DS11: the first week

by Ellie Mason

With week 2 well underway, I thought it would be a good opportunity to reflect back on our first week as dataschoolers! Whilst I was excited to start DS11, I was also quite nervous! Thankfully that dissipated throughout the week, as everyone was so friendly and made a point of coming over and introducing themselves to us.


Days one and two

The first two days were generally reserved for introductions and setting up our laptops/ user accounts. It was really interesting to get a more detailed look into how both Andy and Carl got into Tableau and ended up at The Information Lab; from FMCG and social media to financial services respectively.

It was also cool to get our first looks at Alteryx and what the software counter-part we’d be learning was like. The first afternoon took us through what Alteryx was used for (data prep, spatial analysis and predictive abilities) as well as the more common tools within it (see here to read more about the super useful Multi-Formula icon).

We also got briefly introduced to the Alteryx Weekly Challenges which were fun and challenging(!) ways to begin to understand the software. I found the problem-solving aspect of these challenges super fun, though having the output data file as a guide is both helpful and frustrating!


Days three and four

On Wednesday and Thursday we had the Alteryx Essentials introduction course; taught by Peter on the Wednesday and Mina (and Joe) on the Thursday. During these two days we were taken slowly through a few different workflows. We learnt how to input one vs. many files, data cleaning, data matching and spatial analysis, amongst other useful tips.

Mina set us a few particularly challenging guides where we utilised many cross-tabs and transposing tools to reformulate data! These really helped us to remember what each tool was used for – although I’m sure we’ll still get confused a few more times!

Thursday finished with an introduction (there’s a theme to this week!) to what the client presentations would be like as we watched DS10 present that week’s client project. It was interesting to see how they’d found the various insights (Alteryx/ Tableau) and what impacts these had for the client. We also got to see Eva Murray present on how to build up your own Tableau/online ‘brand’; her tips are/ will be really helpful.


Day five

The last day of week one was spent on individual projects: reworking our application vizes by adding an additional data set using our newfound Alteryx skills. We had to present at 3pm and it was definitely pressured to get our first ‘project’ completed in ~6 hours. However, it was really cool to see what data/ vizes the other DS11’s had applied with. I found finding the additional data the most challenging, as well as remembering to leave enough time to put it into Tableau after prepping the data in Alyeryx. Click to view my first and reworked vizes.


I think it’s safe to say we’ve just about settled well into our new environment and routines, and are excited for what’s to come!

Fri 01 Feb 2019

Fri 01 Feb 2019

Fri 01 Feb 2019