Sunday, May 28, 2017

When Is It Time To Quit Your Data Analytics Job?

Often a bad job teaches you good lessons. That is something I have experienced recently while working as Senior Performance Analytics Coordinator at a university in Australia. My experiences at this job made me decide to quit despite a healthy six-figure salary.

I was responsible to lead the university’s analytics team and help the decision makers with valuable insights gathered from data. Unfortunately it was far from ideal and instead, it was a constant battle around the following 10 points. To me the followings are the red signs for a data analytics job and one may consider quitting the job showing all these signs. Having said that one must know that no organisation is perfect and as long as an organisation is not showing most of these signs at once, one should know how to adapt to the unique situation.

1. Using the wrong tools

In order for a productive outcome both for your employer and for your personal growth, it is important that you are exposed to current technologies in a data analytics job. Both of you should ideally be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of all the current tools. It is important because, for example, data analytics moved well beyond crunching numbers in an excel sheet. However, if that is the best and only tangible outcome is what you were asked to produce in your current job, it is certainly time for you to quit that job. If your organisation is not willing to accept the limitation of excel and merely expresses interest in data analytics, you will not grow much in that job whereas the rest of the world will move onto something new and advanced.

2. Using the tools wrong

On the other hand, even if you have access to the right technologies, you will still have to use it correctly. When I joined the above mentioned job, I found SPSS was available as analytics software. But to my surprise it was only used to copy-paste files between two locations. If your organisation is using a tool wrong it will not only force you to work longer hours for an insignificant gain but will also hamper your creativity as you will spend most of your time doing trivial things.

3. Lack of proper Data Repository 

“Where are the necessary data?” If this is the question you are asking to your colleagues, every time there is a new request for a data centric corporate report, it is a clear sign that your organization does not have proper data repository. In such cases, everyone in your organization, including you, should be fully committed to have a solid data storage as source of truth prior to undertake any analytical projects. Because, extracting insights out of wrong dataset could be catastrophic for the decision makers in your organization. Despite your strong suggestions for proper data repository, if you still do not see a solution in sight, it is certainly time to leave.

4. Lack of Organisational Data Dictionary 

An organisation aimed to make data centric decisions must have a strong Data Dictionary describing their basic organisational elements clearly. In my case, you would expect “Student Count” should have been one of the elements that had a clear definition including all the possible variations. Unfortunately, that was not the case. You would get different answers depending on whom you were asking. It was not productive for thought-provoking data analysis. It indicates that the organisation has lot to catch up and requires to go back to the drawing board.

5. No Data Strategy

In today’s data centric world, a solid data strategy provides the basis for organisational decision making. A data strategy will help you focus on the right things in order for your data to have organizational impacts. In absence of one, an organization will fail to provide you a data management objective, a plan for project execution, vision to keep up with rapid technological developments and sense of achievements. As a result, your data analysis will never get it right and you will never be satisfied with your performance and neither will be your boss. A sure sign to move on.

6. You are forced to make wild assumptions

As analyst if you are consistently making wild assumptions about your deliverables and data, without any clarification process in place, it should raise an alarm immediately. For example, in the above mentioned job when I found asking questions for clarifications were seen as objectionable, I was pleasantly surprise. It was like shooting in the dark to find insights from data in order for the management to make organisational decisions. This awkward situation is bound to create dissatisfaction for everyone, including you, and surely a recipe for disastrous outcomes.

7. No notion of Data Visualisation

One of the most creative parts of data analysis life cycle is to be able to visualise the data to express various scenarios. If there is no notion of visualisation at your job, instead there are demands only for numbers in various forms, absolutely time to quit the job. Without visualisation, a data analysis job will only offer some trivial tasks without any creative challenges.

8. Disinterest in algorithms and statistics 

If you haven’t heard anyone at your job talking about any advanced algorithms and statistical models in relation to the analytical projects implemented in previous months, you can consider it as a sign of inexperience that prevails at your organisation. This is often one of the first signs that indicates your current job is not going to help you much to progress your data analysis career. It will not be able to provide you a challenge to keep you interested in the long run.

9. No action required attitude 

If you observe that your data analysis were hardly actioned upon, take that as a hint of indifference towards data centric decision making that exists in your current organisation. This situation will never bring you job satisfaction and will eventually turn you into a reactive person instead of being proactive analyst. If this has been taking place consistently with your important deliverables, it is time to browse a job posting site.

10. Poor Management

Poor management bound to introduce unnecessary overhead to your daily workload. For example, if you are expected to report hourly to your manager regarding your data analysis for each day of the year without failing, you are certainly under a wrong leadership team for a data analysis job. This indicates the team leads have no prior experience in delivering great analytical projects and confused between regular corporate reporting and advanced data analysis. Also, if you have a situation where even to make a small decision you are required to go through an extreme hierarchy among your team leads every time, you will be exhausted. It shows the organisation is not ready for a fast-paced data centric world of decision making.

