What did it take to get into DS13? A view from inside.

by Alessandro Costanzo

Andy some days ago wrote a blog post called What did it take to get into DS13?, this made me reflect about my experience of the hiring process, which I’d like to share here for potential new candidates.

So what exactly did it take to get to DS?

Many factors actually, in particular, continuous iteration time and effort.

At the early stage of my application my knowledge of Tableau was really basic, therefore I spent a great amount of time in researching tutorials, reading blogs (especially this one), watching videos and most importantly practising using the software.

I am currently studying in the cohort DS13, although I initially applied for DS12.

I sent my application Viz very early (beginning of September, when the deadline was set to mid-October) and I received a very positive feedback. Hence, I was called in for an early interview.

I felt that the interview went overall well, although not well enough to grant me a position in DS12.

Here you can see my project for that interview.

The immediate feedback I’ve received was that the viz had a nice look and very good functionalities. Despite that, it was not clear what was the point of my analysis and how I developed a story.

Following the interview, Andy gave me a book called Storytelling with data, which focuses on how to convey clear messages using data visualisation. I was then told to come back for the next round of interviews (DS13). It was suggested to iterate more on the production of vizes, and to develop an analytical eye for insights.

I think this fact already marks a difference between the data school and most of the company out there. Even if my interview wasn’t successful, I received a valuable feedback on what I needed to develop in order to be successful the next time.

After this, I followed what it was suggested. Starting to participate to #MakoverMonday on a weekly basis helped me to improve my Tableau knowledge as well as the speed of execution. Reading books such as Storytelling with Data and #MakeoverMonday provided me with some solid foundation on principles of data visualisation and best practices which I then applied in the following interview.

Here you can find the viz I built for DS13 interview.

Compared to the previous viz, it is noticeable that the latest one has a clear flow, displayed several interesting insights and it was formatted following examples of best practices.

In conclusion, I believe that the main reason why I got into DS13 was my determination to continually improve my Tableau skills.

I suggest all applicant to follow my example and to not surrender at the inevitable difficulties that will come across during this process.

Best of luck aspirant cohorters!