Do You Have A Data Question That Needs Analysis?

May 22, 2019
Mary van Valkenburg

Sean Burkley presents data on affordable housingThere’s an old joke where someone asks: How do you get to Carnegie Hall? The answer? Practice, practice, practice. We think this is also the best way to build data analytics and data science skills.

From the beginning, students in our data science classes have worked on projects with companies that have shared data (either company data or public data) and one or more questions their business would like to have answered by that data. This provides a tremendous experience, whereby our students get exposed to data from a variety of domains while working to answer questions that would provide real value.

Students have worked on identifying fuel theft from semi trucks using sensor data from the fleet of a local logistics firm. They’ve worked toward understanding which users are running an excess of very short, very frequent computing jobs by exploring and analyzing the job log files from a computing center. They’ve studied affordable housing trends and the pattern of codes violations with experts from Metropolitan Nashville government. And they have looked at the relationship between prescribing behavior and overdose rates in different states with guidance from an expert at a local healthcare company. 

Real problems have lots of advantages: real (messy) data, subject matter experts who provide the domain information required to understand the analysis question, and the motivation of providing insight into an actual business problem that could lead to delivering actionable information.

Do you have a data question that needs analysis?

Now that we have added a data analytics program, we want to give these students experience working with real data and real questions too. We need your help to make this possible.

If you are interested in helping shape Nashville’s future data analysts and data scientists by providing data and/or questions for them to practice new skills, please let me know at The students may even discover some valuable insights for your team. 

Topics: Learning, Community, Analytics + Data Science