This Week in Data – Episode 2 (How to Ask for Help)

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Welcome back to another episode of This Week In Data! In our first episode, Adam and Devin debated the value of certifications. In this week’s episode, we’re discussing the right way to ask for help.

For some, knowing when and how to ask for help can be a major challenge. It’s a humbling moment but the consequences of not asking for help can in some cases cost you your job. There are many great resources available in the tech community to get help such as forums, user groups and social media. These resources are often full of insight into a variety of topics and scenarios. Most likely, you’ll have some great people working right next to you that have encountered the same or similar issues in the past and have helpful tips to overcome them. For more complex problems, it may be beneficial for you to bring in outside consulting help. 

In addition to tackling this topic, Adam and Devin also discuss several recent tech news headlines including Apple’s patent to block your phone camera, NFL coaches debating the impact of technology on the sideline and General Motors releases new safety equipment. Keep up-to-date with all the happenings in the tech world with This Week in Data:

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Power BI Custom Visuals Class (Module 14 – Tornado)

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In this module you will learn how to use the Tornado Power BI Custom Visual.  The Tornado allows you to compare two categories of data vertically similar to a bar chart.

Module 14 – Tornado

Downloads

Key Takeaways

  • The Tornado has a few limitation that should be aware of before using
    • If there’s a legend value it should only have 2 distinct values
    • Each distinct category values is a separate bar with left or right parts
    • Alternatively, you can have two measure values and compare them without  a legend

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This shows a Tornado  with two distinct values in the Legend property.

  • Under the Format paintbrush there are several options for customizing the appearance of the Tornado.
  • From the Data Colors section you can specify what color is used for each distinct value of the Legend.

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  • By changing the values in the X-Axis section you can manually adjust the scale used to display the values.

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  • In the Data Labels section you may find it useful the adjust the Text Size, Decimal Places, Display Units, Inside fill or Outside fill.
    • The Text Size will adjust the value labels that are appearing inside the Tornado
    • Decimal Places will allow you to adjust rounding of decimal points
    • Display Units was actually changed for the sample image above to show in Thousands as opposed to the default, which usually shows in Millions.
    • Using Inside fill will change the color of the value labels

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  • The Legend property allows you to adjust the Position, Title, Text size, Color, or Legend Name.

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  • Using the Group property you can adjust the color of the group label text.

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  • In addition to these properties you have a set of settings that appears on every visual to adjust the background color, add a border around the visual and lock the aspect ratio.

Find Out More

You will always be able to find this video module and advanced viewing of future modules on the Pragmatic Works On Demand Training platform.  Click here to learn more about this training platform that includes 20+ courses.

This Week in Data – Episode 1 (The Value of Certifications)

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We know you you’ve been dying to know, what is TWID?  Drumroll please…. We’re excited to announce the launch of This Week In Data!  This Week In Data is a weekly video podcast hosted by Adam Jorgensen and Devin Knight that discusses important news and topics within the data world. The goal of the series is to drive thoughtful conversations that address questions and concerns you may have about data culture.

In the first episode of the series, we discuss the value of certifications. We often hear questions like:

– “Do I need to have certifications?”
– “Do employers look for certifications when hiring?”

This topic is heavily debated and opinions can often vary depending on personal goals. Adam and Devin debate what certifications you may need, do they matter to companies and give their thoughts on what value they think certifications hold. The guys also have some fun talking about Microsoft’s purchase of LinkedIn and the Jeep hacking scandal.

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Power BI Custom Visuals Class (Module 13 – Aster Plot)

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In this module you will learn how to use the Aster Plot Power BI Custom Visual.  The Aster Plot is a twist on the standard Pie or Donut Chart.  What sets the Aster Plot apart from these visuals is that it has the ability to use a second measure to drive the sweep angle.

Module 13 – Aster Plot

Downloads

Key Takeaways

  • The Aster Plot allows a category that drives the chart and up to 2 measures.
    • The first measure controls the depth of each section
    • The second measure controls the width of each section

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This shows an Aster Plot with multiple categories and two measures controlling the depth and width of each category.

  • Under the Format paintbrush there are several options for customizing the appearance of the Aster Plot.
  • Turning on the Legend section adds a legend above the Aster Plot by default
    • The legend can be moved by changing the Position property
    • The title of the legend can be toggled on/off by changing the Title property
    • The name of the legend can be modified by adding text to the Legend Name property
    • The legend text size and text color can also be adjusted from this section

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  • By turning on the Detail Labels property you will see data values appear next to each of the slices of the Aster Plot.
    • You can then adjust things like the color, text size and number formatting

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  • Turning on the Outer line property adds a black border line that extends out to make a full circle around the Aster Plot.

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This Aster Plot has the Outer line property turned on with a thickness of 5

  • In addition to these properties you have a set of settings that appears on every visual to adjust the background color, add a border around the visual and lock the aspect ratio.

Find Out More

You will always be able to find this video module and advanced viewing of future modules on the Pragmatic Works On Demand Training platform.  Click here to learn more about this training platform that includes 20+ courses.

