All students pursuing the MS in Data Analytics & Visualization (DAV) are required to create a digital portfolio that must be approved by their faculty advisor before they are permitted to graduate. This portfolio presents exemplary samples of your work that collectively demonstrate your competence with the DAV program learning outcomes.
DAV portfolios serve two primary purposes:
- Capstone Assessment
Academically, your portfolio demonstrates you have achieved the program’s learning outcomes, shows evidence of your individual learning and growth, and provides you with an opportunity to reflect on your educational experience throughout your time at Pratt.
- Professional Readiness
Professionally, your portfolio signals your readiness to enter the data professions, shows proof of your knowledge, skills and abilities, and showcases your best work to potential employers and other members of the data community.
In order to graduate on time, students must submit their portfolio by the following dates:
When ready, submit your portfolio to your advisor through the DAV Portfolio Submission Form. Revisions may be required before the end of your final semester.
Since there are many different timelines for completing the program, we are unable to provide a specific schedule of the steps you should take to complete your portfolio. However, here is a general recommended timeline:
- First Semester - Meet with your faculty advisor to discuss career goals and start planning your program of study. As you select courses, consult this table illustrating which courses supply portfolio projects based on syllabi analysis, and this table based on actual portfolio submissions.
- Intermediate Semesters - Sign up for a DAV portfolio workshop (workshop schedules are announced at the start of each semester) and begin crafting your portfolio. As you complete projects, add them to your portfolio and revise it as needed.
- Final Semester - Meet with your advisor (as early as possible) to finalize plans for submitting your portfolio. Complete your portfolio and submit it by the appropriate deadline (see above).
Your faculty advisor guides you through the process and assesses your portfolio using the DAV Portfolio Assessment Rubric (PDF). The rubric describes three levels of the program-level learning outcomes:
- Needs Work
For each outcome, your advisor will review your portfolio and determine which level is appropriate. To satisfy the portfolio requirement, students must achieve at least “Competent” on all outcomes.
If one or more outcomes do not meet the level of "Competent," your advisor will contact you with more detailed feedback and will work with you to strengthen the areas that need additional work.
Content Guidelines and Tips
We encourage you to think of your portfolio as a vehicle for creatively expressing your achievements and learning experiences from the program, presenting your most innovative thinking, and demonstrating your professional skill-set.
Generally speaking, DAV portfolios should contain between 4–7 projects. As a whole, your portfolio should be composed of the best and most relevant work to your academic path and career goals. You are encouraged to include projects completed both within class and outside of class (if applicable). If you received feedback on the project from your professor or project supervisor, you are encouraged to make revisions before including the work in your portfolio.
In general, you should consider a range of projects that highlight different skills with data. These might include:
- a data cleaning project that shows your ability to gather and manipulate data around some questions(s)
- a data storytelling example that makes data come alive through visuals and narrative
- an explanatory post that walks the reader through an analytical approach and present results in a broadly accessible manner
- an end-to-end project that shows your ability to work across the full lifecycle of a data-driven project
- a thought piece that shows your engagement with issues and trends in the field
Your project selection should be tailored to your professional interests and aspirant positions. For example, if you plan to apply to jobs in data visualization, you should focus on work demonstrating front-end development of interfaces using relevant tools and coding languages. If you plan to apply to data analyst positions, you should include more projects that highlight your research and analytical skills and related technologies.
Do all the projects have to come from my Pratt classes?
It is expected that you include projects from your Pratt coursework, but you may also include projects that were completed as part of the Practicum course, independent studies, standalone projects, or internships completed while you were enrolled at Pratt.
Can I include projects from before I enrolled at Pratt?
Students should strive to provide the most recent projects in order to provide the most accurate picture of their current skills and abilities. For this reason, we do not recommend including projects you completed prior to enrolling at Pratt. Please speak to your advisor if you wish to include a previous project in your portfolio.
Can we use group projects in my portfolio?
Yes. If you are including a group project, clearly indicate your role on the project.
Can I use a project from my final semester in my portfolio?
Yes, but only if the project is complete (or near complete) by the portfolio submission deadline. If you wish to use a final semester project, you should discuss it with your faculty advisor.
The exact format, organization, and presentation of portfolio work will vary by student and by project, but as a general rule all work should include the following four components:
- State the Problem
Briefly explain the problem that the project was addressing and your role on the project. Identify the key stakeholders and what will determine the project’s success. What challenges made this problem unique? Were there any external factors influencing this project (e.g., timeframe, resources, special requests, etc.)?
