Meet & Greet June 13th

by Alex Harrison-Wood

Hello Data School blog readers!!

This evening we hosted a meet and greet with recent graduates, DS10 hopefuls, and even some who were just passing through!

For all of you who joined us, let me be the first to say thank you and it was lovely to meet those of you I did, if you’re not sure which one I was, I was the fella in the light blue suit, killer smile, and the one that would answer your simple questions with tedious 5 minute speeches.

For those of you who could not make it, or maybe did not even know it was on, then do not fear as these events are held frequently and they are not a requirement for actually applying.

If you couldn’t make it, or simply need a refresher on some of your queries between the copious beer and pizza, there here are a few FAQ’s that I repeatedly got:


The number 1 question I got each time: How much time should I put into my application viz?

This is a hard question to answer as it is entirely up to you and how you feel about your viz. Your application viz (or any viz for that matter) does not need to be crammed full of all the data and data analytics you can get your hands on. In fact, in many cases less is more because if you flood the presentation with information then the story is going to get lost in the middle of it. The rule of thumb is to either think to yourself, or better yet, actually find someone who knows very little about data visualisation and even the topic you are presenting, and see if they can follow. Even if you are talking about a complex topic there is no guarantee that we, the audience in this case, will know anything about it!


What did previous cohorts do to get in?

This is a very easy question to answer, as Andy (the head coach and all round viz genie) always posts the most recent cohorts viz’s in the newsletter and on his blog page! They are not particularly complex or technically advanced as it is not expected that you know anything about tableau before starting. What the big bosses are looking for is passion! It does not take long to spot a viz that was thrown together without much thought or care – in case you’re wondering, those people did not get in.

The final thing to consider on this subject is how much do you enjoy making the viz? Did/do you like taking some data, playing with it, and planning out the best way to present the story? If you are not bothered and think of this as just a great job (because it is), be aware that you will be doing this stuff day-in day-out. If you are not convinced there is no shame in that, there is no point you doing something you don’t like as you won’t get very far in this game. You may want to seriously think about finding out some more to be sure, or finding something else less direct.

I don’t want to end this on a sombre note, so just remember, a week before I applied I had not even heard of Tableau before, and if this muppet can do it, anyone can!


How hard is it?

There is no denying that it will be a tough start and a steep learning curve. You do not need to have any previous experience in data, coding, statistics or anything like that, just be excited to start and be willing to put your best into it!

There is however light at the end of the tunnel, at the end of the 4-month – 8 hour a day training period, you will be well enough equipped with data know-how that you can go out and consult with some of the biggest business leaders in this world and be confident in the knowledge that you deserve to be there. Only earlier today some former DSers who only graduated a few months ago were standing at the front of the class teaching the new kids on the block how to use Alteryx.



The long and the short of it is, if you want to be here, if you love working with data or playing with Tableau, if you can stand there and tell the boss that they would be mad not to hire you, then we can’t wait to welcome you on board!


Alex Harrison-Wood

Mon 20 Aug 2018

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