Always a bright and energizing force in his group projects, Douglas Torres’ passion for data shines when he’s digging his way to the answers. Prior to joining the Data Analytics Bootcamp at Nashville Software School (NSS), he worked in sales and then for a family-owned tax company as an administrative assistant. In that role, he taught himself how to use Excel to analyze company data and expedite reporting.
“I basically worked my way up to what a business analyst would be doing, but without the technical knowledge,” Douglas said.
Yearning to build on his analytics experience and advance his career, he found that NSS was the right next step for him. He was encouraged by a friend’s suggestion and good reviews of the school.
The part-time evening data analytics bootcamp is a six-month intensive dive into Excel, Python and SQL. It’s a project-based learning environment in which students use these technologies to analyze data provided by local businesses and government. The aim: to answer questions and provide business insights.
“The amount of experience we all acquired by working with real-world data is so worth the time and hard work.”
Attending data analytics classes at night and a full-time job during the day, Douglas found one of the biggest challenges of his NSS journey to be managing his time so that he could complete class projects and homework. But the chance to strengthen his skills in a community of aspiring data analysts made the roadblocks worth it in the end.
Having now made it through, Douglas offers the following advice for soon-to-be data analytics students:
“Do not doubt your own skills; you are enough! Also, when you inevitably find yourself without any idea of what to do, you have great instructors at your disposal, so do not hesitate asking for help. It's ok!”
For his capstone project, Douglas explored political advertisements on Facebook. Driven by his interest in the effects of political messaging on public discourse in America, he focused on how organizations use Facebook to influence voters.
Douglas started with data from the investigative journalism non-profit ProPublica and used Python to extract, transform and load the data for analysis in a Jupyter Notebook. He then utilized Python’s various libraries for exploratory data analysis and visualization.
With Power BI, Douglas created an interactive dashboard to enhance his data storytelling. He was shocked at the number of liberal political ads that mentioned Donald Trump. Of note among his findings, he said, “I was surprised at how granular political ads can get. One can be targeted based on age, place, interests, websites and apps you use, and even what your family/friends do on Facebook!”
Douglas continues to build his Python and SQL expertise. He’s prepared to take on roles that employ his data analytics training from NSS and is particularly intrigued by data engineering:
“I'm already looking at projects out there to help me develop those skills.”
When he’s not studying Python or SQL, you can find him learning to wall climb. “It can’t be all about the mind!”
Check out all the recent grads on Data Analytics Cohort 1's class website and hear the graduates share their journey into development and their experience at NSS in their podcasts below.