Looking to add some new technical skills to your resume?
Whether your future career path be digital-focused or not, analysis and data visualization are two key skills that can be applied in nearly any field of work. While many undergraduate programs will help to improve your analysis skills, not many focus on the presentation and representation of data.
Tableau, a widely used data viz tool, defines the concept of data visualization as the graphical representation of information and data, … providing an accessible way to see and understand trends, outliers, and patterns in data.
While data can be represented via text, visuals can make data more accessible and easier to interpret. For example, say that you need to present survey results about your classmates’ favourite school subject. You could either choose to write about it, or create a chart:
Out of 100 students surveyed, there were 30 that chose Science as their favourite subject, 20 chose Math, 20 chose Business, 15 voted for Social Sciences, 10 picked English, and 5 voted for Other. The most popular subject among the students was Science.
Although both options above convey the same information, Option 2 quickly illustrates that Science is the most popular subject, while this is not immediately obvious in Option 1. Needless to say, improving on your data visualization skills will help you as a presenter, and a storyteller.
Why Learn Data Visualization as a Student?
Learning data visualization is beneficial at any point in your life, but particularly as a student! While you are still in ‘learning-mode’, it is a perfect opportunity to hone in on your skills, and comes with some great opportunities:
1. Impress Your Professors
Go above and beyond the standard of PowerPoint, and impress your professors by using an interactive data visualization tool, such as Data Studio. Within Data Studio, not only will you be able to replicate what you could create in a slide deck, but it can be made interactive, too! During your presentation, you will be able to interact with charts to drill deeper into the data, filter charts for specific attributes to highlight key points, and easily jump to future slides with the drop down page menu, allowing you to really impress your audience.
2. Boost Your Resume
As you prepare your resume for summer internships and grad recruitment, set yourself apart from the competition by adding Data Visualization to your list of skills. As a student, it is tempting to fill your resume with soft skills, such as organization, proactiveness, and teamwork—but adding to your technical skills list is going to help you stand out and showcase your relevant experience.
3. Compete in Contests
Put your skills to the test! Not only will winning one of these competitions help your resume to really stand out, but a lot of these competitions also offer generous prizes.
Google Data Studio hosted its inaugural data storytelling competition for students last year, Visualize 2030. The contest, in collaboration with Google Cloud, the UN Foundation, World Bank, and Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, focused on creating a data story to convey the relationship between the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. ClickInsight is proud to announce that two of the 2018 winners were Sarah Liou (myself!) and Evan Snary, both student interns on our team!
One of the best ways to learn any skill is by doing. Try experimenting in a data visualization tool, such as Tableau or Google Data Studio—two of our favourites! Tableau offers a vast amount of creative freedom for your vizzes, and no shortage of customization. While Tableau is a paid tool, they do offer free access for students. Google Data Studio is free to use for anyone that has a Google account, and requires very little time to get started with. As it is built upon the Google Suite interface, you will be able to dive right in if you are already familiar with Google Docs or Sheets.
In addition, there are many free online resources available when getting started when learning either Tableau or Google Data Studio:
- Tableau offers several free training videos on their own website
- Google offers an Introduction to Data Studio course on its Analytics Academy
- The Makeover Monday community hosts weekly data visualization projects, offering community feedback to help better your viz skills in the tool of your choice
- ClickInsight’s Blog features many posts about tips and tricks to help you in Data Studio
- Should I use bar or line chart? ClickInsight’s Chart Library helps you decide which chart type is best fitting for your data story
Let us know in the comments how learning data visualization has helped you!