Checking out Google’s new Data Studio certification
I was working on another DataStudio article for today, but I made the schoolboy error of failing to save and a crash cost me half an article. Then an email came through telling me that there was a new certification, and here we are
The short course begins – as you would expect – with an introduction to DataStudio, with explanations of the function tool, of data sets and connectors. This is all within the ‘Welcome to DataStudio’ sections 1.1 and 1.2 which provides more of an overview of the tool than any actionable advice. Section 1.3 gives some information on sharing and various access types which could be useful for new users.
To earn the certification, you’ll need to pass the mini assessments in each of the four main sections: Welcome to DataStudio, Navigate DataStudio, Build your first report, and Format and Design Reports.
Welcome to DataStudio
As mentioned, the first section is a top level overview of the tool, with a lot of information on techniques and elements that you may already use – but defined properly and explained as a function of the product. While section 1 might not blow your mind, there is a lot to pick up in terms of the way the tool works.
The first of the assessments is pretty much evenly split between things that are common sense and a few things which ask you to put appropriate names to things you may have used without realising. The latter includes a question which asks you to define the flow of data – with ‘magic’ not an option.
The second section begins an interactive walkthrough, which first takes you through the various elements of the home page – again, things you may already have used, but with some navigation tips that will help new users find their way around. It also pointed out the existence of ‘Explorer’ – which I’d not spotted before and, according to the accompanying text box, serves as a “temporary scratchpad where you can edit visualizations and filter data for quick insights”.
The main surprise in section 2.2 is that Google has assumed that people connect their data source then create a report from there – while I’ve previously created the report and connected the appropriate source once I was drawing tables; however, Google’s demo makes perfect sense if you’re using a single source.
2.3 is a quick run through a template report as you would if you only had viewing positions – while there’s not a great deal in this section for anyone using it regularly, it’s again a good resource for a new user.
2.4 will, again, offer few surprises – but does run through all of the various formatting options for the charts and report itself.
Overall, section 2 offers little new information – but would make an ideal overview for anyone with whom you want to share a report. It covers a lot of the basics of navigation and use and would be ideal for client introductions or new users.
Build your first report
Section three is another series of interactive walkthroughs – with 3.1 beginning with connecting your data source before moving on to editing the source and adding a second. It does, however, give a run through creating a calculated metric in an easy to understand manner – making the section well worth a run through.
The next section is a useful run through the creation of charts and various styling (something I struggle with – I try to make them look nice, but they only ever tend to look blue).
3.3 deals with the addition of date controls – something I’ve not got around to doing as I tend to use data sources which would be incompatible, but the ease of the tutorial has got me wondering if there’s a way around it.
Sharing the report comes next, and is one of the shorter and simpler walkthroughs so far – while much of the information has been covered, in section one, seeing the sharing types and permissions in action is useful.
Format and Design Reports
While section 4 doesn’t have the interactive walkthrough, the information in 4.1 is probably some of the most important in the module – giving information on what you should look to achieve with data visualisation and how to go about properly using colour and theme.
Overall, the course from start to finish is an excellent primer for the use of DataStudio and, while it doesn’t deliver anything especially groundbreaking, it’s a worthwhile introduction for any new users of the tool. You can also check out our DataStudio eBook if you want a few more pointers.
There’ll be a blog on DataStudio and adding manually maintained tables to reports at some point (when I rewrite it), so why not sign up for the blog to keep up to date? Or contact us to see what we can do for you.