The City of Durham’s Data Academy, managed by Technology Solutions’ Data Analytics Services division, provides training for City and County employees hoping to advance their data analytics skills. Established three years ago, the Data Academy has grown to offer seven in-person trainings and dozens of online trainings. (Please note that during the COVID-19 pandemic our in-person trainings were offered over videoconferencing technologies.)
The in-person trainings are aimed at beginner and intermediate level data users. They include basic data literacy and critical thinking trainings as well as tool specific trainings on Power BI and WebGIS. Our online offerings, delivered through Data Camp, allow high level data users to receive advanced training in a wide array of tools, languages, and methods. Combined, our in-person and online trainings have attracted over 500 (and counting) City and County participants.
Data Governance and Analytics
The City’s Technology Solutions Department leads our data governance and analytics efforts through multiple avenues. Our core structured data is stored and maintained through our Technology Solutions administered databases. This portion of our work (administration of and standards around structured data) is mature and reflected in our ongoing KTLO work.
In the realm of analytics, Technology Solutions provides direct assistance on data-related projects, processes, and questions for the enterprise. This includes large-scale one-time projects (like the City’s first ever General Business Survey), participation in crucial initiatives driven by the City Council (including piloting a Guaranteed Income program), and providing technical assistance in ongoing and innovative processes (including piloting methods by which the City can send 911 calls related to mental health to appropriate mental respondents).
As always, we are continuing to push at the frontiers of data governance through multiple avenues. This fiscal year, Technology Solutions will be introducing a data governance policy for the City to formalize City-wide standards. Additionally, we will be writing a business case (to be sent through the City’s IT Governance process) for the adoption of an enterprise-wide Data Governance platform. Jointly, these efforts would mean that: (a) the City’s data governance standards are enshrined in policy; (b) the City is able to have granular visibility into all of its unstructured and structured data; and (c) the City can set broad access controls, implement privacy techniques (including masking sensitive structured data), and allow departments greater insight data while ensuring compliance with policy.