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GUIDED PROJECTS: Build Skills by Solving Real Business Problems

4 min readView all articles
By Chris Dutton
Nov 7, 2023

We're in the midst of some exciting times here at Maven Analytics!

We just wrapped our first-ever Open Campus event, kicked off our annual Black Friday sale, and just launched a brand new Google Sheets course to help everyday people build core data literacy skills.

On top of that, I'm excited to introduce a brand new addition to the Maven platform and one of our biggest updates of the year: Guided Projects!

What are Guided Projects?

Guided Projects are the newest way to build, sharpen, and apply your data skills by solving real business problems.

Unlike our self-paced courses and comprehensive learning paths, Guided Projects give you modular, bite-sized opportunities to test and apply your knowledge to specific use cases.

With Guided Projects, your goal is to solve a pre-defined series of tasks and objectives, designed to simulate the exact types of problems that data professionals encounter on the job.

Projects range from basic to advanced, feature tools like Excel, MySQL, Power BI, Tableau and Python, and cover topics spanning HR, transportation, hospitality, retail, government, and more (with new projects launching monthly!).

Why do Guided Projects matter?

We've always believed in the power of practical, project-based learning, and Guided Projects give us yet another valuable resource to offer our students.

Our instructor team will be producing new projects monthly, allowing us to deliver fresh, relevant, and high-quality content faster than ever before. We also plan to integrate Guided Projects into our existing learning paths and personalized plans, to encourage a healthy balance of skill development and application.

We're confident that this is a game-changer for aspiring, upskilling and reskilling data professionals, for a few key reasons:

1. Exposure to real business problems

If you want to build real-world data skills, you need real-world practice.

That means rolling up your sleeves and working on the same problems that real analysts and data scientists tackle every day, from data visualization and dashboard design to exploratory analysis and predictive modeling.

Instead of working through oversimplified and highly conceptual demos and tutorials, Guided Projects simulate what it's like working on real projects, with real, unfiltered data.

You'll get exposure to a broad range of projects and case studies, and build confidence breaking down and solving even the most complex tasks – without an expert holding your hand every step of the way.

2. Focus on applied learning

Binge-watching online tutorials might make you feel productive, but it's not an effective way to learn. When you chase credentials or jump from course to course without pausing to practice, you are essentially cramming information into short-term memory.

Active learning requires spaced repetition and hands-on, applied practice. This is critical for building intuition, solidifying your knowledge base, and combatting the dreaded "forgetting curve" (use it or lose it, as they say).

Instead of memorizing code or mindlessly replicating steps on the screen, Guided Projects are designed to put your skills to the test outside the comfort zone of an instructor-led course.

3. Targeted practice opportunities

At Maven Analytics, we take pride in developing some of the highest-quality, most comprehensive courses and learning paths in the world. This is great news for students looking to build a deep, foundational skill set, but not ideal for those who need quicker, more focused ways to stay sharp.

Guided Projects help fill the gap, providing a brand new opportunity for Maven students to test and sharpen their skills without combing through long-form courses. Projects are completely modular, and typically take anywhere from ~30 minutes to 2 hours to complete, depending on the topic and difficulty level.

This is also good news for those preparing for niche roles or seeking more specialized training. As we continue to build our Guided Project library, we plan to include content relevant to a broad range of industries, verticals and roles (i.e. marketing analytics, HR, supply chain, finance, product, etc.).

4. Ready-made portfolio projects

If you are looking to launch or accelerate your data career, building a professional-quality project portfolio is critical.

For those who may not have professional experience to draw from, Guided Projects provide an amazing library of ready-made projects to help you create or grow your portfolio (which you can conveniently build and share through Maven Showcase).

Instead of listing skills as bullet points on a resume, project portfolios allow you to actually prove what you're capable of, and showcase those skills to peers and employers around the world.

5. Customizable user experience

As a leading online learning platform, one of our top priorities is to build content that is accessible and approachable to learners of all ability levels.

With this in mind, we will be developing Guided Projects suitable for novices and experts alike, from non-analysts looking to learn basic data literacy skills to seasoned data scientists and machine learning engineers.

Users can also adjust the level of difficulty, by either working through tasks independently or reviewing hints and instructor-led solution videos for a more guided experience. This allows us to create challenging, open-ended tasks, while providing a safety net for those who need it.

How to Access Guided Projects

Guided Projects are available on all Maven Analytics plans, but Free users will only have access to a subset of projects. Pro users have access to the entire library, along with all courses, assessments and learning paths.

To explore Guided Projects, log-in and navigate to Data Playground > Guided Projects:

Guided Projects 16:9 Screenshot

Ready to build practical, job-ready data skills?

Create your personalized learning plan today, and save up to 50% when you upgrade to a Pro account.

This is a limited-time deal, so make sure you take advantage of the savings!




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Chris Dutton

Chris is an EdTech entrepreneur and best-selling Data Analytics instructor. As Founder and Chief Product Officer at Maven Analytics, his work has been featured by USA Today, Business Insider, Entrepreneur and the New York Times, reaching more than 1,000,000 students around the world.

Chris is an EdTech entrepreneur and best-selling Data Analytics instructor. As Founder and Chief Product Officer at Maven Analytics, his work has been featured by USA Today, Business Insider, Entrepreneur and the New York Times, reaching more than 1,000,000 students around the world.

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