Works and Days

Tableau Software: Ziyuan Zhong, Winter Shadow 2016

Ziyuan Zhong shadowed at Tableau, a software company that helps people visualize, analyze, and share their data.

I went to Seattle on January 10 for my winter shadow, which spanned from Monday to Thursday. This shadow was probably one of the best experiences of my life. I learned how to use Tableau, how to give a presentation using Tableau and data analysis skills, and how to solve real-world problems using what I had learned at Reed.

This shadow consisted of three main parts. First, we shadowed customer technical sales calls. By listening to the conversation between the workers and the customers, I realized the importance of good communication between people, in addition to having mastery of the technical details. This motivates me to grasp every opportunity in the rest of my academic life at Reed, and to practice my oral skills and communication skills.

Another part was learning about the actual usage of Tableau, which is a powerful data-visualization software. Since data analysis is a very important skill to have for my planned future career, learning about Tableau was very useful for me.

The third part was getting to meet and talk with alumni and some of their coworkers who work at Tableau. They were all very nice and helpful. My conversations with them motivated me to plan to find a job after Reed, while I prepare and try to make up my mind about graduate school. The problems in the real world are very different from those in academia. Taking the time to get a feel for the problems in the real world and then going back into academia will enable me to pursue an academic direction which will be more likely to be beneficial to the real world.

This shadow also had two competitions, which were intended to motivate us to learn Tableau. One challenged us to use tableau to solve as many problems as possible; the other was to analyze a data set using tableau and give a twenty minute presentation. I was excited about them so I spent quite a while doing both of them. I was very happy with the result of winning both of them.

I really appreciate this opportunity and want to thank many people including the provider of this shadow and the staff at Life Beyond Reed who made this possible in the end. Thank you!

Tags: winter shadow, externship, software, data, technology, alumni