Having made all the points, I must emphasise, one should always first try to bring positive changes themselves at work. As a data analyst you should address all the above issues and have possible solutions to the problems. However, if you are constantly feeling overwhelmed, if you are not growing, if you are not appreciated, if your suggestions are constantly ignored for next time and if nothing you do is ever enough, surely you should leave.

This article is not only to help one to make a sound judgment about their jobs but also to help organisations identify issues to improve on.

As a data analyst, if you are busy satisfying managers’ need instead of having significant organisational impacts through you data analysis, the world of analytics will move on fast leaving you behind. It is always about overcoming your fear of people pleasing and made your voice heard or leave for the better opportunity. After all, management illiteracy and inexperience of data science are the two most common reasons why most data analysis projects fail.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Play, Earn And Donate with Coin Collector - a free-to-play smartphone based game designed by D+

Coin Collector is a free-to-play smartphone based game for players to collect digital coins while walking in the neighbourhood. This game is played on google map as coins randomly start to appear on the screen around players’ real world surroundings. The more coins players can collect the richer they will get!
Coin Collector is designed by Daily Positive (D+), a not-for-profit media initiative from Australia to publish positive news on each country of the world.
Download the Android Version Here.

Game Rules

Players will play Coin Collector on Google Map, outside while physically walking in the neighbourhood. Three types of coins will be available for players to collect – Bronze, Silver and Gold. For each Bronze, Silver and Gold coin collected, players will earn .10 cents, .50 cents and 1 dollar respectively. Apart from the coins, as special reward, Pink Diamonds may appear which will be worth $50 each.
If the players can reach within 60 meters of any of the coins or diamonds, they can collect and earn all of those coins and diamonds by tapping the screen. A circle will be available as an indication of the 60-meter radius. The centre of the circle is the physical location the player.
Once a set of coins and diamonds is available to collect, the players will have 90 seconds to collect them all. If the players fail to collect the coins and diamonds within the given 90 seconds, the map will be reloaded with new sets of coins and diamonds.
In total the map will be reloaded 3 times with new sets of coins before the players move to the next round of the game. In total there will be 5 rounds before the game ends.
In order to be able to move to the next round, players will have to correctly answer a random Multiple Choice Questions. The questions will be based on the positive news published on Daily Positive (D+) in last few years and some general knowledge about the countries of the world.
Players will have three lifelines in total and for each wrong answer in between the rounds players will lose a lifeline.
Players’ physical location will be determined by GPS functionalities available on their smartphone. Thus, the accuracy of Coin Collector depends on the accuracy of players’ GPS system. Players will have to allow Coin Collector to access their physical location, if prompted at the start of the game.
In this current version, Coin Collector will give away coins and diamonds only for 20k or 20,000 times a day throughout the world. Thus, you need to hurry up and collect the coins and diamonds as soon as they start to appear in your neighbourhood. Beyond 20K, you will start to see an error message and you will have to try again next day.
In order to play Coin Collector, you will need a latest version of Android or iOS smartphone with Internet connection.
Enjoy, Play, Earn And Donate Today With Coin Collector!

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Switzerland Remained The Top Most Positive Country In 2016

  • Switzerland is named World’s Most Positive Country for two consecutive years.
  • Italy made it to the overall list of positive countries for the first time ever, and Canada made it back to the list after two years of absence. 
  • Africa, Asia, Europe and South America, except North America, all have new regional winners this year.
  • In 2016, Africans liked the North Americans, Asians liked the South Americans, South Americans liked the Africans and both North Americans and Europeans endorsed themselves.
  • Global citizens became less hopeful regarding an immediate positive future for the world.

Switzerland clinched the title of the World’s Most Positive Country for 2016 for the second time in a row, according to the annual global index published by Daily Positive (D+), a unique online media organization from Australia for positive news. 

The annual list of top ten most positive countries is compiled based on a positivity index comprised of a global expert panel rating, a D+ journalists rating, a global web poll and the number of positive news entries in 2016 on the D+ website.

The top 10 World’s Most Positive Countries for 2016 along with respective ranking points are as follows:

Country Name
Total Points
New Zealand
United States of America

Apart from this overall list of 10 most positive countries, for the second time, D+ also produced a list of regional positive countries from Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and South America. The regional winners were selected based on the same criteria used to select the overall winners but from a specific region.

