How to be successful in the Data School

by Bethany Fox

This is a difficult thing to answer. I’m not going to pretend I know it all and if you follow exactly what I say you’ll be the most successful DSer of all time – I can’t promise you that. However, I suppose the best way for me to answer this is by looking back and thinking about what I might have done differently, and what I might try to do in the future (you know, new year new me and all that jazz).

Looking back…

Be open-minded. If you read my previous blog you’ll know that I was nervous about working with people from different backgrounds. You’ll also know that this is one of my favourite things about the DS now. Everybody has a different story to tell, and everybody’s story is worth telling. There is so much you can learn from other people, it is a resource you shouldn’t ignore. Be willing to try new ways of doing things, break old habits and never think you know it all.

Be open to criticism (constructive criticism, of course). Nobody is going to try to put you down, if people are criticising what you do, they will be doing it to help you get better. Take on board what they say and act on it. Equally, if there’s a way you think you can help somebody, offer your advice! People always appreciate help, so there is no harm in trying.

Looking forward…

Volunteer yourself for the job you know you’re not good at. Once you’re comfortable with something, it is easy to fall in to the trap of volunteering yourself to do that same job for each task. But doing this means you’ll only get better at one thing, and will still be unsure of anything else. Whilst you’re in training at the data school, this is your time to try everything at least once knowing you’ve got that safety net to fall back on if anything goes wrong. I am guilty of this habit, but it’s something that I’m hoping to change going forward. It may seem daunting knowing that you’ve got that responsibility and the group is relying on you, but you’ll never learn anything new if you don’t try it.