So you made it to the 2nd or 3rd Round of the Data School Application. First off, congratulations on making it this far, it is an achievement. I want to share with you 5 tips that helped me navigate through these two rounds. This will be a two-part series, I will go over the first two tips in this blog!
Understand your data.
First off, you will have to spend some time going through the dataset. You will need to understand what the dataset is about. You will go through each of the variables and understand their respective type, i.e qualitative or quantitative data types. Once you go through this step, you will know what you dealing with. In most cases, you will then need to clean the dataset a bit for further analysis. Although you might not have Alteryx, you will most likely need to go “Old School” and use Excel for data cleaning. Some things you might need to clean up are Null values, blanks, duplicate records due to typing, lowercase or uppercase i.e NSW is not the same as NSW.
Plan your approach.
Once you’ve finished interpreting and understanding the data, you’ll need to plan your approach. By now, you will have an idea of what you can and can’t do with the data. You will naturally have ideas on how to present the data you have been given. An approach I like to use is Top-down. I would initially explore the data, just bringing out the top line summaries, i.e Total Sales Figures, Average Age, or % change. Afterwards, I then drill down from those topline summaries. So I can look in Total Sales by month, state or even product category. With a basic idea, you can also sketch out your dashboard, so you have a visual idea in mind.
However, the most important thing you will also need to plan is time management. Not only should you allocate time in actually working with the dashboard, but you should also allocate time in getting feedback and practice. If you are ever stuck on something, put it aside and come back or ask questions. Trust me you will save a lot of time by doing this.