WHY I APPLIED TO THE DATA SCHOOL AND SOME ADVICE TO FUTURE APPLICANTS

Growing up with an interest in computer games I quickly developed a curiosity for technology and its applications in the real world. The older I got the more I realised the importance of data and how its quickly becoming the most valued asset amongst the top companies. One of my favourite things about data and technology is that like us, its never stagnant and every day we’re seeing new innovations, new creations, and constantly challenges are being overcome. That is what drives me to work in this industry because I too want to evolve and adapt just like the technology we see every day.

I came across the data school whilst I was searching for a full-time job. What immediately stood out about TIL for me was their approach to learning and the layers of expertise within their team. I knew that if I could get myself anywhere near these people that I would be in for a steep learning curve. The great thing about the application process was that you’re judged on your ability to take feedback and create insights. My first piece of work on Tableau was laughable, I honestly had no clue what I was doing. But thanks to the constructive feedback I received from Andy and Chris, and a bit of self-reflection I was determined to learn this software. Once I started to get a grip on Tableau functions I couldn’t let go and just like the many hours I’ve spent on video games I found my self glued to my screen late into the night.

My advice to any future data school applicants is to never be afraid of the work you produce, everyone has a starting point. Also, it helps to be self-analytical and understand where and when you make mistakes, take criticism and implement it accordingly. Finally, do not over complicate things and try to ask yourself whether your work answers the questions you want and whether your insights serve a purpose!

FIRST DAY AT THE DATA SCHOOL

Greeted by Andy and Tom we breezed through a quick presentation about TIL, its history, current state, and future plans. The main things that stood out for me were the business model that Tom and his core team chose, TIL’s current issue with tableau licenses (communication issues with the sales team), and the initiatives the company has taken to expand. I was also impressed by Tom’s train illustration to explain use cases for Tableau Prep and Alteryx, even though I heard it about three times that day… to be fair I haven’t forgotten it!

Tom went on to mention that finding Tableau was mostly down to luck but it seemed that the majority of decisions he made after discovering Tableau really reflected on the success of the company. I respect how he took a calculated risk with Tableau and how he understood the importance of using Patrick Hanrahan as a critical source of information during the time. Likewise, I also intend to act like a sponge and absorb as much information as I can from the very talented people around me.

The second half of the day consisted of getting our selves setup and then attending a tableau conference. Here we were presented to by UBS who showed their implementation of Tableau/Alteryx in a corporate setting, future features of Tableau and a very interesting take on quantified self data by Tesco Tim as we later came to know him as… What struck me about Tim’s presentation besides the fact that he spends far to much time in Tesco was the level of access companies have to our personal data and the amount of insight you can gather from just observing a few daily behaviours, something I’m considering myself.

If I wasn’t so hungry I might have been able to remember things in a bit more detail but fasting has really started to take a toll, so on that note, I hope you can take something useful from my first ever blog and if not I’ll definitely be reblogging until I can write something that is useful!