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The Start of Something New

Updated: Jan 16

An Introduction to an Introduction

Hi there! Welcome to my blog! This is the first time I've done something like this, writing into the void, hoping someone will find something useful from what I have to say. I will admit, my strengths have always been with math and numbers (that's why I'm a data analyst), but I hope to be able to give back to the #DataFam community as much as I can. I would not be where I am in my career without the considerable help I was given starting out in my Tableau journey.


The plan for these blog posts is to give back to the community with tips and tricks that I have learned over time, share my perspective on things as a student just starting out in a career in data, and hopefully help up-and-coming data analysts and visualization developers. Just as I relied on blogs and the experience of others just a year and a half ago when I opened Tableau Desktop for the first time, I hope these blogs will be one of the many resources the DataFam community has to offer to people passionate about data.


For my first ever blog post, I was thinking of sharing a little about myself and VizKid Analytics! I little introduction never hurts (unless its syllabus week). This way you understand where I'm coming from and what to expect in upcoming posts. This blog includes information about myself and VizKid Analytics, how I got started with Tableau, and my goals for 2022!


About Me

My name is Michael and I currently reside in Maryland in the United States. I am a recent graduate from the University of Maryland - College Park with a B.A. in Government and Politics and a B.S. in Computer Science with a specialization in Data Science. I am currently a graduate student in the Applied Political Analytics program at the university and a Data Analyst Fellow at the National Democratic Training Committee. I do freelance work on the side specializing in data visualization and analysis. Some of my past clients include Greenpeace International, Estée Lauder, and more.


Last school year, I was a Tableau Student Ambassador at my university leading six events introducing students to the platform. I am a certified Tableau Desktop Specialist with experience leading workshops, providing consultation for both academic and business contexts, and tutoring others in Tableau including teaching fellow students, executives for businesses, professors, and more.


If you are looking to learn more about myself, check out the 'About' section on the website. To sum up everything, I am committed to helping organizations make informed, data driven decisions by making their data simple and easy to understand.


What is VizKid Analytics?


VizKid Analytics is a company that I have formed so that I can continue doing freelance work for clients. The company was officially launched at the start of this year with this website. My goal for this site is to be a centralized location that I can share to showcase my work, post blogs like these, and advertise my skills and expertise to potential clients. 2022 is a year full of new experiences for me and I hope to build something great while learning as much as I can with this business.



My Tableau Start

I was introduced to Tableau back in May of 2020 during a Progressive Data Training Program called Generation Data along with other data tools such as VAN, SQL, Excel, and QGIS. It wasn't until a couple months later that I actually started putting more attention towards Tableau and data visualization. By the end of 2020, I had eight visuals published on my profile on Tableau Public and I was excited to learn more.


Now these first couple of visuals were very basic (see right). I was blown away by the visuals highlighted by Viz of the Day (#VOTD) and saw the potential Tableau had. Lets just say what I was creating was not pushing the edge of what Tableau was capable of. Seeing what others had created motivated me to improve my skills with the platform and I did just that.


2021 was a crazy year for me. I graduated college, started grad school, began my career as a political data analyst and freelancer, the list goes on. But one thing has really stuck with me through all of this, and that is Tableau. Since I started my 2021 New Year's Resolution of creating two visuals each week for the whole year, my life has changed so much, much in part due to the opportunities given to me by my work with the platform. Below are my 2021 Tableau visuals (104 to be exact).

I am still shocked seeing how my visuals transformed over time and the development I made within a year. A reflection of 2021 and the insights I learned throughout the year will be in an upcoming blog post, so keep an eye out for that!


Tableau Goals for 2022

Looking forward, I have several goals I would like to accomplish this year. Hopefully this blog post will keep my feet to the fire. We will see a year from now!


Goals include:

  • At least 1 Tableau visual each week ( ≥52 total)

  • At least 1 blog post each month (≥12 total)

  • Participating in more community initiatives (last year I participated in 4 community led projects including #MakeoverMonday, #DiversityInData, #Viz4ClimateAction, and #B2VB)

  • Create more artistic visuals and experiment more with visual types

  • Become a master with integrating Figma into Tableau visuals

  • Upgrade my Tableau certification from Desktop Specialist to the Associate or Data Analyst level

Let's see how I do this year in accomplishing these goals!


Wrap-up

If you are still reading this post, thank you! As I mentioned at the start, I don't know if there is an audience that will find what I have to share super helpful, but I'm going to go out of my comfort zone and write anyway!


Whether it's the tutorials explaining how I did a visual or simple advice I have to give for those in a similar boat that I'm in, I wish to help as many as I can and give back to a community that has welcomed me with open arms. I sincerely thank you for giving me your time and reading my first post!


If you have any feedback on how I can improve as a writer, please feel free to reach out to me at vizkidanalytics@gmail.com or use the 'Contact' page on the website!




By Michael Dunphy

Published Jan. 15, 2022

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