Power BI Custom Visuals Class (Module 12 – Bullet Chart)

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In this module you will learn how to use the Bullet Chart Power BI Custom Visual.  The Bullet Chart serves as a replacement for poorly designed dashboard gauges and meters you might be using now. Typical gauges do not show very much information and require a lot of space on a dashboard.  The Bullet Chart overcomes these flaws by allowing you to split into multiple categories (show more information) and orient the chart to fit your needs (requires less space).

Module 12 – Bullet Chart

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Key Takeaways

  • The bullet chart is a variation of a bar graph but designed to address some of the problems that gauges have.
    • Allows you to split chart by categories
    • Visuals can be vertical or horizontal

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This shows a Bullet Chart with multiple categories and varying targets.

  • Under the Format paintbrush there are several options for customizing the appearance of the Bullet Chart.
  • The Data values section allows you to manually overwrite what the data thresholds are. Ideally you would have these properties driven by the data source but if needed use these properties manually to set these values.

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  • With the Category label property you can change text size or color of the category label or just turn on or off the the labels.

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  • The Orientation property has four options you can select from (Horizontal Left, Horizontal Right, Vertical Top or Vertical Bottom). These options simply change how the chart is oriented on the report design surface.

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  • The Colors settings allow you to adjust the colors that are used for each threshold of the Bullet Chart. Pretty straightforward but it’s nice that you have the flexibility to change these thresholds.

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  • The Axis section allows you to turn on or off the value labels, change the color of those labels and add a value label using the Measure units property.

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  • In addition to these properties you have a set of settings that appears on every visual to adjust the background color, add a border around the visual and lock the aspect ratio.

Find Out More

You will always be able to find this video module and advanced viewing of future modules on the Pragmatic Works On Demand Training platform.  Click here to learn more about this training platform that includes 20+ courses.

Power BI Custom Visuals Class (Module 11 – Calendar Visualization)

Calendar Visualization

In this module you will learn how to use the Calendar Visualization Power BI Custom Visual.  The Calendar Visualization is a very unique visual that allows you to show the distribution of values across a calendar.

Module 11 – Calendar Visualization

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Key Takeaways

  • Allows you to visualize a data point on each date on the calendar.
    • The darker the color, the higher the value or density of values.
  • If you have multiple rows on the same date they are aggregated together
  • The Calendar Visualization can be used for cross filtering. Meaning you can select a square in the calendar and it will filter other visuals down to the date you picked.

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This shows a business which has a much higher number of sales occurring on weekdays. Saturday is a particularly weak sales day and no sales occur on Sunday.

  • You should note when you use a date column into Power BI that by default it places it into a date hierarchy.  For the purposes of the Calendar Visualization this hierarchy is not helpful because you need all the values to be at a date level and not Year, Month, etc…
    • To turn off the auto generated hierarchy for this visual click the down arrow next to the Date field and turn off the Date Hierarchy option as shown below.

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This only applies to this one visual so if you bring in Date again it will auto generate the hierarchy again.

    • Or you can change the Power BI settings so it never auto generates date hierarchies for you again.
    • To do this go to File > Options and settings > Options > Data Load and then uncheck Auto Date/Time.

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  • Under the Format paintbrush there are minimal options for customizing the appearance of the Calendar Visualization.
  • The Cells color section gives you the ability to change the Cell fill property so that the calendar cell colors can vary from the standard Power BI shades..

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  • In addition to these properties you have a set of settings that appears on every visual to adjust the background color, add a border around the visual and lock the aspect ratio.

Find Out More

You will always be able to find this video module and advanced viewing of future modules on the Pragmatic Works On Demand Training platform.  Click here to learn more about this training platform that includes 20+ courses.

Power BI Custom Visuals Class (Module 10 – Card with States)

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In this module you will learn how to use the Card with States Power BI Custom Visual.  The Card with States allows for you to have an value displayed with an indicator that can be manually adjusted or data driven.  Check out http://okviz.com/ for more details on this and other visuals.

Module 10 – Card with States

Downloads

Key Takeaways

  • Allows you to bind performance measures to 3 states.
    • The thresholds for these 3 stages can be set manually or be data driven.
  • It can visualize one measure while using a different one for the indicator value

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This shows the State Value is between the State 3 Minimum and the State 3 Maximum.

  • Under the Format paintbrush there are some options that are helpful with customizing the appearance of the Card with States.
  • The Data label section gives you the ability to change the Color, Display units, Decimal points and Text size of the number displayed.  In my example above this would change the color of the number 9,038,161 to a different color if I had not configured the 3 states.

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  • The State 1, State 2, and State 3 properties allow you do adjust manually where the thresholds begin and end for each state (this may also be data driven. You may also change the Color and Label that’s displayed for each threshold

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  • Finally, in the Category Label section you can define the category labels Text and Color. Several other options are here that allow you to set things like Word wrap and Margin top (how much space between the number and the text).

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  • In addition to these properties you have a set of settings that appears on every visual to adjust the background color, add a border around the visual and lock the aspect ratio.

Find Out More

You will always be able to find this video module and advanced viewing of future modules on the Pragmatic Works On Demand Training platform.  Click here to learn more about this training platform that includes 20+ courses.

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