What's the most challenging thing about the DS?

by Bethany Fox

I don’t think many people can say that they actually enjoy their job, but with being part of the Data School, I do actually enjoy my job. As cheesy as it sounds, it is a bit like a big family that grows by 8 members every 4 months or so. Everybody is so friendly and willing to help, and to top it all off they all love a good socialising opportunity whether that be playing ping pong, going to the pub, or even karaoke (Andy’s favourite).

All that being said, as with any new job there are certain challenges that come with the territory. Here are a few things that I found challenging:

Leaving my comfort zone…

… And learn from other people.
I’ve been in education my whole life, and this is my very first real job. I’d become so used to being around like-minded people who had all taken similar paths in life as me, I was feeling quite nervous about working with people from different backgrounds. As it turns out, this is now one of the things I like most about working at the DS. Once I’d got used to the fact that not everyone was a maths geek like me, I began to realise that it was actually a great opportunity to learn so many other valuable traits that I currently had no idea about, such as story telling, design, and thinking creatively about what I can do with data.

Let it go…

… Learn to rely, and be relied on.
With the past four years being at university, I got used to being my own boss and only having myself to worry about. With this job the vast majority of what you do is in group work, meaning that whatever you do is going to have some sort of affect on the rest of the group, and vice versa. For me this meant I had to learn to let go a little, be okay with the fact that I can’t do everything, and trust that I can rely on my peers to do a good job – which they always do.

Present, present, present…

… Repetition, repetition, repetition.
Every Friday, and I mean EVERY Friday, we present to the rest of the group (and anyone else who’s interested) what we’ve been working on during the week. Even if we haven’t had a client project that week, there will always be something for us to present, it’s the one thing which will never change week on week. For my first presentation I was very nervous – I was shaking like a leaf, and I’m pretty sure I offended someone who had helped me by calling him “some guy” because I’d forgotten his name, turns out he was sitting in front of me and I had no idea. Needless to say I was very embarrassed. Now with 10+ presentations under my belt, I’m beginning to feel much more at ease with speaking in front of people. The challenge here was definitely to overcome my nerves, I wouldn’t say they’re all completely gone, but they’re certainly all on their way out.