This is with great honor that I was invited to judge again the QUTBands Hackathon. QUTbands is the QUT student club for aspiring Business Analysts, Data Scientists.
Before the live presentation, which was the event I was invited to judge, students attended a Tableau Desktop and Tableau Prep Builder training session delivered by keyData. They also attended a data visualisation and story telling workshop delivered by Kate Norris from Presentation Boss.
The theme of the datathon was happiness. Using The World Happiness dataset, students had to imagine they were a policy maker who was going to develop a proposal to a world-wide organization about the happiness situation of countries in the world.
They had to use the dataset provided (and any other relevant datasets), build a Tableau dashboard or story, find relevant insights and present their findings in front of the group during the hackathon live event.
Students were in teams of 3 to 4 and had access to the data and problem statement about 10 days prior to the live event.
All teams had to pitch in front of the panel of judges, 5 minutes each. The first winning team would receive an internship opportunity with Keydata.
This was meant to be an inperson event, but due to the Brisbane 3-days lockdown, the event had to turn to virtual only. Congrats to the organisers and students for pivoting so easily.
The 8 teams submissions
|Team name||Link to Tableau Public||Position (only first 3 teams are in order based on their scores|
|Happy Hackers||Link||First runner-up|
|The Outliers||Link||Second runner-up|
|Another Day, Another Data!||Link|
|Happy Pie Face||Link|
Assuming that all students were pretty much all beginners, their work was quite impressive, well done all.
- What I found interesting was most teams (6 out of 8) decided to use Story rather than a dashboard. Would this contribute to my other points below?
- The teams that had most success kept it simple. For example the winning team used one type of chart only, produced a nice consistent design and delivered a powerful story and insights. So I wonder if Story (like Powerpoint) is pushing students (involuntary) to cram too much in their presentations?
- The teams that had practiced were more in control I felt.
- A few teams, tried to use too many charts or text in their stories. You could feel they were struggling a bit to finish their presentations and their key message/insight was a bit lost. Keep it simple!
- Many teams used maps (the data had countries), which was tempting. Sometimes a good old bar chart works better than a busy map with lots or red and green!.
- I had offered in the datathon slack channel, to give feedback to the teams before the live presentation. Only two teams took on the offer, I imagined more teams would have done so. I often say that asking for feedback is important, dont be shy!.
The other judges, Dave Keys and Kate Norris had also very insightful feedback (I wish I wrote these down!). Keep is simple and focus on the main insights were the key takeaways.
I hope this is only the beginning of the students data journey. Data visualisation is not easy, it takes time and practice.
I advised students to keep on practicing, join a data community activity (Makeover Monday), ask for feedback, keep it simple.
Refer to my previous blog post “How to get started with data visualisation and Tableau as a beginner?” about this topic.
Finally, well done to the QUTBands organising team Alice, Tamara, Juhi and Aparna, you did an amazing job!