A discussion on best practices for greater productivity

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Excel is one of the most frequently used application for data analysis. However, due to its clear limitations (i.e. performance, row and column limits), it may not be sufficient to cope with modern demands. Python fanatics have often recommended using the pandas library as an alternative to Excel to automate/speed-up data analysis. However, it may not necessarily lead to time savings if one is not familiar with the library and some of the best practices. This article aims to highlight some of the challenges in data analysis using Excel and how the…


…with a comprehensive data reconciliation script.

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4 years ago, I was involved in a data migration project and was part of a business department within a global financial institution. The business department needed to complete the reconciliation within 4 hours and provide sign-off for project go-live. I had started dabbling with python slightly before this project and had merely heard of the pandas library back then.

The task sounds simple:

Ensure that all the records are migrated correctly.

But as with all tasks, there is usually an if statement and a clause that follows.

If any of the records do not match, generate a report of…


And why you should perhaps start using pandas

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VLOOKUP is a basic Excel function that anyone required to match data across 2 tables is likely to use it. Perhaps even more amazing is the fact that some websites show resume samples of how to include the vlookup function in your resume. While there are many articles that write about how to use this function, some could be incomplete, outdated or shows a lack of depth. This article aims highlight the limitations in the vlookup function which are commonly overlooked, and then show some innovative hacks to overcome some of these limitations.

Vlookup is a built-in function in Excel…


And probably save some expense on HR tools for your firm

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As a big-fan of automation, it pains me to see fellow colleagues doing work which is repetitive and excruciatingly manual. A request came to me from HR asking if I could encrypt a bunch of PDFs, then send them via email to individual recipients. I had a pretty good idea of what these letters could be as it was the time of the year and we were looking forward to our bonus and increment letter. …


Performing a breadth first search in python and optimizing the solution

Traversing a search tree. Image by the author.

I was watching a sequel of a Hong Kong drama series (使徒行者3) and one of the lead actresses was featured to be playing a Klotzli puzzle (华容道). That got me intrigued as I love solving puzzles and specifically, I enjoy finding the optimal solution for puzzles.

With some effort, I managed to find a similar game on Google Play Store, downloaded it, and started playing. The objective of the game is simple: move the 2x2 block out from the bottom of the frame. Turns out the game is really complicated and not that easily solvable, and finding the optimal solution…


A productivity tool to Marie Kondo your folders

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Can you create a list of files, folders, and subfolders for our project folder?

This request looks deceptively simple, but you can already imagine the n other modifications that may come once the first version of this list is done.

Can you also list the files types and add hyperlinks to the file? And maybe add the file size while you’re at it?

Depending on the size of the folder, number of files and how nested it might be, you could have chosen to complete this task manually as adding new fields might be simple. Now, let’s consider another request:

Ji Wei Liew

learnt python the hard way to automate the boring stuff

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