Recipe for Success: Data Analytics Courses for Public Sector Employees

For the past year, the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) has hired data analysts to teach public servants how to use New York City open data. In doing so, they trained employees to consume their own data and use it make decisions and taught them how to be responsible data stewards when publishing open data for others’ consumption.

Ingredients

  • Data analysis curriculum that teaches relevant skills to public-sector employees such as cleaning data for publication, analyzing data for insights, and developing compelling visualizations.
  • Skilled instructors in data analytics, data science, and geographic information systems.
  • Access to computers with software such as Excel, Powerpoint, and Tableau.

Directions

  1. Conduct the user-research necessary to understand what skills public-sector employees need to do their jobs well.
  2. Modify existing sample curriculum to meet public-sector employees’ greatest needs, such as database management or presentation skills.
  3. Revise examples in the curriculum to incorporate open data that is published by the agency taking the course.
  4. Teach engaging all-day and half-day courses that include interactive lectures, discussion, and sample exercises.

Outcomes

Public-sector employees who participated in data analytics courses reported:

  • A better understanding of why data is important.
  • A renewed enthusiasm to apply concepts to their work.
  • Perspective on how to use data to inform decisions and policymaking.

To learn more about data analytics curriculum, visit Datapolitan’s Github.

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photo credit: Teague Labs