⭐ Hello! What’s your background, and what exciting project are you working on?
Thanks for having me, I am Amarendranath Donthala. I’m working as a Data Visualization Analyst at Comcast. I finished my Master’s Program in Business Intelligence and Analytics in 2017. As on date, my personal projects are on hold but I have plans for some collaborative work later this year.
⭐ What motivated you to get started with Data Visualization/Tableau?
My teachers from Saint Joseph’s University (Dr. Katie Campbell). We started using Tableau for our assignments. I met our current Tableau Ambassador Corey Jones at school. One of his early #MakeoverMonday dashboards really peaked my interest. A couple of meetings with him and tableau user group later, I was hooked.
⭐ Can you explain the process you follow from start to end of visualizing the data?
Requirement Gathering – When I am working on a Project that involves collecting open data. I try to put down a rough storyline and try to collect as much data as possible on the topic. If I am lucky I might come across a straightforward (rarely the case) data set. But often, I try to prepare a dataset after applying some transformations on it.
Data Exploration – This is straightforward. A low-level exploratory analysis to begin with. Getting a sense of all the available variables. Depending on the type of analysis I do, I take a deeper look at the data. Asking questions, framing a hypothesis and finding answers is the key.
Data Visualization – Once I have everything that I need for my story, I then start thinking about coming up with something effective. I don’t have an exact answer to tell you about how I choose my chart types. When you read books, practice often and mimic others I think you start to naturally understand a chart type for your insights. I learned this by making a lot of mistakes, not everything that I do works all the time. It is always a learning process. I try to very careful on not to publish or show something misleading.
⭐ What’s your secret behind spinning off 70+ visualization on Tableau public?
There is a lot to learn in this field and I try to stay consistent by practicing and visualizing different data sets and I really enjoy doing it. A Majority of my work on Tableau Public was for either #MakeoverMonday or #WorkoutWednesday social data projects. (Started by Andy Kriebel, Tableau Zen Master)
⭐ Have you found anything particularly helpful or advantageous along your journey?
Yes, a lot of practice and the Tableau community on Twitter. Participating in #MakeoverMonday, #WorkoutWednesday helped in learning both Tableau and data visualization best practices in general. When you are a part of the community, you come across a lot of tutorials, conversations, tips, and suggestions on a daily basis.
⭐ What are some of your favorite visualizations that you built?
Some of my favorites would be the following (no particular order)
1. Indian Parliament: 16th Lok Sabha: It was a collaboration with my good friend and Tableau Public author Shivaraj. It was selected as the ‘Viz of the Day’.
2. Mental Health Disorders: I designed this for Olga Tsubiks ‘Data for a Cause’ initiative. It won the 1st place. I learned a lot about Mental Health awareness and what organizations like OSMI are doing to help individuals realize the importance of Mental Health.
3. Crimes in India: One more collaboration with Shivaraj, it is currently a part of Tableau Greatest Hits gallery. Both of us are super proud of this one.
4. Apple Watch Rings: I am big Apple fan, clean designs & quality products. They are the best. The day I bought my watch, I wanted to visualize those rings. I had so much fun doing this project and hence into my fav’s. Shout out to my good buddy Jake Riley who helped me with this one.
5. Endangered Cat: This was my entry for Tableau IronViz, 2017. A very emotional piece that moved me to adopt a Tiger (WWF Program, please look it up and adopt one) by the time I finished the visualization.
⭐ If you had to start over in Data visualization, what would you do differently?
Great question. I would get a thorough understanding of data representation and visualization best practices and save myself from using unnecessary chart Junk.
⭐ What are your goals for the future?
Data and Design are independently two different and vast subjects. I would like to explore, learn and develop more skills in these areas.
⭐ What’s your advice for people who are just starting out in Data Visualization/Analytics space?
Begin with the basics of data analytics – Understanding, Cleaning and Preparing Data and then move on to Data Visualization – Presenting your Insights in a user relatable story.
Data Analytics: I would recommend getting familiar with the data analysis process. Books like Accidental Analyst are really great in laying out a strong foundation. Statistics will really help if you want to get into building data models, make predictions etc.
Data Visualization: Pick a tool of your choice, find like-minded people and start working together, keeping each other accountable. You’ll be surprised how much you’ll learn from each other when you collaborate. One of the books that I highly recommend is Storytelling with Data. If you are into Tableau then I would suggest creating a twitter account and start participating in the community challenges like #MakeoverMonday and #WorkoutWednesday. With time everything will improve. You just have to read, learn, practice and repeat.
⭐ For people interested in Tableau, which platform and authors do you recommended they follow?
Fantastic question. I would highly encourage and recommended joining the Tableau forums and Twitter! I follow over 500 authors on Twitter, it’s hard to recollect all of them but here are a few:
Tableau Zen Masters – Andy Kriebel, Pooja Gandhi, Adam Crahen, Chloe Tseng, Ken Flerlage, Ann Jackson, Eva Murray, Mike Cisernos, Rody Zakovich, Jonathan Drummey, Adam E McCann, Jeff Shafer, Ryan Sleeper are a few, to begin with. I think you should look up and follow all the Zen Masters.
And lastly, this is very important that you do this – Follow me :p
⭐ What Books and Blogs do you recommend?
Books: Big Book of Dashboards, Storytelling with Data, The truthful art, Accidental Analyst, Steal Like an Artist, Effective Data Visualization, Information Dashboard Design, Data Points, Show Me The Numbers.
⭐ Where can we go to learn more about you?
Are you an expert willing to share your Data Viz/Storytelling/Tableau knowledge with our aspiring Vizards?
Please fill out this quick form and I will touch base with interview questions?
Are you a Tableau newbie keen to learn from Vizards? No problem. Drop your email below and I will send you no B.S valuable stuff on Data Visualization/Storytelling and Tableau once a week?