Last week, I had the opportunity to attend and present at the Women in Analytics Virtual Summit. WIA is one of my favorite organizations for the analytics field, so it was an honor to be invited to give a tutorial online! The summit took place over two days (February 10 and 11), and was packed with a lot of great sessions surrounding building your analytic skills.
There were a few sessions that I was able to attend on day 1 that stood out to me:
- Addressing Algorithmic Bias by Ayodele Obdubela: Obdubela discussed how the data that we feed into our models can cause bias, and this may be because the dataset we are using isn’t inclusive, or because decisions we made in the past are not necessarily decisions we want to make in the future. In instances where data was not collected for the purpose of going into a model, the results can be skewed.
- Design Thinking in Analytics by Alison Magyari: Magyari reminded us that we have a habit of going to our end users and asking “what do you want?”, without thinking about how we can actually improve their processes. We end up recreating spreadsheets that nobody uses into dashboards. The important thing to keep in mind is to understand who the real end users are, and how we can use our tools to optimize what they’re doing.
I also volunteered to hold “Ask an Expert” sessions, where individuals could sign up to chat with me for 20 minutes. I mentioned that I would be open to discussing careers in analytics, finding jobs in a pandemic, or building Tableau/data viz skills. My calendar was packed full for networking! I met a lot of great individuals who later connected with me on LinkedIn.
Day 1 also had a magic event, where Magician Drew Murray did a magic show online! I was not able to make the live presentation, but I did volunteer to participate in a demo run of the session. I was a volunteer in a magic trick where Drew predicted what I had searched on Wikipedia – I was so impressed!
Day 2 was even more fun – primarily because it was time for my session! In the morning, I was able to attend a few other great presentations, including:
- Metadata Matters with Michelle Gulen: Gulen reminded us that documentation about your data is important and helpful since you aren’t the only one using it. Gulen also walked us through using Amundsen and other open source solutions to control our metadata.
- How Data will Empower and Change the Mobility Landscape in Cities with Na’ama Goldberg and Sophia Mohr: Since I work at Lyft, it was only fitting that I attend a session on transportation! Goldberg and Mohr talked to data in Columbus, Ohio. With data, we can track traffic patterns or identify accidents. Companies can use this data to be proactive on rerouting traffic, or sending help when needed. There’s a lot of possibilities I had not considered for using data with mobility in cities!
Later in the afternoon was my session, Data Visualization Best Practices. This session was 1.25 hours, and interactive. My teammate Tina was also available to help field questions as they came up. Attendees were provided an Excel spreadsheet to download, which included a data set, along with a few poorly-designed charts and tables. Throughout my presentation, we took breaks to complete exercises where we would remake the visuals, and discuss the changes that were made. We had a lot of individuals providing their feedback, which was exciting to hear!
After my presentation, I had a lot of positive feedback on LinkedIn from people who had attended my session. Even after the conference, I continued to have people reaching out to connect and chat for more details about data visualization. Overall, the summit was a great experience, and I am glad to have attended and presented!