The Derbies Down Under: Who Comes Out On Top?

I’ll be the first to admit that this dashboard is not my proudest work. But, if we only share our wins then we set unrealistic expectations for those that come after us; those that want to get into this profession but don’t feel confident in their skills.

This is for those people, I want you to know that for every successful project you have, there will be many more that you don’t feel proud of; this is one of them for me.

For my own self-esteem, have a look at some of the visualisations I am proud of:

Simply Not Enough Time

The dataset we were given for Day 2 was the same dataset used for DSAU19’s 2nd round interviews.

The 2nd round interview to get into The Data School is intense. You’re given a never-before-seen dataset and two weeks to prepare a presentation.

The quality of these visualisations are amazing for people that are not professional data analysts, and the pressure is intense.

It’s seemingly a tradition at The Data School for the current cohort to be given the dataset used by the incoming one for dashboard week.

Trying to Boil the Ocean in 4-Hours

Due to unfortunate circumstances I arrived to work late on Friday leaving me only 4-hours to put together a dashboard and presentation.

One would think in that situation you would recalibrate your approach and find a simple solution and execute that. Alas, no, I left the dashboarding component really late using a dataset that had been haphazardly transormed in a way that was just confusing to use.

Old Habits Die Hard

Yippee ka-yay! As I’ve touched on in previous posts I have a reputation for diving head-first into technical problems only to find myself drowning half way through the project.

I’m proud to be very technically capable, I’m a programmer at heart and if I’m engaged with an idea it’s difficult to pull myself away from it.

However, this attitude to problem solving can get in the way of my time-management; and this project certainly exposed that part of me.

Looking Back on Dashboard Week

As I closed my presentation on Friday afternoon, that marked the end of my dashboard week; one of the most intense weeks in The Data School curriculum.

Dashboard week kicked my butt and exposed a lot of flaws in my process and approach to the data analysis process.

But, that is after all, the entire point of the exercise. To push you to the limits of what you think you are capable of, and finding out that you can do it.

Here are some of my key takeaways from the week that was:

  1. Start with the Story in Mind. Figure out the purpose of the project you’re undertaking. Is it worth doing? Why?
  2. Spend 2-3x as long planning than you’d expect. The clarity you can gain makes you far more productive.
  3. Don’t boil the ocean. Keep it simple, especially if you only have a single day to actualise a dashboard and an accompanying blog post.

There you go, that’s it, dashboard week is over!

Thanks for taking this journey with me, and thank you to Natalia for spending the week with us.

Until next time.

Dan Lawson

Daniel Lawson
Author: Daniel Lawson

Right off the bat I can tell you that I’m not your average data analyst. I’ve spent most of my career running my own business as a photographer and videographer, with a sprinkling of Web Development and SEO work as well. My approach to life and work is very T-shaped, in that I have a small set of specific skills complemented by a very broad range of interests; I like to think of myself as a dedicated non-specialist. Data Analytics, and Programming, started as a hobby that quickly grew into a passion. The more I learned the more I looked for opportunities to pull, manipulate, and join data from disparate sources in my life. I learned to interact with REST APIs for services I used, personal data from services I use like Spotify, and health data captured by my devices. I learned SQL to create and query databases, as well as analyse SQLite files containing my iMessages and Photos data on my Mac. Every technique I learned opened up more possibilities; now I’m hooked and there’s no turning back. Learn More About Me: