For over a year now, I’ve been teaching analytics courses for employees of the City of New York. Starting with a course called Data Analytics for Managers, I began helping the 300,000 civil service employees in New York become more data literate by helping them be comfortable with numbers and figures, as well as more at ease using tools like Microsoft Excel to manipulate data. I now produce a series of 4 full-day courses in various areas of analytics, as well as a shorter half-day course in open data.
Along the way, I’ve learned a lot about the process of teaching analytics to city employees, the challenges they face in their day-to-day work, and the opportunities cities have in developing the analytical capabilities of their workforce. I’ve had seasoned managers leave my class telling me how thankful they were to finally “get” why data was important, newly minted analysts excited to go back to their office and try pivot tables with their data, and even one student rethinking her decision not finish her Political Science degree now that she could see how data could better inform public policymaking.
In the following series of blogposts, I’ll be outlining the courses I’ve been teaching and discussing the lessons learned over the course of the past year. My hope is to share the knowledge I’ve gained with others charged with a similar task of improving the work of city agencies through the better use of data. Many thanks to the students who took my courses, shared their insights, and gave feedback on the class. I’ve tried to honor their input by constantly making improvements to the classes in order to maximize the investment of time students make by taking a full day off of work to improve themselves and the work they do. My ultimate goal is to provide them the interesting, engaging, and relevant training they all deserve.
Accompanying this series is a Github repository of course outlines and other important information that I’ll be updating as this series continues. If you find this work interesting and have experience teaching, please reach out to me. I’m looking to increase the number of highly qualified and motivated teachers I can call on to help me do this work. If you have a relevant background and an interest in improving how cities are run through training in the use of data, then I want to hear from you.