- Define Your Approach
Describe how you attempted to solve this problem. What were the first steps of your problem-solving process? How did you try to understand the problem? What did you know about the problem going in? What research did you conduct (if any) and what did you learn from that research that would inform your solution(s)?
- Document Your Steps
Briefly walk the reader through the steps you took to address the problem. How did you reach your result(s)? How did you involve users or incorporate user feedback? Were there any unique or unexpected problems you needed to solve along the way?
- Present Your Products
Show off your final deliverable(s). Where did the project succeed? Do you have any evidence (feedback from stakeholders, users, professors, etc.) that can show you were successful? What did you learn from doing the project? Would you have done anything differently?
When presenting work, the goal should be to show, not tell, what you did and how you did it, which means that visual content (photos, screenshots, graphics, etc.) should drive the narrative and textual content should be used sparingly. Some additional tips:
- Write succinctly. Make sure you cover the important details, but aim to have your text easily scannable. Proofreading is an absolute must.
- Provide context. Not all readers will be familiar with the subject matter and methods you’re using. Be sure to provide enough background for them to understand your project.
- Show everything. Don’t just show your polished products. Show images of anything that helped you reach your goal: datasets, spreadsheets, code, design examples, sketches, documentation, etc.
- Tell your story. You’ll work on a lot of different things in your career, but consider tailoring your portfolio to your strengths or interests.
CRAFTING YOUR IDENTITY
Your portfolio is not just a platform for your work, it also shows who you are and what you bring to the table as a data professional. Thus, in addition to case studies you should also paint a picture of yourself in terms of:
- Your Professional Identity.
Write a tagline or a motto that represents who are you (and who you want to be) as a data professional. Present yourself in terms of the type of work do you want to do and what interests or excites you about the field. Show your credentials and experience by providing a PDF of your resume.
- Your Personal Identity.
Include a professional-quality photograph and include a brief biographical sketch to explain who you are and where you came from. Give a sense of who you are as a person; show some of your personality (e.g., present some of your hobbies or interests).
Platforms and Hosting
Your DAV portfolio must be a website, preferably publicly accessible but at minimum accessible by your advisor (i.e., via a password or private sharing link).
There are many benefits to making your portfolio public, including your ability to showcase your work to potential employers. If you’re not sure whether to make it public or not, you should discuss this matter with your faculty advisor.
SELECTING A PLATFORM
There are dozens of hosting options available for your portfolio, and it’s important to find one that matches your needs. Three dimensions to consider are:
- Ease of use. You should not have to worry about figuring out the technical details of your portfolio platform. Pick something that has an easy learning curve and is going to be easy to use and easy to maintain.
- Customization. Your platform should give you flexible options in terms of layout and appearance, so make sure it allows you to customize it to suit your style.
- Price. Make sure you’re not paying too much for what you’re getting. Almost every platform or hosting providing has student discounts or special prices for educational users, so be sure to look for these before you sign up.
One of the most common approaches is to use an all-in-one hosting platform. All-in-one platforms provide both web hosting space, a custom content management system, and cloud-based design tools (usually with templates). Many of these sites also provide a custom domain name. Here are some popular all-in-one platforms:
- Squarespace: $6/month with student discount
- Adobe Portfolio: $9.99/month (includes Photoshop)
- Wix: $5/month (includes ads; $11/month to remove ads)
- Weebly: $4/month (includes ads; $8/month to remove ads)
Another approach is to use a standard web hosting service. Web hosting services offer the most flexibility because they allow for the use of any popular content content management system (e.g., Wordpress, Drupal, etc.) or a custom-built option. There are dozens of web hosting services available (SI faculty use DreamHost, BlueHost, Deluxe Hosting, and WebFaction, to name a few) and most of them offer one-time or student discounts, so do your research before signing up for one of them.
Should I code my own portfolio website?
If your goal is to pursue a career in development or data roles that focus on programming, you should consider coding your own portfolio website (either from scratch or by using a framework like Bootstrap). At minimum, you should consider creating a GitHub repository for code that you have developed during your coursework, and you might consider hosting your entire portfolio on GitHub (see further reading below).
What should my domain name be?
Most professionals use their name as their portfolio URL, but this is not required. Your domain name is part of your professional identity, so choose it carefully and make sure it’s something you’ll be able to live with for a few years.