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How I Saved Months Automating My Reporting with DataLab

Discover how Will, a Data Analyst at Starting Point, built his data skills using DataCamp and then automated his reporting using DataLab, saving him weeks of effort.
Jan 2024  · 6 min read

Will Appling, a Data Analyst at Starting Point in Cleveland, Ohio, needed a better way to use his data skills at work. He chose DataCamp to help him.

In this blog post, we'll discuss how Will went from learning about data in school to using his data skills to do his job better. Specifically, we’ll explore how DataLab simplified his work and helped him achieve more at Starting Point, allowing him to become not just an analyst who built reports but an analyst who provided insights that make a real difference to his organization.

Will’s Journey into Data

Will's path into the world of data analysis was not a straight line. It began during his Master’s when he encountered the power of data in understanding and solving complex problems.

During my Master’s, I took a class called ‘Analytical Methods’. In one particular class on data analysis and business modeling, we estimated product demand, predicted order quantity, and built network optimization models and simulations. From there, I was hooked.

Will ApplingData Analyst

However, the leap from theory to practice proved a significant challenge. After finishing his studies, Will found himself looking for a new role in data analysis but felt unprepared for the practical aspects of the job search. He knew he needed to build on his foundational knowledge to become more proficient.

I tried to get a job as an analyst, but I saw that everybody wanted so many years of experience, a PhD. I thought, ‘I'm not going back to school again; I've already spent enough money.’ I was a little bit dejected by that. That's how I realized I'm going to need something more.

Will ApplingData Analyst

In his quest for a more hands-on learning experience, Will discovered DataCamp. He was initially drawn to it because it offered a learning path tailored to his needs and goals. DataCamp's practical approach to learning and its focus on real-world applications immediately stood out to him.

I found Datacamp, and it's pretty much been all she wrote since. I've been using Datacamp for probably five years now.

Will ApplingData Analyst

This was the turning point, marking the beginning of a journey that would not only bridge the gap between theory and application but also transform his approach to data analysis.

Upskilling on DataCamp

As Will began to use DataCamp, he discovered a rich array of resources that were crucial in enhancing his understanding and application of data analysis. Courses in Python, SQL, and Data Visualization opened new doors, providing the hands-on experience he was searching for.

DataCamp was where I would come to just hang out. Some people do crossword puzzles, and some people do Sudoku to pass the time. I would come to DataCamp because it was like that for me.

Will ApplingData Analyst

One of the most significant outcomes for Will was the development of a robust foundational skill set in data analytics. He appreciated how the courses were structured, starting from the basics and gradually increasing in complexity.

The interactive nature of DataCamp played a pivotal role in reinforcing his learning. The immediate feedback on exercises and the opportunity to work on real datasets made the learning process both effective and enjoyable.

The ability to learn something at the moment, to be able to apply it at work and use it right away reinforces my learning and gives me more confidence.

Will ApplingData Analyst

Through DataCamp, Will not only filled the gaps in his knowledge but also discovered a newfound enthusiasm for data analytics. This experience laid the foundation for the next phase of his career, where he would leverage these skills to bring about significant improvements in his workplace.

Turning Learning Into Doing Using DataLab

Will's journey with DataCamp took a significant turn when he discovered DataLab. This tool offered him an unprecedented opportunity to apply his learning in a more practical, real-world context.

When I first tried DataLab, it was a revelation; it was exactly what I needed to move from learning to doing.

Will ApplingData Analyst

DataLab became a daily part of his routine, allowing him to experiment with data in ways he had never done before. He could now test theories, manipulate data sets, and see the results of his work in real time.

DataLab was a sandbox for my ideas. It empowered me to experiment, make mistakes, and learn from them in a very practical way.

Will ApplingData Analyst


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One of the most impactful achievements was the transformation of a lengthy report process, which initially took months, into a swift, efficient task.

We used to rely on a consultant to prepare our reports, which could take up to three months. With DataLab, I managed to automate this process using a pivot table I built. What previously took three months now takes less than five minutes.

Will ApplingData Analyst

This significant improvement was not just about speed but the quality of the reports. Beyond improving efficiency, DataLab helped Will delve deeper into data analysis, uncovering insights that were previously inaccessible.

I've been able to really help out Starting Point in a big way. Our staff really appreciate everything I am able to do—like teaching myself Tableau. After I did a demonstration, the organization bought a Tableau license. Now, my team loves what I do, particularly with mapping and spatial visualizations, to see where are the people that we serve in Northeastern Ohio and how we can help them.

You can look at these various aspects of the data set and start to see all these different patterns. Now I can showcase trends to get more funding or help make better decisions that support our network.

Will ApplingData Analyst

In reflecting on his experience with DataLab, Will emphasizes its role in his professional development:

It just makes me more efficient and more productive. It frees me up. Most of the people in this role are just expected to crank out the reports. But now I'm able to crank out a report and then do something else that brings value. And the value that I bring is really appreciated by my colleagues

Will ApplingData Analyst


From an eager learner in his master's program to a proficient Data Analyst at Starting Point, Will's journey is a testament to the power of dedicated learning and practical application.

By embracing DataCamp and DataLab, Will was able to bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and real-world data analysis. His commitment to upskilling saw him mastering Python, SQL, and various data visualization techniques. The culmination of this effort was not just in the skills he acquired but in the improvements he brought to his role at Starting Point.

Will's success story underscores the value of hands-on learning in today's data-driven world. His accomplishments in streamlining reporting processes and uncovering deeper insights into data have not only boosted his confidence but also set a benchmark for his future endeavors in data analysis.

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Rhys Phillips

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