My first week at the Data School | DS25

by Edoardo Aversa
Photo by Luke Chesser |Unsplash

Intense but extremely rewarding, my first week at the Data School has come to an end. Here is a short recap of the main activities we carried out.

Day 1 was a great introduction to the welcoming community that is TIL. First, we met Craig – the CTO – who helped us set up our laptops and all the relevant software, then we met Tom – Founder and MD – for an overview of TIL and some analysis of actual TIL data! We also got to meet two members of a previous cohort of the DS to gain further insight on what life looks like at TIL.

Days 2, 3 and 4 were mainly focused on Alteryx fundamentals with Ollie and Peter as trainers, who introduced us to the main functions of the software and to the weekly challenges (an incredibly useful way to familiarize yourself with Alteryx!).

Finally, on day 5, it was Project Time. We had 3 hours to find a dataset to add to our first application viz and make it more complete.

Since my application viz concerned data on donations to US universities (scholarships, endowments and campus resources), I started looking for datasets related to tertiary education, until I came across data on federal loans to US students.

During my research, I realised something I had not thought about before, namely how difficult it is to find well-organised and easy-to-interpret datasets, as I spent at least half of my time looking for relevant data. Furthermore, datasets with different structures may require a lot of work to be arranged, parsed and analysed. Thankfully, at the Data School there is always someone ready to help you out! In my case, Chris – from DS17 – kindly offered to help me solve a couple of problems I was having with Alteryx (the image below is my final workflow).

Removed the obstacles, I was ready to analyse my new data in Tableau.

The additional dataset was not as complete as I would have wanted, but I still managed to add two charts to my original viz and compare them with the data I already had to gain further insight (image below).

Finally, on Friday afternoon the rest of DS25 and I presented our works, and afterwards we attended DS24’s presentations. It was great seeing what they had been able to do and get an idea of what challenges to expect in the future.

Now, it is time for week 2!