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How To Create Attention-Grabbing Data Analytics Portfolio Projects: 3 Proven Project Types That Work In The Real World

Today, I’ll explain 3 types of projects that work well in your online data analytics portfolio.

When you’re just getting started with your portfolio, it’s hard to know exactly what kind of projects to work on. Many data analysts work on tutorial projects as part of online courses.

Unfortunately, tutorial projects aren’t usually enough. For example, if you work through a guided data analytics project (where you follow instructions step-by-step like a paint-by-number painting) it can be hard knowing how to create projects on your own.

Save time and avoid tutorial hell by focusing on proven data projects that get attention in your online data analytics portfolio.

Many job-seekers skip this step entirely.

  • They pick a tutorial online or on YouTube
  • Work through the project but have nothing to show for it
  • End up getting frustrated and moving on to another tutorial
  • Get stuck in tutorial hell with no way to get out

But the three project types I share below will help you avoid getting caught in this trap.

Here’s how:

Project Type 1: Business Dashboard

Data dashboards include multiple charts and graphs altogether. Each part is related to a larger data story and helps solve a business problem.

Here’s a Customer Review Dashboard from my portfolio as an example:

Why it works:

  1. It provides at-a-glance information
    The KPIs on top of the map show quick insights into customer ratings while the word cloud shows the actual words from the customer reviews.
  2. It tells a story
    The point of this business dashboard is to help executives understand what customers are saying about their products and services. I used the data to tell a story about the total volume of reviews, ratings, review text, and trends over time. All of the charts are related to the central theme of customer reviews.
  3. It’s well laid out
    When you’re creating business dashboards, it’s important to not overcrowd. It can be tempting to jam as much as possible into the dashboard. Include plenty of whitespace and remove anything that isn’t necessary.

Project Type 2: Data Workflow Diagram

Data workflow diagrams are the answer if your work involves a lot of non-visual data skills like data processing, cleansing, wrangling, etc.

When you’re working mostly with SQL and Python, it can be challenging to show off your skills to a non-technical person like a recruiter or hiring manager. Including a link to your GitHub is fine, but what if the person reading your resume or looking at your portfolio doesn’t know how to code? How will they figure out if you’re a good fit for the role?

That’s where data workflow diagrams come to the rescue.

Here’s an example from my portfolio:

Why it works

  1. It’s visual
    This workflow is a visual representation of a non-visual task: collecting data from 5 different sources, applying some filters, creating some metrics, blending, summarizing, cleansing, and joining. Before finally exporting to a final data extract, ready to be visualized.
  2. It’s laid out step-by-step
    Even a non-technical person can understand what this data workflow is doing at a high level. Even if you’ve never seen a diagram like this before, they are able to understand that there are steps to the work you do and they can quickly see how you’d fit in their company.
  3. It shows you can get the job done
    Coding is just one element you need as a data analyst. The larger need is solving business problems. A visual workflow shows that you can take a problem from start to finish in a way that non-technical people can understand.

Project Type 3: Interactive Data Visualization

Interactive data visualizations are a great way to show that you can develop insights quickly.

In 2020, I was interviewing for a job and the interviewer specifically called out this project of mine during the interview.

Even though the job was for a completely different industry, it was easy for the interviewer to see what I would have been able to do, if I were working for them.

  1. It’s interesting
    Business dashboards can be boring. And executives have seen a zillion of them. But when you create an interactive data visualization it can expand their thinking a bit and answer questions they never even thought to ask.
  2. Tells a story
    Interactive data visualizations are a great way to tell data stories. Each of the parts adds some detail to the larger picture and insights you’re trying to deliver.
  3. Simplifies complex ideas
    Interactive data visualizations help the end user get some information right up front, but also provide some more details behind the scenes through hovering, drilling in, and using filters.

Use these project types in your online data analytics portfolio:

  1. Business dashboards
  2. Data workflow diagrams
  3. Interactive Data visualizations

That’s it for today – I hope you enjoyed it.

See you again next week!


Whenever you’re ready, here are 3 ways I can help you:

  1. View all past issues of my newsletter here.
  2. If you’re ready to build your online data analytics portfolio, my 14-day Data Analytics Portfolio Playbook is for you.
  3. If you want actionable data analytics advice on your specific situation, book a 1:1 coaching session with me today.

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