching between a yearly, quarterly and monthly view, which is demonstrated in Andy’s tutorial for the week. You can find the image of my viz, as well as links to the interactive version and Andy’s video at the end of this blog.

Our first session with Andy, Data Viz 101, also happened to be the very first time our whole cohort met virtually. It was fun getting to know each other and getting stuck into the theory behind visualisations. We also had a call with Tom the day after and learned more about the company itself, as well as being able to bond more as a team. At the end of the week, we were finally able to get all our fancy new tech up and running with Craig, and now we are ready to begin the next week of training!

I’m so excited to meet everyone (both virtually and eventually in person) and to learn more about the software I have been addicted to since discovering it at the beginning of lockdown!

Link to interactive viz

Andy’s tutorial

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