Improve your data literacy skills today

September 4, 2023 - Royal Canadian Navy
By A/SLt Lauren Froats DIDN3-3-1 (Digital Solutions Strategic Communicator)


Sailor 1st Class Anton Parker works in the machinery control room of HMCS Vancouver during its current deployment in the Indo-Pacific region. (David Common/CBC)

When I joined the Royal Canadian Naval Reserves (RCNR) in 2021, I wasn’t aware of the variety of work available, especially the opportunities that were not directly tied to my defined occupational training. Advertisements for those sorts of jobs can be found in the Reserve Employment Opportunities (REO) database; a place where jobs are highlighted to naval reservists and available in various establishments across the country.

This is where I found my current job working with the Digital Navy, a job that has improved my digital literacy skills. These skills, as it turns out, are increasingly sought after and demanded by all levels of leadership. I eagerly jumped at the chance to actively contribute to the navy’s digital transformation. It is after all, a key enabler to Commander Royal Canadian Navy’s most recent Direction & Guidance.

Working with data wasn’t on my radar at first coming from a background in Literature. Now I am enjoying the opportunity to explore and share what the Digital Navy, specifically the Digital Solutions section, is up to. In an ever-changing technological environment, I’m grateful that I can develop new skills, preparing me for a variety of challenges, and I get to share some insights along the way.

You don’t have to join the Digital Navy to benefit from digital enablement. Working with the Digital Navy team has exposed me to the amazing opportunities the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) has on offer to improve our digital skills. One of the best ways is through RCN contracted With You With Me (WYWM) training.

The platform teaches sailors how to tackle a variety of challenges and covers topics from IT fundamentals to programming or data analysis. Each learning path includes several modules that participants progress through, including Data Foundations, Data Analysis with Excel, and Data Visualizations with Power BI. While we may have some experience using these tools, the courses truly unlock their decision-making potential. Any sailor, regardless of rank or occupation, can learn using this resource with little to no background knowledge.

The Data Foundations module helps build an understanding of Excel functions and how they can be used to meticulously organize raw datasets. Excel has hundreds of functions that can assist in organizing and finding types of information within data a member is gathering.

This leads nicely into the next module, Data Analysis with Excel. In this module previously developed skills are refined by using a hands-on approach in learning. Exercises include how to analyze real-world problems through Excel and then how to apply that data to solve those problems. With the final module, Data Visualizations with Power BI, the tools of data analysis are combined with the ability to present information in a succinct and easy to read manner well suited to briefing.

Learning how to use Power BI allows sailors the ability to present information on one page with real-time filters. These filters display data in different ways to better aid presentations of information and cover any questions regarding the presented topic.

With the wealth of programs available through WYWM, all sailors can find something that is applicable to their current occupation. This learning helps to build resumes and adds something to their toolbox to address future problems.

Sailors interested in improving their data literacy skills through the WYWM program can visit their website at (external link) to enroll.

We also have lots of information on our homepage, so please check out what else is going on in Digital Navy at

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