What should you look out for in a data visualization course?
The purpose of Data Visualization
Data visualization is the conversion of large amounts of data into easy-to-see and understandable charts, tables and numbers.
A large amount of data refers to at least a few hundred rows and columns of data.
In data visualization, we do not simply take a few numbers for the x and y axis and plot a chart from it. We have to make use of raw data to calculate the numbers for the x and y axis as well as connect all the visuals together for analysis and decision-making.
The app used in the course
There are numerous data visualization apps in the market. The popular ones are Microsoft Excel, Power BI, Tableau and Qlik.
The 2 core functions that a data visualization tool has that other normal charting tools do not have are
- the data processing function and
- the data sources linking function
3 Main functions that must be covered in a data visualization course for beginners
- How to clean your raw data in the data visualization tool
- How to link your data sources together
- How to make use of the tool to summarize the numbers for visuals (aka charts and tables)
The 3 Main soft skills to be covered in the data visualization course for beginners
Hard (Technical) skills are required to use the data visualization app. Soft skills are needed to help you understand the concept of data management and use it to design a data visualization report with the raw data.
The 3 soft skills needed are:
- The 4 criteria to create a good data visual
- Understanding the data value chain
- The 5 essential features of a dashboard
Although there is no compulsory pre-requisite to attend a data visualization course, having the following pre-requisite can help you grasp the concept of data visualization better during the course.
-> some experience working on rows of data in Excel and
-> combining two worksheets of data into one.
For beginners, I would recommend a 2-day course. Learners need time to familiarize themselves with the interface of the software and try on some hands-on exercises to confirm their learning. If it is just one day, they are probably going to be on familiarization mode and would not be able to use the data visualization app effectively.