Interview: Kate Strachnyi

Kate Strachnyi

She Drives Data is honored to present to you our conversation with Kate Strachnyi. Kate is a data visualization expert and the author of several books like Data Literacy for Kids, Journey to Data Scientist: Interviews With More Than Twenty Amazing Data Scientists, The Disruptors: Data Science Leaders: Collective Biographies of Influential Leaders, etc. She is also the founder of Story by Data and DATAcated.

SDD: Kate a large part of your work involves educating and inspiring data enthusiasts.

Your work with Story by Data, Humans of Data Science and the book, The Disruptors: Data Science Leaders and Journey to Data Scientist shows your passion to give back to the community as you learn.

Can you tell us a bit about how you got interested in this field and your journey so far?

I became interested in the data analytics space in 2014, when my first daughter was born. I was working in risk management/ regulatory compliance consulting at that time; focused on financial services institutions. The work involved a hectic schedule (long hours/ unpredictable travel). I raised my hand for a new role; preferably a role that allows me to work remotely/ from home. 

I was able to find a role as an “Insights Strategy Manager” in the Chief Information Officer program. My responsibility was to take a large and complex data set and use Tableau Software to provide insights; or anything interesting to my target audience. This was my first introduction to this space and I’ve been learning something new about it every day ever since!

SDD: There are many women in our community who are interested in entering into the field of data science and almost all of them are keen to learn Tableau. 

As someone who has started their journey with Tableau and data visualization, and has put across incredible resources about it including a course in Udemy do you have any tips or advice for them?

I say just get started, don’t wait for permission or even a job opportunity to come your way. Other than time, there’s nothing stopping you from downloading the free (Public) version of Tableau and getting some data from the web and designing your own dashboards. There are several free resources on how to get started (YouTube is a great source).

I highly recommend MakeoverMonday as a way to learn. A new data set is published every week and you can build your version of the dashboard and share it on social media. Reviewing other people’s work and even downloading and trying to recreate them is a great way to learn as well.

You are currently in the process of writing two books “Mothers of Data Science” and “Data Literacy for Kids” which sounds incredibly interesting. The themes of both books are very dear to our community members. 

Can you tell us more about what inspired you to write these books?

Mothers of Data Science: Being a mother in data science, I wanted to show other women out there that this is a great career path. It has been very rewarding for me and has allowed me flexibility I haven’t received before. The book focuses on other mothers’ perspectives as well. I’m co-authoring this one with Kristen Kehrer. 

Data Literacy for Kids: I have 2 little girls and would love for them to understand data analytics, it is such an important part of our lives and should be taught to children; starting at ages 5-6. I want to help children learn more about data literacy and get them excited about the topic. I’m co-authoring this one with Jordon Morrow.

SDD: You have interviewed several leading men and women in the field of data science through your series Humans of Data Science. You wrote a book that shares the stories of data science leaders.

What is is the most common advice given by these leaders and what are some of the biggest lessons you learned from these conversations?

The most common advice given by these leaders is to choose a field or topic you are passionate about and the work will be easier. Don’t learn things for the sake of learning them. It doesn’t really matter which programming language you learn, as long as you understand the logic and focus on solving the business problem/ adding value.

SDD: What inspires you every day?

I’m inspired by the data community. I started being active in this community about two years ago and was excited to see how engaging and welcoming everyone was. It’s what keeps me coming back and interacting with the community – the people!

You can also read this interview on the SHEROES app here. While you are there, don’t forget to drop us a hello at the She Drives Data community on SHEROES! We would love to hear from you ❤️️