Student Discussions

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My Impact Story

5 - Atom

Hello, my name is Dang Tran! I started at Cal State Fullerton straight from high school. I knew at first that I wanted to join the CSUF Accounting program because I thought I was good with data and statistics, and I’ve also heard somewhere that a CPA makes a decent amount of money. It took three years of learning accounting to realize that it wasn’t all data but more of accounts receivables and cost of goods sold. After finishing my accounting degree, I decided to pick up Information Systems because I wanted to get into data analysis. The reason I stayed in school for longer is that I was interested in what I was learning. I took ACCT 404 – Emerging Technologies, an introduction class to tools like Alteryx and Tableau. These data analytics tools are a lot similar to Photoshop and Illustrator, which is what I’m used to. I see these programs as modern-day tools like a hammer or anvil, and I believe if you can master these tools, you can master your craft (graphic designing, data analytics).


I’ve always had a love for creativity, right from a very young age. From playing with lego, cooking, and making playdough to getting told off on my first days of school for drawing eyes in the word “look,” creative activities were always great fun to me. However, I might not have fully understood it on a conscious level when I was very young. Playing in order to bring something new and unique (and hopefully of value) into the world always brought me a great deal of satisfaction.


My love for design continued through high school, where I took my first graphic design class. I was always interested in 3D designing but never had any formal training. My love of learning and curiosity about how things work led me to find ways of teaching myself new skills on my own time. This led me to pick up Blender as a hobby. I began with rendering objects around my room. As I got better, I recreated my room virtually and moved on to entirely creating a virtual scene of my own.


Graphic design is a creative process used to convey a specific message to a targeted audience. It includes a number of artistic and professional disciplines that focus on visual communication and presentation. Words, symbols, and images are created and combined using shape, color, imagery, typography, visual arts, and page layout techniques to form a visual representation of the message.


Data visualization tools like Alteryx have some essential aspects of graphical design beat practices already built-in. If you use the correct configurations, you can create some really effective data visualizations – where the message that the data conveys clearly stands out without being cluttered by unnecessary ink and other designed widgets. Tableau also has a clever wizard-like function that recommends the appropriate graph types for the data and analysis. Of course, you can still force it to use the wrong graph type or configure it to produce really bad visualizations. So although you don’t need to be a graphical designer per se, you still need to know how to apply the correct settings and configurations to apply good design principles.


Thank you for reading!


This is amazing, @dangtran3010! Thank you for sharing - we're excited to watch your career grow now that you have the skills you need to succeed in any industry.