I was at the first data hack on the 26th of January. Around 25 people, a mix of academics, data professionals and charity workers, came to the event. Amy Evans, data and finance coordinator from Roundabout, was at the event to explain the data that we were going to work on and what Roundabout was trying to understand about their data. I cannot provide details about the data due to data protection regulations, but what struck me the most was the atmosphere and the energy on display by everyone present, and I was not the only one who thought so. Another participant, Stuart Bolton, said about the event: “A really great day and I was bowled over by the enthusiasm and energy of everyone, as much as by the technical skills and insights we developed.”
One surprise of the event was finding Sarah Miller helping organise the event. Sarah is a recent graduate from the MSc Data Science programme and currently works as BI developer for Jet2. She said the following about her experience with Data for Good: “Helping to organise the data hack allowed me to use the skills I had been learning on the MSc Data Science course, in a real world situation. The hack and working with Data 4 Good has been such a wonderful experience, the people are welcoming, supportive, and inspiring to work with, it’s great to be part of Sheffield’s growing data community.”
I found the experience great. We were all using different tools and techniques, which taught me many useful things. We did three one hour coding sprints, coming back to discuss what we have found and what we could do on the next round. My research background is in chemistry and computer science, so this was the first time I worked on personal data. It was a big challenge, and I will not complain as much about chemical data going forward!
Roundabout was very grateful for all the insights we provided. Amy said: “The Data Hack was such a valuable day for us. It helped us to see where we can make some changes to our datasets going forward to help us to demonstrate the impact we are having with young people in South Yorkshire, as well as confirming to us that our strengths lie in helping young people to maintain tenancies and maximise their income. We look forward to continuing to work with Data For Good in the future.”
Written by Dr Antonio de la Vega de Leon, Lecturer in Chemoinformatics