Alteryx is known to bring significant business value to organizations, democratizing data analytics and driving insights-driven decision making across any department and team. How are we able to extend this learning to academic curriculum and mid-career switchers? Dr. David Airehrour, former senior lecturer at UNITEC Institute of Technology, loves what Alteryx stands for – “Data Science for Non-Data Scientists” – and the platform is perfect for his post-graduate students who are first-timers with data analytics and often do not come from core-computer science backgrounds.
“Alteryx promotes industry-readiness. My students can easily use Alteryx to start building solutions and deploy those solutions within minutes for the industry,” Dr. Airehrour explains. “If you have to use a programming tool like Python, R or other tools, it will take you several weeks to create a single model. Alteryx has a rich source of library models, data cleaning tools, summarization tools – a rich source of diverse tools that students can quickly drag and drop to their canvas and assemble a workflow which is essentially a complex model and program.”
Enriching the learning experience
Dr. Airehrour explored various data analytics tools and platforms when he was crafting the curriculum for Master of Applied Business. In evaluating the top ETL (Extract, Transform and Load) and data science tools available in the market, he was certain that an ‘all-in-one basket’ of the most updated and industry-relevant technical platform is the most ideal tool for his curriculum. He asserts, “Having groomed them (students) in skillsets on Alteryx, Tableau, Excel and so on, the students are industry-ready to take on any challenge and learning a similar tool at work becomes easier.”
According to Dr. Airehrour, industries today are looking for quick turnaround time for data-driven insights and solutions. In his observation, learning and mastering Python may take nine to twelve months and organizations are also valuing the skill of model building. Hence, easing the learning curve of data analytics for students and mitigating the talent gap are crucial in preparing industry-proof graduates. “Alteryx tools help to mitigate those skill gaps. Once students learn Alteryx, they can easily put those tools together and build a workflow akin to a professional programmer of at least two to three years of experience.”
Learning through practical use cases
Through an industry scheme run by UNITEC, Dr. Airehrour was acquainted with multiple partners and customers who are now cornerstone to his curriculum. These industry-higher-education partnerships provide his students a valuable opportunity to have work-relevant, hands-on assignments and experience with deploying Alteryx solutions. He shares that with post-graduate learning, it’s paramount that assignments and assessments are established through practical use cases – to engage with industry experts, understand the issues that the organizations are facing and utilizing the Alteryx skill set taught in class to examine it through data and analytics.
For instance, his students are working on briefs across multiple industries – from Software-as-a-Service companies, media agencies, fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) to education and even, tourism. In fact, one of his post-graduate students was offered a role in tourism prior to graduation. Dr. Airehrour adds, “The interview was really hands-on. They gave him a brief and a computer with a suite of tools, to which he had to solve the brief in an hour. They were so impressed with him (the student) that they offered him the job straight away!”
“These are the kind of stories we really want for our students – where we equip them (with the necessary skillsets) at the post-graduate level as they step out to a whole world of opportunities and possibilities.”
Kickstarting a life-long learning journey
The introduction of Alteryx in Dr. Airehrour’s curriculum is met with great success. Even beyond graduation, many students are in touch with Dr. Airehrour to share their desire to achieve their certification and look for a job which enables them to utilize Alteryx as a key tool. He is most heartened to see his students who started with no technical / programming background now aspire to learn other programming languages, such as R and SQL, as they recognize the synergies between these languages and Alteryx.
To learn more about the free Alteryx SparkED education program, visit our home page at alteryx.com/sparked. Educators can easily integrate snack-sized learning modules into existing curricula, or set up a new program. Teaching materials and optional faculty training are available. Learners can apply for scholarships and internships. Certification exams are open book and may be taken more than once. Visit us today and soon begin offering your students the in-demand knowledge and skills employers are seeking globally.