Data Analysis Class Pays Off On The Job
The modern business world revolves around data but many organizations are still using antiquated data storage and management techniques. When international studies major Danyelle Martin ’11 began her new job in the defense industry she found that her team stored similar data in at least five different spreadsheets, and the spreadsheets were not open to multiple users at the same time. “This system of storing information led to duplication of data and missing data,” she says. “It also was horribly inefficient. Having to check multiple places for one piece of information and then finding out that the spreadsheets don’t always match up was a nightmare.”
Martin’s experience is not uncommon; however she left Washington College with an ace up her sleeve. Leveraging the skills she learned in math and computer science instructor Martin Suydam’s data analysis class, Martin created an access database and added in some macros to make the user apply better data entry practices (such as adding the date the information was updated). “My boss and other supervisors were so thrilled I actually got a bonus,” she says, and her database system has been adopted throughout the entire department.
Martin’s impressive achievements early in her career are directly linked to her data analysis course—a course she lobbied for. She says that she “saw a need for an applicable data management class not specifically for the computer scientists, but for people like me in the soft sciences. With Professor Suydam’s help it became a full-fledged course.”
Now that she is moving forward in her career Martin offers the following advice to recent graduates and soon-to-be graduates who have taken data analysis: “Don’t be afraid to advertise skills developed through this course. They are practical and can increase work efficiency if you apply it appropriately and creatively.”
— Otto Borden ’14