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Which Schools Give You the Best Chance of Getting a Job After College?

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Colleges that provide best job placement tableau hyper dashboard

By Jon Macmillan, Senior Data Analyst

Last week we shared a post by Zippia which highlighted the universities in each state with the top employment rate. The data they used was from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and since this data is publicly available, I thought it might be worth exploring to see if we could create a more interactive and exploratory dataset.

I started by looking at the College Scorecard, which derives a lot of its data from IPEDS, but also combines additional sources of information. The College Scorecard is designed to increase transparency, putting the power in the hands of the public, and I hope that is exactly what this dashboard does.

I downloaded the “Most Recent Data” and started to explore what information was available. The file contains over 1,800 columns for nearly 8,000 different institutions. While the data is easily available, it is not all that easy to navigate, so I turned to the data glossary to determine what variables would be most useful in my visualization and used Veera Construct to pull the file in and then do some data cleansing.

I found that the “Most Recent Data” file didn’t include a couple of important institutional characteristics, like the address information, location type, size, etc. I ended up downloading another College Scorecard dataset to merge it all together in Veera Construct. Additionally, the employment rate was not actually something immediately available in the College Scorecard data, so I had to use a transform node to create that field using both the number of students working and the number of students not working.

Finally, a lot of the variables had coded values. I had to cleanse the data in order for it to be used in the visualization effectively. I performed all of these operations within Veera Construct and output the data directly to a Tableau Hyper File.

The visualization is building upon what Zippia offered with some additional detail. You can select any state from the map in order to see all schools in that state and their associated employment rates. Additionally, in the bottom left panel it highlights the top school within the state and some other associated metrics.

For the most part my data lined up with Zippia’s analysis with some differences in California, Utah and a couple of others. Lebanon Valley College in Pennsylvania tops the list in both of our analyses with an employment rate of 96.19%. Not mentioned in Zippia’s analysis in PA is Susquehanna University, which actually ranks third across the nation with an employment rate of 95.63%. The issue with only looking at employment rate is that for some schools, like Xavier University of Louisiana, they show a 93.41% employment rate, however they have a 39.29% graduation rate, which is well below the national average for all institutions, 52.92%.

I hope you enjoy exploring the data.

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