Switzerland continued to amaze the world with sustainable developments and innovative initiatives. Some of the notable initiatives from 2016 are the inauguration of the world's longest and deepest rail tunnel under the Swiss Alps, breaking the world record for acceleration by a new Swiss electric car, and the historic completion of round-the-world journey by Solar Impulse 2, becoming the first airplane to circle the globe powered only by the sun. Among many Swiss sporting heroes from 2016 perhaps Stan Wawrinka, with his US Open Grand Slam tennis win, topped the list. Switzerland remained committed to help alleviate global poverty with a huge financial commitment to international organizations like the IMF. Switzerland continued to showcase the country's ability to deliver secure, affordable and sustainable energy.

China secured the second spot in the list of most positive countries, and it is the best ever ranking position for China in the history of the list. In 2016 the Chinese space program reached to a new height. Among many success stories, China successfully launched the world’s first quantum satellite, and launched its second space lab Tiangong-2 into orbit, paving the way for a permanent space station the country plans to build around 2022. China launched its longest manned space mission, sending two astronauts into orbit to spend a month aboard the space laboratory Tiangong-2 that is part of China's future permanent space station. Chinese sports heroes shone at the Rio Olympic and beyond. In a sign of great environmental commitment, China's wind power capacity overtook the European Union (EU) total for the first time, according to the official statistics published by Global Wind Energy Council.

Sweden swapped position with China in the list of most positive countries in 2016 compared with last year. In 2016, Sweden was named Europe’s most innovative country by European Commission, and ranked second at the Global Innovation Index because of their capacities and results for innovation. With such titles in possession, Swedish researchers continued to shine on the international stage. Sweden continued to be one of the least corrupt countries in the world, and clinched the top spot on the Girls’ Opportunity Index, a global index that provides a snapshot of the situation of girls in respective countries according to their opportunity to control their own lives and to fulfill their potential.

Australia moved up one spot in the list into the fourth position in 2016 compared with last year. Australian medical research had a great year and that helped boost Australia’s position in the ranking. Australian researchers built a world-first robotic surgical system, named HeroSurg, that gives surgeons the sense of touch while they drive a robot to conduct keyhole surgery via a computer. Australian surgeons performed Australian-first surgery on a baby diagnosed with spina bifida while it was still in the womb. Apart from these accomplishments, Australian researchers collaborated in a wide range of research fields with the international community. Despite apparent slow going, some of the biggest Australian businesses came back strong this year. For example, Australian flag carrier Qantas airline not only made profit after years of loss, but also was voted world's safest airline for the third year running.

Canada has been experiencing a new vibe in internal-external policy development with a fresh federal administration in charge. Perhaps that positive vibe put Canada back into the list of most positive countries after two years of absence. This Ice Hockey mad nation kept the top world titles to themselves. The Canadian economy is showing signs of growth despite early-year glitches. That in turn kept the recent national unemployment rate steady or lower compared with the first half of the year. Canadian researchers continued to innovate with projects such as ReFlex – a unique bendable smartphone.

New Zealand ranked as the sixth most positive county in the world. It is the best ever ranking position for New Zealand in the sixth year of running this award series. In 2016, Rugby, Cricket and Golf produced some notable positive stories for New Zealand in the sporting world. Foreigners who voted for New Zealand in our global poll were impressed by its hospitality, strong identity and openness.  New Zealand was ranked as one of the least corrupt countries in the world.

Singapore moved up two spots in the ranking compared with last year. Singapore's education system from school to university remained top class. The 2016 Olympics brought the best ever Olympic moment for the country when swimmer Joseph Isaac Schooling won the country's first-ever Olympic gold medal with his 100m butterfly swimming victory. Singapore stayed innovative with initiatives like introduction of the world's first self-driving taxi service trial.

Germany slipped down two spots in the list of most positive countries in 2016 compared with last year. However, Germany is still seen as being highly responsible in keeping the European Union together. As part of its Green Economy and Green Energy advancements, Germany announced a plan to ban fuel vehicles by 2030. "In 2016, Germany had a robust economy that invested heavily in renewable energy (wind and solar), continued to introduce innovation in the auto industries and in general remained one of the strongest competitive economies of the world", says one of our expert panel members. German tennis star Angelique Kerber established herself as a new tennis power house by winning the 2016 Australian Open and US Open grand slams.

Despite keeping the title of the Land of Unbridled Opportunity, the United States of America is in the ninth position in 2016. The US demonstrated positive leadership by being a relatively early signatory of the Paris agreement in order to deal with greenhouse gases emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance starting in the year 2020. Continuing with the theme of the environment, the United States of America created the largest marine reserve on the planet, by expanding the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument off the coast of Hawaii to 582,578 square miles. The 2016 Rio Olympics will remain as one of the most memorable in recent history for the US, not only for securing the highest number of medals but also for the numerous inspiring stories that the athletes produced.

