Amarendranath (Amar) Reddy Donthala ’17 (M.S.) is a storyteller. “I enjoy the opportunity to express myself creatively,” he says. But instead of using words, this former computer programmer from Hyderabad, India, weaves his narratives with data.
While earning his Master’s of Science in business intelligence & analytics (MSBI) at Saint Joseph’s, Donthala became enamored with data visualization. During a data mining class, he was introduced to interactive data visualization software Tableau and became hooked.
“Using data to tell stories, to convey meaningful information visually, is fun,” he says, adding that on any given day he has 30 or more Tableau dashboards going — whether for class projects or for fun. “But there’s also pressure attached when you are working with real data, which makes it challenging. Accuracy is key.”
At the invitation of fellow business intelligence student Corey Jones ’16, now a Tableau ambassador and associate financial analyst for Johnson & Johnson, Donthala joined the SJU Tableau user group. He began participating in the program’s “MakeOverMonday” challenge, which invites participants to represent a set of data in a new, more creative or compelling way. Combining his computer design skills and new affection for data visualization, Donthala even designed the international event’s logo.
With three other students, he started a Tableau clinic offering drop-in sessions on campus for anyone looking for help with data visualizations.
After graduation, Donthala will turn his passion into a career as a data visualization analyst for Comcast, working with Tableau.
“I am looking forward to the challenge, and to continuing to master data visualization techniques,” he says. “I think data is the future, and I hope I can make a name for myself in the industry.”