E51: How to Solve Any Data Analytics Error You Face...

podcast episodes Mar 18, 2023


Use this 10-point guide to help solve the next bug or error you face...

Let's face it; data analytics can be a real pain in the spreadsheet sometimes.

You spend hours analyzing data, writing code, and crafting reports, only to have one mystery bug stop your work from progressing. 

A bug is an error, flaw, or defect in the process that prevents it from functioning as intended. 

But hey, that's just part of the fun, right?

As a data analyst, you're bound to encounter bugs, glitches, and headaches along the way, but don't let them get the best of you.

Remember, data analytics is not for the faint of heart but for those willing to roll up their sleeves and dig deep to find the insights that matter. 

So let's talk about how to solve them!

But first, let's talk about what NOT to do. 

 What Not To Do: 

❌ You can't just say, "I'm stuck with SQL." Make it as specific as possible with as many details as you can. 

And remember this, when it comes to requesting help, it's better to error on oversharing vs. undersharing. Okay?

This means comments like this are UNACCEPTABLE

  • "This is not working right for me. I am not sure what I am doing wrong."
  • "Why is mine different?"
  • "I couldn't figure this out."

You need to give more details. Always add more details. 

A good rule of thumb is your ask for help isn't acceptable if you haven't:

  1. Copy + Pasted An Error
  2. Written More Than 3 Sentences 
  3. Tried to Solve On Your Own 

So let's now focus on what to do. I'll show you my 10-step guide for solving ANY data problem.

The 10-Step Guide To Debbugging a Data Error 

1) Copy & Paste The Error Message

Copy and paste the error message. Error messages are the most helpful thing to start the troubleshooting process. Often, if you Google the exact error, you'll find an answer.

Sometimes a peer can diagnose a problem with just the error message

2) Do a Search

Make sure you've searched on Google or ChatGPT. Most errors have been encountered before, & there's something online to help you solve them.

Make sure you've Googled the actual error.

Make sure you've Google the error in your own words

3) Double Check The Little Stuff 

Double-check parenthesis, semi-colons, commas, slashes & indentations. The majority of coding errors are syntax related.

Ask yourself:

  • Do you have a semi-colon everywhere?
  • Do all your parenthesis close?
  • Are your indents all where they should be?

4) Rubber Duck It!

In programming, there's something called The Rubber Duck Theory that is used to fix bugs.

Basically, you just get a Rubber Duck & explain to it what you're doing, step-by-step.

This helps you think through the entire process line-by-line in fundamental terms. 

Pretend the duck knows nothing. You have to explain everything from scratch. 

Somehow, that little rubber duck figures out what's wrong & will tell you!

Or maybe you'll tell yourself...hard to know in this case! 

5) Check The Documentation

Check the documentation. Most tools & software provide some sort of documentation or help guide.

These are basically the instruction manual for the software or tool.

Sometimes, these will help you see what is going incorrectly.

Other times, the tool will have an online community you can search.

If there's no prior evidence of the problem, maybe you can pose the bug in the forum?

We'll go through best practices in steps 5 through 

6) Turn It Off

Sometimes in order to fix your error, you just need to start from a blank slate or turn off the window, and reload it. 

Occasionally, software and tools get in a state of "stuck," and there's nothing we can do but exit, give it a second to breathe, and then pick back up.

Or sometimes, we've done something to the settings that we didn't even realize, and trying on a new file and suddenly our problem disappears! 

7) Do Something Else

Sometimes the best way to solve a bug is by walking away. Maybe that means going for a walk. Perhaps that means going to bed.

Maybe that means working on something else and coming back to this. Perhaps that means it's time for lunch or even time for a nap.

It's really easy to waste hours just sitting there & yell at your computer in frustration. Don't let that happen. Come back to this later. 

8) Prove a Screenshot

If you've done steps 1 through 4, it's time for more extensive measures. We need help.

This means we need to ask someone else. This person we ask could be a few different people:

  • A co-worker or peer
  • A boss or mentor
  • An internet forum 

And that's the order I would probably ask them in! 

So that means it's time to take a screenshot and share it.

Including a broad screenshot gives context clues that would take forever to type out.

What's the entire query, what IDE are you using, what OS, ect?

A picture is worth 1,000 words 🏞️

9) Explain your Systems

Sometimes tutorials are written with a different version of the software.

Be sure to point out what software version you're using and what computer operating system you're using.

Also, explain if you are on Windows or Mac.

There are differences between the two & that can be helpful.

10) Say Thank You

Be sure to be kind and say thank you.

The tech community is an excellent place where if you ask a question, a bunch of strangers may help you.

Be sure to thank them & pass it forward when someone asks you for help! 

You can listen to the FULL episode here 👇

Apple: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/51-how-to-solve-any-data-analytics-error-you-face/id1547386535?i=1000605437141

Spotify: https://spotifyanchor-web.app.link/e/BXoQ0VU1oyb


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