Four months of intense 9-5 training leaves you with a lot of new skills, and also teaches you of just how much more there is to learn! This post is a reflection after having completed the Data School training.
What am I taking from the DS?
Needless to say, we studied a lot of different analytics tools: Tableau (Desktop, Server and Prep), Alteryx (Designer and Server), SQL, Salesforce, Snowflake, Power BI, Mockaroo... Training sessions for Tableau and Alteryx were the core ones and therefore the most intense, but introduction to multiple other programmes has been very useful so far, too. The best thing - we learnt all these skills both during the training and while tackling real-life client projects, which was a perfect way of learning. Also, these four months taught me to be okay about not knowing an answer right away, as the training enabled me to efficiently look for answers online or ask for help from people in the data community, including my colleagues with more experience.
Speaking of asking questions - I believe I improved my communication skills so much. We were constantly challenged to communicate - with the coaches or other colleagues about our studying or project struggles, with the other data schoolers about client projects, and with the clients about their project requirements. I also got some very useful project management experience after having managed a client project for an eight-people team. Finally, presenting different pieces of work for 17 weeks - be that for internal challenges or external projects - eventually made presentations seem less daunting and easier to prepare for.
Commercial Awareness & Flexibility
The very first thing you need to do when working with data is to understand what it is about. The diversity of client projects really helped with this as we were exposed to all sorts of datasets - financial, medical, data about nutrition, mental health, project timeline data, and so much more. With time and experience, it became easier and less stressful to really grasp the data when there is a time pressure.
The Information Lab offers an amazing chance to meet new people in the field and build connections. This I am sure will be very useful in the future.
I have expanded my portfolio quite a bit - and that includes both Tableau Public and blogging. This will surely be helpful in the future as well.
What do I still need (or want)?
(More) Technical Skills
Surely, you can't learn everything, let alone in four months. My aim after the DS is to further learn the tools that we studied in the DS - this time mostly from using them in practice in my placements. Additionally, I am very keen to learn things outside the DS curriculum, one of them being Python. I think it would be a great addition to the skillset that we already acquired in the DS.
Real Life Experience
Thanks to The Information Lab, this one will come naturally during the four upcoming placements. I am confident this will bring a great deal of things including better technical skills, commercial awareness, communication, presentation, teaching skills, and much much more.
As my personal goal after The Information Lab is to apply my skills and knowledge in the third sector, I will try my best to keep in touch and up-to-date with that side, and also produce a dashboard or two for organisations whose work I feel passionate about.