Office of Data and Analytics

OpEx Academy

Ready to get excellent?

As Charlotte keeps growing, so do its opportunities and challenges. That's where data comes in. It can help us understand the community we serve and reveal better ways to solve problems and make decisions. The OpEx Academy is a robust training program for City staff that can help you discover the value of data, what it means and how it can lead to collaborative and creative solutions.


Creating Spatial Metad​ata

Metadata, or information that describes data, is arguably the most important component of any data source.  Metadata can provide end users with vital information that will allow them to understand the data they are using, and utilize and interpret those data appropriately. In this course, participants will learn how to create metadata for spatial data in ArcGIS and ArcGIS Online.  The training will equip metadata-creators with the knowledge and skills needed to comply with the City of Charlotte’s metadata standard. People who use your data will love you forever.

Participants must have working knowledge of ArcGIS Catalog and ArcMap. Familiarity with ArcGIS Online is helpful.

Excel Tools: Summarizing Data

This course addresses one of the most basic challenges we face today: making sense of the data we already have with the tools we already use. Being able to quickly and efficiently summarize, visualize, and analyze data is essential to making better business decisions. Using Excel and relevant examples with City of Charlotte data, participants will learn how to summarize and display data to extract actionable information quickly and accurately.


Data Use, Misuse, and Abuse

Data help us measure and explain the world around us. Become a detective and learn how these data can be used – or misused – in statements to get the writer’s point across. Learn the basics on deciphering and formulating statements that present data in clear, meaningful ways, and how small changes can be deceptive.

Open Source GIS: A Hands-on Intro to QGIS

Quantum GIS (QGIS) is an open source Geographic Information System that has comparable functionality to other non-open source GIS options.  This class is a comprehensive and hands-on introduction to QGIS.  Using relevant examples with City of Charlotte data, participants will gain skills working with QGIS software, and will be introduced to training and resources to continue learning after the course.

Cartography Basics

Creating an attractive and informative map is essential when communicating with spatial data.  ArcGIS is a powerful mapping software that allows users to create both attractive and informative maps.  However, users must understand the importance of knowing the audience, map projections, data, accuracy vs. precision, and principles of design.  With the information provided in this course, participants will learn basics of map-making and the ability to make maps that are cartographically correct and visually attractive. 

Interactive Intro to Writing SQL Queries

Structured Query Language (SQL) is a standard language used to manipulate data in a relational database.  This training course will introduce the fundamentals of SQL, the structure of a SQL query, and allow a user to work with data in a database server. Want more control over your data and more options then Excel?  With the basic skills learned in this course, users will be able to restructure, filter, sort, pivot, and aggregate data using SQL.

Data Viz 101: Telling Your Data’s Story

Which chart should you use when? It all depends on the story you want to tell, and what you want your audience to learn when they are looking at your data. This half-day course will cover key concepts in creating visually-compelling visualizations to communicate the story in your data. Participants will learn a simple, 4-step workflow and will practice making stunning data visualizations in Excel.

Tableau for Spatial Analysis

Tableau is a Business Intelligence (BI) tool  used to create dynamic data visualizations that provide powerful insights to business questions.  With Tableau, users can quickly and efficiently create charts, graphs, and dashboards.  This training course will outline how to use spatial data from geodatabases and shapefiles to perform spatial analysis, create dashboards featuring maps, and query data based on geographies.  Would you like to enhance your spatial data and allow end users to consume your data, while interacting with filterable maps and tables?  With the information provided in this course, users will be able to create dynamic worksheets and dashboards using spatial data.

Participants should have familiarity with the Tableau software.

Automation & Basic Programming with Python

In an increasing digital world, we often find ourselves completing tasks over and over again. Whether it is moving files from one directory to another, reformatting incoming data, running analyses, or generating reports, a lot of what we do is repetitive. Rather than manually completing these tasks, why not automate them? Python is a free, simple, and easy to learn scripting language that can help automate these tasks with little experience.  In this course, you’ll get exposed to the concepts of programming, programming languages and the essentials for how to read and write in python. By the end of the course, you will be able to talk intelligently about Python and its components, write basic scripts, and have the tools to learn more of the language on your own.

Note that this course is a 2-part series; please register for both course segments.

Your Creative Genius

What is creativity?  What is innovation?  Through a series of facilitated exercises intermixed with some amazing powerpoint slides, we will begin the process of understanding the creative genius in all of us and bring him/her to the surface.

Dimensional Modeling

Dimensional data models are at the heart of analytical and data warehouse systems. Dimensionally organized data provide a more effective and adaptable solution to many business analytics needs. This introductory course will cover fundamental analytical modeling concepts and provide a hands-on environment for you to explore and develop solutions for your own analytical needs.

Participants are asked to have familiarity with relational databases and how to join tables. Knowledge of Microsoft Excel and pivot tables is required.

Lean 101: One Day to Better Government

Have you ever wanted to change the way your workplace operates but didn’t know where to begin? Wish you could clear the obstacles in your daily work or reduce bureaucracy for your customers? This training will introduce you to a range of Lean methods and process improvement tools that can help you rapidly improve the work you do every day. Participants will gain insight into their work through observation, process visualization, and measurement, and will learn how to translate those insights into concrete plans for improvement. You’re the expert on improving your own department’s processes – this training will equip you with the tools to do it!  

Tableau Dashboard Dos & Don’ts

Tableau is a Business Intelligence (BI) tool used to create dynamic data visualizations that provide powerful insights to business questions.  With Tableau, users can quickly and efficiently create charts, graphs, and dashboards with little or no coding.  This training course will outline best practices for creating compelling dashboards, storytelling with data, minimizing congestion/white space and deploying the right visualization depending on the data type.  With the information provided in this course, users will learn design principles and best practices for data visualization, and gain confidence when building dashboards and storyboards.

Participants should have familiarity with the Tableau software.

Survey Statistics for Decision-Making

Surveys are a powerful tool for public engagement and program measurement.  This course is designed to help survey designers formulate questions, understand the abilities and responsibilities of using survey statistics, and harness the results for effective communication and policy development.

Note that this course is a 2-part series; please register for both course segments.

Putting Your Data to Work: Data Analytics for Everyone

You’ve heard we need to be more data-driven, but what does that mean? And how do we do it? We’ve got you covered! This full-day course introduces participants to the concepts of data-fueled decision-making and problem-solving with data. You’ll learn how to better use data for assessment, evaluation, engagement, and continuous improvement, and will be introduced to a range of tools and techniques to put your data to work for you.


OpEx course registration

Space is limited – reserve your seats now! You can register for OpEx courses through the City’s MySuccess platform. In the Find Learning search box, type ‘opex’ and hit enter. This will bring up a list of the 15 courses described below. Click on each course of interest and follow the directions to register. 

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