On Friday March 23, OPIM Innovate held a workshop taught by Professor Craig Calvert on Data Visualizations with Tableau. Professor Calvert currently teaches a course on Data Visualization, a course requirement for the Data Analytics minor. In this course, he focuses on the theory and background behind programs such as Tableau, as well as analyzes how and why people think the way they do about data. Tableau is a big part of this course, acting as an advanced version of Microsoft Excel. In order to use Tableau, a user must upload data in a form similar to a Microsoft Excel sheet and then it will create charts, graphs, maps, and other visuals based off of what users tell it to do. “In order to use Tableau you have to figure out what you’re looking for. The main goal is to create something efficiently, because there are always deadlines to meet in business, and effectively, because it has to work,” said Professor Calvert. Creating visuals for data in Excel could take hours, but with Tableau a user can merely drag and drop information and it will create them on its own.
Although Tableau has been around for about 15 years, it has yet to be adopted by the general population because of its cost. While Google has been working on creating their own version of Tableau, its popularity has expanded to fields outside of the business world, as Saddish Kulgarin, a student who just completed his masters in Statistics, discovered. Kulgarin was asked about Tableau in a job interview because it is both easy to use and efficient. “For someone who is not of a statistical or business background it can be hard to understand the high dimensional, complex, and big data. The visuals that Tableau generates are a good way to communicate complicated data to a non-technical person.”
“My goal of the workshop was to introduce people to Tableau and Data Visualization so that they understand the process and help them do it very simply. It’s hard to fit in all the information into an hour and a half session but that’s why I teach a course on this stuff,” said Professor Calvert reflecting on how the workshop went. For Luke Harper a junior studying Marketing, these Friday workshops give him resources to become a more well rounded business student. “I feel like technology is a huge blind spot for me as a marketing major. I wouldn’t say I’m extremely tech savvy but I hear about Blockchain, cryptocurrency, and Data Analytics and I think, ‘okay I could either feel alienated about it or I can come to these workshop for free, with people that actually do it for a living, and at the very least get meaningful skills from it.'”
The next workshop will be on Blockchain Applications in Insurance held on Friday, March 30, at 1 pm in BUSN 321. This workshop is a partnership between OPIM Innovate and the Werth Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. This will be part of a larger Blockchain Builders Challenge sponsored by the Hanover Insurance Group. Register ahead of time to secure a seat.