Meet Our Expert: Michael Larner, Data Analytics Instructor, GA Los Angeles
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Dashboards in Tableau
Samanta Dal Pont, Data Analytics instructor at General Assembly London, says, “A simple way to define a Tableau dashboard is as a glance view of a company’s key performance indicators, or KPIs. There are different kinds of dashboards available — it all depends on the business questions being asked and the end user. Is this for an operational team (like one at a distribution center) that needs to see the amount of orders by hour and if sales goals are achieved? Or is this for a CEO who would like to measure the productivity of different departments and products against forecast? The first case will require the data to be updated every 10 minutes, almost in real time. The second doesn’t require the same cadence, and once a day will be enough to track the company performance.
“In GA’s Data Analytics course, students get hands-on training with the versatile Tableau platform. Create dashboards to solve real-world problems in 1-week, accelerated or 10-week, part-time course formats — on campus and online. You can also get a taste in our interactive classes and workshops.”
Read “A Beginner’s Guide to Dashboards in Tableau” by Samanta Dal Pont.
Gus Lopez, Data Analytics instructor at General Assembly Melbourne, says, “All around the globe, people are constantly tweeting, Googling, booking airline tickets, and banking online, among hundreds of other everyday internet activities. Each of these actions creates pieces of data — and all of these have to live somewhere. That’s where databases — put simply, a collection of data — come in.
“In GA’s part-time on-campus Data Analytics course or online Data Analysis program, students learn the fundamentals of data analysis and leverage data tools like Excel, PostgreSQL, pgAdmin, SQL, and Tableau. In our part-time Data Science course, students discover different types of databases, learn how to pull data from them, and more, and in the career-changing Data Science Immersive, they gather, store, and organize data with SQL, Git, and UNIX, while learning the skills to launch a career in data.”
Read “A Beginner’s Guide to Databases” by Gus Lopez.
Alissa Livingston, Data Analytics instructor at General Assembly New York, says, “Data is a snapshot of measurable information that details what has happened at some point in time. Examples of data in a business context may include measurable events, such as amount of sales achieved, the number of social media impressions captured, or the duration of rental bike rides during weekdays and weekends. Data storytelling allows you, the business professional, to explain why these events have occurred, what may happen next, and what business decisions can be made with this newly acquired knowledge.
“In General Assembly’s data-focused courses, students practice converting analysis results into compelling stories that drive business solutions using real-world data sets. In our part-time Data Analytics course, for example, students analyze open data from companies like Mozilla Firefox and Airbnb and use one of several storyboard frameworks to guide the arc of their data story. Students can also dive into the essentials of data storytelling in a self-paced, mentor-guided Data Analysis course, as well as part- and full-time Data Science programs.”
Read "A Beginner’s Guide to Data Storytelling" by Alissa Livingston.
Mathu A. Kumarasamy, Data Analytics instructor at GA Atlanta, says, “In today’s digital age, it may seem like there are new analytical tools and software packages coming out every day. As a result, many roles in data analytics today require an understanding of how to leverage and continuously learn multiple tools and packages across various platforms. Thankfully, learning Excel and its fundamentals will provide a strong bedrock of knowledge that you’ll find yourself frequently referring back to when learning newer, more sophisticated programs.
“In GA’s part-time Data Analytics course and online Data Analysis course, Excel is the starting point for leveraging other analytical tools such as SQL and Tableau. Throughout the course, you’ll continually have 'data déjà vu' as you tell yourself, 'Oh this looks familiar.' Students will understand why Excel is considered a jack-of-all-trades by providing a great foundation in database management, statistics, and dashboard creation.”
Read “A Beginner’s Guide to Excel” by Mathu A. Kumarasamy.
Josh Yazman, Data Analytics instructor at GA Washington, D.C., says, “Ridgeline plots, which are essentially a series of density plots (or smoothed-out histograms), can help balance the need to communicate risk without overemphasizing error in situations where error bars only slightly overlap.Instead of showing an error bar, which is the same size from top to bottom, a ridgeline plot gets fatter to represent more likely values and thinner to represent less likely values. This way, a small amount of overlap doesn’t signal lack of statistical significance quite as loudly. Decision-makers need to understand this error to make the most of survey results, so it's important for data scientists and analysts to communicate confidence intervals when visualizing estimated results.
“In General Assembly’s full-time, career-changing Data Science Immersive program and part-time Data Science course, students learn about sampling, calculating confidence intervals, and using data visualizations to help make actionable decisions with data. Students can also learn about the programming language R and other key data skills through expert-led workshops and exclusive industry events across GA’s campuses.”
Read “A Beginner’s Guide to Ridgeline Plots” by Josh Yazman.
Michael Larner, a Data Analytics instructor at General Assembly Los Angeles, says, "Put simply, SQL is the language of data — it’s a programming language that enables us to efficiently create, alter, request, and aggregate data from those mysterious things called databases. It gives us the ability to make connections between different pieces of information, even when we’re dealing with huge data sets. Modern applications are able to use SQL to deliver really valuable pieces of information that would otherwise be difficult for humans to keep track of independently. In fact, pretty much every app that stores any sort of information uses a database. This ubiquity means that developers use SQL to log, record, alter, and present data within the application, while analysts use SQL to interrogate that same data set in order to find deeper insights.
"At General Assembly, we know businesses are striving to transform their data from raw facts into actionable insights. To accomplish this, we give students the opportunity to use SQL to explore real-world data such as Firefox usage statistics, Iowa liquor sales, or Zillow’s real estate prices. Our full-time Data Science Immersive and part-time Data Analytics courses help students build the analytical skills needed to turn the results of those queries into clear and effective business recommendations. On a more introductory level, after just a couple of hours of in one of our SQL workshops, students are able to query multiple data sets with millions of rows."
Learn to tell compelling stories through data with Tableau. The industry-leading software lets you analyze data sets and communicate impactful insights to any audience — from peers to stakeholders — using interactive visualizations and real-time dashboards.