This is the first time Italy secured a spot in the list of most positive countries. In our global poll, Italy was highly praised for its welcoming attitude towards refugees. While speaking of Italy, delicious foods need to be mentioned, and on that note, Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy was named the Best Restaurant in the World for 2016. Italian researchers have shone on the global stage and as recognition to that Italian scientist Fabiola Gianotti became the first female Director-General at the CERN Laboratory in Geneva.

D+ Most Positive Regional Countries 2016

Africa: Kenya
In 2016 Kenya carried the flag for the African region despite recent economic and political turmoil. Kenya ranked seventh in the world on how effectively children can access the justice system to defend their rights, and was the only country outside of Europe to make it to the top ten. Kenya became the first African team to win a World Sevens Series rugby tournament outside Africa by winning the 2016 Singapore Sevens tournament. The government of Kenya recently announced a significant commitment to restore 5.1 million hectares of degraded and deforested landscapes by 2030.

Asia: Kuwait
Kuwait was the regional winner from Asia. Kuwait managed to maintain the highest level of positive diplomatic relationships with its neighbors and beyond. Kuwait discovered a new oil and gas field in the Western part of the country that is expected to provide a significant boost to the country's resource reserves. The Amir of Kuwait was recognized as the Humanitarian Leader by the United Nations for his support for the UN's humanitarian works.

Europe: Iceland
Iceland was named as the most positive regional country from Europe. Iceland ranked as the top most peaceful nation in the world in 2016. Their inspiring and uniting football team made history by playing their first ever match at a major tournament at the Euro 2016, and by making it through to their first ever quarter finals of the Euro football tournament.

North America: Cuba
Cuba is the only winner in 2016 which retained its regional title from last year. In 2016 Cuba further improved bilateral relationships with big economies such as the United States of America and the European Union. World leaders, from all over the world, the USA, China, Japan, among others, visited Cuba with a message of collaborative positive future. Further sanctions on Cuba were lifted to expand collaborations. These positive steps in the right direction helped Cuba welcome millions of tourists, up from the same periods last year.

South America: Colombia
Colombia was crowned as the regional winner from South America. This year Colombia presented the world one of the best ever messages of hope by signing a historic peace agreement with the country's largest armed group FARC, which is expected to end a 52 years of armed conflict. In recognition of such bold leadership shown to achieve peace, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2016. Along with these great achievements, young Colombian researchers and entrepreneurs impressed the world with their respective initiatives. 

This year 4179 global citizens participated in our global poll with 49% men and 51% women. This is the first time ever we had more women participants than men. In total 30% of our global poll participants from Africa, Asia and South America voted for a country that is outside of their own continent. It is observed that Africans endorsed the North Americans, Asians endorsed the South Americans and South Americans endorsed the Africans in 2016. On the other hand, North American and European participants endorsed themselves.

Figure 1: Africans endorsed the North Americans, Asians endorsed the South Americans and South Americans endorsed the Africans

The global poll result suggests that World Peace, International Relations, Economy, Science & Innovation, Education, Environment and Sports were the most popular choice of positive accomplishments among both men and women participants while voting for their positive countries. 

Figure 2: Popular topics of positive accomplishments among men and women

D+ continued to observe the trend on the percentage of people hopeful for positive future, primarily the immediate future, based on the comments made during its global polls since 2011. It is observed that people’s positive outlook continued to decline since 2013. Apparently, confronting stances between neighboring countries, spread of terrorism and racial discrimination were the three main root causes identified for such decline in 2016.

Figure 3: Percentage of people hopeful for Positive Future

Certainly it was an eventful year and positive initiatives not only came from the winners but also from the countries that could not make it to the list in 2016. Finland was crowned as the greenest country in the world, and retained its top spot at the media freedom index. Chile declared their presence as the top football power house in South America by winning their second Copa America title in two years. In a remarkable public health achievement, Sri Lanka was certified by the World Health Organization (WHO) on having eliminated malaria, a life-threatening disease which long affected the island country. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) dared to be different by announcing the creation of a Ministry of Happiness devoted to ensuring the happiness of its citizens, and also rightfully kept its title of "World’s Charity Capital".

"It is very encouraging to see increasing global interest for the D+ World's Most Positive Countries initiative despite all the ongoing negative events around us. It makes us ever more determined to bring you the very best of the world." says Dr. Arif Jubaer, Founder of D+. 

D+ will present the above information and facts in detail at a presentation ceremony on Friday, 25 November 2016, 5.30PM at the University of Melbourne, Australia.

For more information on the World’s Most Positive Countries 2016 visit